World Digestive Health Day

The World Gastroenterology Organisation celebrates World Digestive Health Day (WDHD) annually every May 29. The World Gastroenterology Organisation (WGO) is an international federation of over 100 national GI societies and 4 regional associations of gastro enterology representing over 50,000 individual members. The World Gastroenterology Organisation can trace its roots back to Georges Brohée (1887–1957), a Belgian surgeon who promoted modern gastroenterology, and founded the Belgian Society of Gastroenterology in 1928. He also organized the first International Congress of Gastroenterology in Brussels in 1935. In May 1958 the first World Congress of Gastroenterology was held in Washington DC, where Georges Brohée’s continuing efforts culminated in the constitution of the Organization Mondiale de Gastro-entérologie” (OMGE) on May 29, 1958.Dr H.L. Bockus was the organisation’s first President. His vision was to enhance standards of education and training in gastroenterology. Developed nations were the initial focus of the organization, however today the WGO embraces a global approach with a special emphasis on developing regions.

Gastroenterology  is a branch of medicine focused on the digestive system and its disorders. Diseases affecting the gastrointestinal tract, which include the organs from mouth to anus, along the alimentary canal, are the focus of this speciality. Physicians practicing in this field are called gastroenterologists. They have usually completed about eight years of pre-medical and medical education, a year-long internship (if this is not a part of the residency), three years of an internal medicine residency, and two to three years in the gastroenterology fellowship. Gastroenterologists perform a number of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures including colonoscopy, endoscopy, endoscopic retrograde cholangiancreatography (ERCP), endoscopic ultrasound and liver biopsy. Some gastroenterology trainees will complete a “fourth-year” (although this is often their seventh year of graduate medical education) in transplant hepatology, advanced endoscopy, inflammatory bowel disease, motility or other topics. Hepatology, or hepatobiliary medicine, encompasses the study of the liver, pancreas, and biliary tree, while proctology emcompasses the fields of anus and rectum diseases. They are traditionally considered sub-specialties of gastroenterology.

The WGO (World Gastroenterology Organisation) Foundation was established in 2007 to raise financial support to develop and sustain the World Gastroenterology Organisation’s global training and education programs. These programs focus primarily on developing, low-resource countries and aim to meet the increasing demand for digestive disorder prevention and treatment worldwide and to raise financial support to develop and sustain WGO’s global training and education programs, especially in developing and low-resource countries. The WGO Foundation has fund raising activities including Initiating fund raising campaigns:

WGO is focused on “the improvement of standards in gastroenterology training and education on a global scale.” The association was founded in 1935 and incorporated in 1958. The WGO was originally known as the Organisation Mondiale de Gastroenterologie (OMGE) and was renamed the World Gastroenterology Organisation in 2002. Activietiex include educational initiatives such as Training Centers, Train the Trainers Workshops, public awareness campaigns such as World Digestive Health Day and Global Guidelines which cascade, providing viable solutions which are adaptable to varying resource levels around the world, as well as a quadrennial World Congress of Gastro enterology. The WGO Foundation was incorporated in 2007 and is dedicated to raising funds to support the ongoing WGO education initiatives and activities. Each year, WDHD focuses upon a particular digestive disorder and seeks to increase general public awareness of prevention and therapy. Past WDHD themes have included:

2005: Health and Nutrition
2006: Helicobacter pylori infection
2007: Viral Hepatitis
2008: Optimal Nutrition in Health and Disease
2009: Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
2010: Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
2011: Enteric Infections: Prevention and Management – Clean Food, Clean Water, Clean Environment WDHD 2011
2012: From Heartburn to Constipation – Common GI Symptoms in the Community: Impact and Interpretation WDHD 2012
2013: LIVER CANCER: Act Today. Save Your Life Tomorrow. Awareness. Prevention. Detection. Treatment WDHD 2013
2014: Gut Microbes – Importance in Health and Disease WDHD 2014
2015: Heartburn: a Global Perspective WDHD 2015
2016: Diet and gut Health WDHD 2016


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