2017 Cape Town Congress

Cape Town Congress Highlights 

  Temiloluwa Olufemi
  SICOT Associate Member & SICOT Newsletter Editorial Board Member -­ Lagos, Nigeria

Every year, thousands of SICOT members gather for a refreshing exchange of knowledge at the Congress which boasts an all-inclusive programme covering every subspecialty of Orthopaedic interest. With more than 2,600 delegates from over 110 countries, the 38th SICOT Orthopaedic World Congress in Cape Town 2017 was an interesting blend of academics, culture and entertainment. If you weren’t at the Congress, here’s what you missed!

The Congress kicked off on Wednesday with the SICOT Educational Day, Polytrauma Course and SICOT Diploma Examination. Sequel to a very successful first Educational Day on ‘The Hip’ at the Prague Congress in 2011, six selected core themes have since been covered and a new cycle commenced at Cape Town. SICOT also hosted the Cooperative Course for Polytrauma (Beyond ATLS) for the first time. Both courses featured seasoned resource persons and internationally acclaimed speakers, with remarkable reactions from the participants. The SICOT Diploma Examination which helps young orthopaedic surgeons in training prepare for their exit exams had about 48 registered candidates. After a 2-hour written session and 4 intense hours of orals rotating through examiners who quizzed on 4 different aspects of Orthopaedics, 32 successful candidates emerged. 

The Scientific Programme at the SICOT Congress is one of a kind. Unlike its other counterparts, it encourages a rich blend of research articles from all over the world, thus ‘connecting’ Orthopaedic surgeons from all backgrounds. With a wide variety of presenters and knowledgeable experts during each session, delegates had a broader perspective of topics discussed, keeping them up to date with the latest modern orthopaedic technology, evidence based medicine and tips for effective alternatives to standard therapy. Delegates attended scientific sessions in large numbers with excellent feedback.

South Africa’s rich cultural heritage was well displayed at the Opening Ceremony with drums, singing, and dancing by different groups. The Presidential lecture by Dr Prasad Shetty was quite insightful as he emphasized the need for potential improvements in healthcare systems and strongly urged delegates to play more active roles. He drove home his points using a famous quote from Nelson Mandela which went viral on the SICOT 2017 app. The African Night at the Gold Restaurant was also well attended and delegates had a lot of fun.

All the plenary sessions were packed full as speakers delivered phenomenal lectures. Prof Boachie-Adjei’s motivational lecture showed the importance of one man’s paradigm shift and sacrificial giving as the backbone of success at the FOCOS Hospital, giving new strength to the words ‘If it must be done, it must be done well’. Prof Ashok Johari challenged delegates to a more improved SICOT in the next decade using the organizational success of the Mayo Clinic as a prototype. Prof Fares Haddad recommended caution in industry driven innovations as an alternative to optimizing patient outcomes, and enjoined all to start where and with what we have.

Cape Town OWC 2017 also featured many firsts. The SICOT 2017 mobile app for Android and iOS devices was used for the first time. It allowed interaction between delegates with posts ranging from plug types and choice restaurants to real time updates on scientific sessions. The ‘JAM – Just A Minute’ sessions where different focal learning points on topics of interest were covered with the 'speed of lightning' was also novel. The Exhibition Hall was replete with several industry partners and industry-sponsored events also well attended.

The UK’s Telegraph newspaper didn’t mistakenly vote Cape Town as the Best City in the World for the fourth consecutive time. Suffice to say, the city does take one’s breath away!! With the Cape Town International Convention Centre (Congress venue) centrally located and easily accessible to the main tourist attractions, delegates enjoyed exploring the city.

The Closing Ceremony doubled as an awards and handover ceremony. After speeches from the SICOT President and the Congress President, awardees in various categories were honoured including successful candidates at the SICOT Diploma Examination. Prof Jochen Eulert gave a farewell speech as the Secretary General of SICOT, and Prof James Waddell was handed the reins as incoming Secretary General and the Congress President for Montreal 2018. Finally, Prof James Waddell gave a remarkable presentation that truly set the stage for yet another awesome Congress.

Don’t miss Montreal 2018!