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ILDS Bursary Programme

The ILDS has a global reach and is committed to encouraging the participation of Members from all ILDS world regions. Therefore, the ILDS initiated a Summit Bursary Programme which supported six Member representatives who would otherwise not have been able to attend the Summit. The bursary recipients report on their experience of the Summit here.

Uladzimir Adaskevich

Belarusian Society of Dermatovenereologists and Cosmetologists

The Belarusian Society of Dermatovenereologists and Cosmetologists joined the ILDS only three years ago and the opportunity to represent the society at the ILDS World Skin Summit in Vietnam was a great honour. It was an eventful experience, which allowed me to establish contacts with leaders of dermatological societies from all the five continents.

All topics of the Summit were related to the most significant and urgent problems of dermatology. It has become especially clear that, despite all possible regional differences, dermatological societies have many problems in common and that cooperation between dermatological societies is needed to overcome them. In this respect, communication within the global dermatological community plays a decisive role in strengthening the authority of dermatology and ensuring its future as an important discipline for the health of nations.

As a head of the dermatoveneorological department of Vitebsk State Medical University, I was very interested in the topic of teaching and education in dermatology. In our Eastern European country, there are many students from Africa, India, Sri-Lanka and the Middle East. It was very useful to listen to the reports of colleagues from these countries and to obtain first-hand information about the most urgent dermatological problems in their regions. It will ensure that we will pay special attention to the treatment and care of the corresponding diseases as part of the lectures and practical classes for our foreign students.

At the forthcoming National Congress of dermatologists and cosmetologists in Minsk in September 2018 I am going to inform my colleagues about new approaches to access to dermatological health and medical skin treatment care, including opportunities of mobile teledermatology, which were presented and discussed at the Summit and which are of great interest to the members of Belarusian Society.

In general, I was greatly impressed by the organization of the Summit and inspired by it to engage in further activities related to improving dermatological education, clinical care and research in my country.

Maria Encarnacion R. Legaspi

Philippine Academy of Dermatologic Surgery Foundation Inc

My main interest in attending the ILDS Summit was to gain a better understanding of the global practices in conducting skin outreach programs. To learn different perspectives of approaching similar problems and develop better planning methods, which I could adapt for our organization, the Philippine Academy of Dermatologic Surgery Foundation Inc.

A key learning from the Summit included learning how the ILDS functions to provide strategic leadership, leveraging ILDS international standing to educate and empower dermatologists, their societies and the public.

The highlight of the summit was the workshop I attended on training and education needs and solutions. I had the opportunity to listen to an in-depth analysis by Dr Neil Shear (Canadian Dermatology Association) and the panel, which included Dr Evangeline Handog (former International Society of Dermatology President), who discussed the unmet needs with respect to dermatology training and education in different areas of the world and elaborated on strategic solutions that could be implemented to enable global harmonization of the quality of training and education, as well as global access to educational and training resources.

It was enlightening to learn and share with my colleagues that many problems we face in our country are globally experienced problems, involving ethically marketing the practice of dermatology, the use of social media, the blurring of the lines amongst specialities wherein every other speciality overnight becomes a dermatologist. Aside from these insights I also obtained a copy of the 2016 ILDS revised glossary for the description of cutaneous lesions which I shared with my colleagues.

The Summit broadened my personal perspective of the global practice of dermatology where similar problems were presented, and possible solutions were suggested. At the end of the day, the drivers of change shall always be education and action. We must educate our countrymen on the prevention of skin disease and we must call on our colleagues to forge together in our outreach projects to treat as many patients with skin disease to attain skin health for the world.

The journey is long and weary, and we have miles to go before we achieve this goal but as we go from day to day, the ILDS together with its 170 strong members shall achieve the goal of skin health for the world. Long live ILDS!

