1st East Mediterranean Epilepsy Congress – Luxor 2007
The ancient historic Egyptian city of Luxor, situated on the Nile and surrounded by the wondrous temples and tombs of the Pharaohs, has often been called the worlds greatest outdoor museum. It proved a fantastic location for the 1st East Mediterranean Epilepsy Congress in February.
A joint congress of IBE and ILAE, more than 400 delegates, from both within the region and from further a-field travelled to Luxor for this important inaugural meeting.
Social & Epidemiological Issues
Two main topics were of particular interest to IBE members. These were Social & Epidemiological Issues and Treatment Issues. In the first of these main sessions, Dr Khalifa, Syria, addressed epilepsy awareness problems in his country and reported that, while people with epilepsy are relatively knowledgeable about the condition, public knowledge is poor.
Dr Bharucha, India, spoke of the difficulty of obtaining accurate information on the prognosis of epilepsy in developing regions. According to Dr Bharcuha, one problem in studying the natural history of epilepsy is how to exclude provoked seizures, in particular those due to conditions such as neurocysticercosis.
The presentation of Dr Obeid from Saudi Arabia on stigma was to prove the catalyst to the creation of a new network, with a working title of INDE (International Network to De-stigmatize Epilepsy). Dr Suad Al Yamani, Saudi Arabia has kindly agreed to take on leadership of the network until terms of reference are in place. The objective of the network will be to form an alliance to identify ways of reducing stigma and it is hoped that this will become a joint IBE/ILAE initiative.
Dr Covanis, Greece, addressed the modern phenomenon of video games which can trigger seizures, explaining that, while the television community has developed guidelines to protect people with photosensitive epilepsy, this was not the case for video games. Mike Glynn considered implementation of EU driving regulations, while Philip Lee spoke on issues relating to Epilepsy and School.
Eastern Mediterranean Regional Committee – Celebration Launch
A highlight of the congress was the official launch of the IBE Eastern Mediterranean Regional Committee. An informal reception was held to celebrate the occasion and to introduce the newly elected Vice President Eastern Mediterranean, Dr Abdulaziz Al-Semari, Saudi Arabia.
Dr Al-Semari sits on the International Executive Committee and acts as a liaison point between it and the Regional Committee.
Elections are now underway to fill the positions of Chair, Vice-Chair and Secretary on the Eastern Mediterranean Regional Executive Committee and members in the region are encouraged to submit nominations.
IBE currently has seven members in the Eastern Mediterranean Region: Egypt, Iran, Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia.
The congress was honoured to have the Governor of Luxor, Dr Samir Farag address delegates at the Opening Ceremony.
Dining with the Pharaohs
The social highlight of the congress was undoubtedly the Gala Dinner, held at Luxor Temple. Surely a venue that cannot be surpassed. Guests arrived to a fanfare of music and made their way down the Avenue of the Sphinxes to the heart of the temple itself. Then, under a canopy of gold fabric, the delegates dined while gazing onto the pillars of the temple bathed in golden floodlights.
For those about to return home to chilly winter weather, the balmy temperature was an added bonus. An event that will live long in the memories of those who enjoyed the spectacular event!