ELPA’s SYMPOSIUM and launch of the ELPA’s CALL TO ACTION on Fatty liver
September 22, 2021, was an excellent day for ELPA. It organized a Symposium on Fatty liver disease in children and its impact. That was also the occasion to launch its Call to Action on Fatty Liver.
The Symposium was opened by Mr. Demetris Papadakis, Member of the European Parliament – S&D Group, from Cyprus, who addressed the audience, stressing the role of the EU Member States in this field. The floor was then taken by Mr. Marco Greco, president of the European Patients; Forum,who underlined the importance of involving young patients in patients’ organizations at all levels.
The ELPA Scientific Committee Leader, Dr. Teresa Casanovas, introduced the next speaker, Prof. Manuel Romero Gómez, Director of the Gastroenterology Service, Hospital Universitario Virgen del Rocío, Sevilla, Spain. Prof. Gómezpresented the pros and cons of changing the name from NAFLD to MAFLD, and he talked about the stigma a simple expression can be associated with. Ms. Niki Alkistis, a clinical dietician and nutritionist from Cyprus, presented the importance of healthy eating.
Presentations by medical professionals continued with Prof. Volkan Demirhan Yumuk, Professor of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism & Diabetes, Istanbul University Cerrahpasa Medical Faculty, President-Elect of EASO (European Association for the Study of Obesity), Turkey. He explained to the audience why liver matters in obesity clinics. After his talk, Ms. Vicky Mooney, patient advocate and Executive Director of the European Coalition for People Living with Obesity, stressed, from a patient perspective, how lifestyle changes are not enough to tackle obesity. She described an excellent practice in Portugal, where educational programmes were put in place.
The management of Fatty liver disease specifically in children was described by Dr. Emer Fitzpatrick, Paediatric Hepatologist, CHI at Crumlin, Dublin, Ireland and King’s College Hospital, London, member of HepCom ESPGHAN. The role of nurses in multidisciplinary teams dealing with Fatty liver was tackled by Dr. Nuria Fabrellas, Professor Public Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at the University of Barcelona, Spain.
The Symposium was wrapped up by three ELPA representatives. Dr. Teresa Casanovas, President of ASSCAT, Associació Catalana de Patients Hepàtics, Leader of ELPA Scientific Committee, ELPA Director, started this session presenting the stigmatization in children with obesity. Then, Mrs. Yiannoula Koulla, President of Cyprus Liver Patients’ Association, Leader of ELPA NAFLD / NASH group, showed the ELPA NAFLD/NASH survey results. Mr. Manuel Weiss Perez, FNETH – National Federation of Liver Patients andTransplanted, Spain, detailed the ELPA Call to Action on Fatty liver and encouraged everybody to endorse it.
Before the closing remarks by Marko Korenjak, ELPA President, a video animation made by Hetz – Israeli Association for The Health Of the Liver was streamed. It showed how digital tools could be helpful in the framework of children’s education.
The last words by Marko Korenjak, ELPA President, were about the 10 EU-funded Medical Research Project ELPA is currently involved in. These projects involve more than 120 different partners. However, our society and the liver patientscommunity need to craft projects revolving around NASH in children, preventing this disease, and raising awareness on it.