Presentation of candidature
The European pediatric nephrologists are united in the European Association for Pediatric Nephrology (ESPN), which organizes a European Congress each year and is also the most important and most prestigious event of pediatric nephrology. At this year’s 50th ESPN Congress in Glasgow, our Clinical Department of Nephrology, in cooperation with Cankarjev dom, competed for the organization of the ESPN Congress in 2020. We are extremely proud and honoured to win against rivalling destinations such as Dublin and Moscow, and therefore be proud hosts of ESPN 2020 Ljubljana.
Q: What are the main challenges of your profession today?
The main aims of pediatric nephrology today are to additionally optimise, and at the same time maximise, diagnostic procedures and algorithms for treating children with congenital anomalies of the urinary tract, where the main course of action is minimally invasive investigation; optimise treatment of glomerulopathies; optimise treatment and management of patients with chronic kidney disease; even widely integrate patients into pediatric registers, especially patients with rare diseases…
Q: What is the contribution of Slovenia (your department) to the development of the activity?
The Clinical Department of Nephrology (KON) has a long tradition and is an important department of the Pediatric Clinic of the University Clinical Center Ljubljana (UKCL). It is the only department in Slovenia that covers the entire pediatric nephrology, including detection and treatment of acute and chronic renal disease. KON ensures development of activities at the state level in accordance with the progress of the profession and proposes introduction of new activities. KON has developed exceptionally in recent years and we have become one of UKCL’s patient-friendly departments, the Centre for Child Dialysis and Transplantation will soon celebrate its 20th anniversary. Thus, for almost 20 years children with ultimate renal failure requiring alternative treatment, and previously treated in adult departments, have been provided with dialysis in a friendlier and more suitable conditions, and thus their life circumstances have improved considerably. We were also very successful in introducing new methods, especially in the area of the most pleasant treatment of children after urinary tract infection and urinary disorders. We have also introduced new methods and improvements in all other areas, for example the substitution treatment for kidney failure, including transplantation, diagnosis and treatment of complicated glomerulopathies and tubulopathies, and now the unified treatment of children with thrombotic microangiopathies, where undeniable and better treatment with biological drugs has certainly contributed to great progress.
Paying particular attention to professional training for all employees, not only doctors and researchers, we have become one of the leading departments of the Pediatric Clinic in terms of the number of articles published in international journals, the number of doctorates, pedagogical grades and the assessment of medical students. In the light of all that, KON is undoubtedly the leading nephrological department in the country, and we believe that this will also be the case in the future, when we consolidate our leading position.
Q: Why did you choose CD Congress Centre Ljubljana as the ESPN 2020 location?
We chose it because it is simply the best in all aspects of this kind of event in Slovenia – it is located in the very centre of Ljubljana but easily accessible nevertheless, it has a professional PCO team with many years of national and international experience in organizing congresses and professional meetings, versatile, multifunctional and superbly equipped congressional facilities with different capacities, extensive exhibition spaces, registration areas, e-posters and, last but not least, beautiful reception and social venues.
Q: What do you expect from the ESPN 2020 congress you are planning?
The annual ESPN is the largest and most important congress of pediatric nephrology in Europe and ESPN 2020 Ljubljana will be the largest and most prestigious event in the history of pediatric nephrology in Slovenia, of which we are extremely proud. Expecting an attendance at least 800 participants, we plan a rich professional program covering all aspects of pediatric nephrology, in addition to a parallel meeting of the entire discipline of pediatric nephrology (doctors, nurses, clinical pharmacists, dieticians, psychologists, special educators, teachers, social workers, etc.). In addition to the congress, we will organize pre-congress training workshops (ultrasound workshop, renopathology workshop, congenital urinary tract (CAKUT) …) aimed especially at young doctors from all over Europe who are still advancing their knowledge of pediatric nephrology. In addition to the professional program, we expect a rich and attractive entertainment program – introduced by the welcome reception at the CD Congress Centre Ljubljana, followed by a gala dinner at the Ljubljana Caste, as well as guided tours of the city of Ljubljana and other popular tourist attractions of Slovenia (Bled, Postojna Cave, Lipica, Piran, etc.).
We believe that the ESPN 2020 in Ljubljana will be of utmost importance for the recognition of Slovenia, Ljubljana and our Clinical Department of Nephrology. It will significantly contribute to the progress of the profession in Slovenia and Europe, and, last but not least, we hope that the attendees will treasure warm memories of this pleasant and unforgettable event.
Assoc. Prof. Tanja Kersnik Levart, MD, PhD