WOD Celebration and Symposium in Hong Kong and China 2012

      Zhuhai China 24 March 2012 - In late February I was invited by Song Yanli from Coloplast to attend the above symposium. On Thursday 22nd March, on the way to this WOD symposium, the opportunity was taken to visit Hong Kong Stoma Association (HKSA) and the Coloplast Regional Office.

      I am grateful to Jackie Lam who organized my visit that coincided with a "Big Day Out" for Hong Kong Ostomates and their families. I was able to taxi from the airport and join them at their office at 9.30 am to go on a bus tour that included a visit to the "Hong Kong Flower Show." Over 50 took this opportunity.

      It was a great event and I had the opportunity to mingle in a social setting with this group and following a leisurely lunch I left the group and visited the Coloplast Offices and was fortunate to receive updates on projects and activity in several member countries and discuss future plans in the region. Much useful information was shared with several of their team and Elaine Chung, their Regional Manager, (who had co organized my day) took me to catch the ferry at the terminal close by to Zhuhai in mainland China.

      On arrival at the hotel I was met by a Coloplast representative from Beijing (Amy Ya) who briefed me on the next 2 days activity and was my interpreter when required.

      The World Ostomy day Symposium was a significant Event and Ostomates ET's and Doctors were present from the 5 Chinese cities IOA had worked in over the past 2 years with the AtH project, as well as close neighbors Hong Kong.

      Coloplast had organized them to be present and had arranged Beijing TV to have a journalist and cameraman present over the 2 days to film the program on Saturday and the other activities ostomates were involved in over the 2 days. On Friday 23rd 12 ostomates from Beijing, Nanjing, Hangzhou and Shanghai went on a tour of Zhuhai and were filmed and interviewed during this time.

      Following lunch and a return to the hotel venue we were joined by 7 Hong Kong Ostomates and their executive secretary and a 2 hour meeting was held where each ostomate's personal experiences were shared and this was a wonderful 2 hours where a stranger group formed close bonds. On Saturday a further large group of more than 20 ostomates from Guangzhou arrived along with Drs and Nurses from the key cities and nurses (ET's) from across China to make up a group of 180 at the WOD Symposium which was sponsored by Coloplast and directed by the oncology division of the Chinese Medical Association. A map of China gave the opportunity for each participant to paste a rose on the city they had come from and you can see by the map.

      The object of the day was to create a video depicting ostomates being supported by those present and able to lead a normal life (An Ostomy Life Video).

      Doctors and ET's and ostomates present from the 5 cities stoma clubs and Hong Kong delivered addresses about their development and gave relevant addresses re surgery and ostomy care in their areas.

      I was able to address the group about the new structure of IOA and on information about World Ostomy Day, its purposes, the theme of "Let's Be Heard" and the opportunities to enter the Coloplast Merit Award and the Hollister photo competition.

      The conclusion of the day was moving with ostomates, ET's and surgeons and ostomates' being presented with bunches of roses which were then put into a heart model on stage. All present had an opportunity to place a rose.

      The symbolism of all parties working together was a recurrent theme throughout the day. We look forward to the World Ostomy Day Video.

      At the conclusion of the symposium a most enjoyable visit was made to the impressive Coloplast appliance manufacturing plant in Zhuhai and in the evening a relaxing evening with dinner and entertainment were held in the garden bar of the Grand Bay View Hotel. There emerged singing talent from among the ostomates and ET's present.

      As a final comment, I have to say, the work done to support ostomates by all parties that were present is impressive, humbling and expanding.

Barry Maughan
IOA Chairperson, ASPOA President