Grace Chita Okudo

Nigerian Association of Dermatologists 

I wanted to attend the Skin Summit because I felt that my Association and I would benefit from the experiences of the leadership of other sister Dermatological Societies associated with ILDS. The ILDS has a membership of over 170 organisations spanning 80 countries, and that the Summit would likely bring all these organisations together. I, therefore, imagined that it would be a good platform to network.

The executive members of the NAD have noticed some gaps in local training of our dermatologists and knew that a couple of member societies of the ILDS will accept to train (in an exchange programme) our residents. The gap areas are in Dermatopathology and aesthetic dermatology. We also intended to explore other areas of collaboration such as research.

Rare tropical dermatological disorders have been areas of focus in our Association; it even formed part of the theme of the NAD’s last annual scientific conference held in Ile-Ife, in South-West Nigeria. I was happy to learn that the ILDS was also looking into these conditions and exploring ways to tackle these disorders. As a result of attending the Summit, I also have a clearer understanding of the activities and achievements of ILDS and how it can benefit our Association.

The shortage of dermatologists is not peculiar to my country, although highly relative. At the Summit, from the shared experiences of members from sister societies, I learned that the distribution of dermatologists tends to cluster in the cities, leaving the rural areas unattended. We have to think outside the box and localise the solution; the NAD has started doing this. A well thought out training of general practitioners on specific disease conditions and good referral system may be a way to go. The RDTC in Moshi, Tanzania and the Mali Model shared by Dr Ousmane Faye may be modified to suit my country. In our community dermatology efforts, teledermatology adapted to suit our peculiarity is being explored. Our focus is to cover the hard to reach terrains.


The impact the Summit had on me is immense. The ILDS is interested in the success of the NAD and other sister societies. Advisory assistance will not be lacking from the ILDS. It is a good platform for networking and linkage. The Bursary Award is also a good innovation that is highly commendable. I am a beneficiary of the Award!

Shristi Shrestha

Society of Dermatologists, Venereologists & Leprologists of Nepal 

When I first read the mail regarding 2nd ILDS Summit I was in a big confusion whether to attend it or not. The thought that it was being held in an Asian country not too far away and the fact that at the next summit I would not be holding this position of President of our national society made me think twice before I rejected. Besides, my colleagues who had attended the 1st ILDS Summit in Berlin had shared wonderful experiences. So, I thought I should attend the summit with the aim of meeting and interacting with dermatologists from developed countries, learning from their experiences and looking for opportunities to collaborate, especially in research. Getting the bursary made my planning easier and when I was asked to give a presentation on the title “Access to Dermatological care in Nepal” I thought my visit is a must. I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to present the real scenario of dermatology care in an underdeveloped country like ours.

There was a feeling of nervousness when I entered the hall the first evening. But I was overwhelmed by the friendly environment present there. Interacting with the distinguished dermatologists from around the world was the greatest achievement. They were so humble and congenial. We talked about the challenges we are facing and the chances of collaboration. In the workshop titled “Removing barriers and increasing access to dermatological care” I listened to the presentations made by representatives from other societies and I realized that the scenario of dermatology care even in developed countries is somewhat similar to ours; like the concentration of dermatologists in the urban areas and the attraction of the younger dermatologists to cosmetology.

For our society, this summit has been a great achievement. We have started a collaboration with one of the societies in research. The other accomplishment of this summit is that after our interaction there we are soon to start a fellowship in collaboration with one of the societies for our young dermatologist.

Unlike the regular conferences and congress we attend, there was not much of presentations on dermatology diseases in this summit but it was a great forum to learn about the other aspect of dermatology. It was a great opportunity to know what ILDS is doing for the upliftment of dermatology in the world. So, it gave me a feeling that our society as part of ILDS must give its best to fulfil the aim of improving skin health globally.

Lastly my sincere gratitude to ILDS for providing me this bursary to attend this memorable event.

John Zic

United States Cutaneous Lymphoma Consortium

The United States Cutaneous Lymphoma Consortium (USCLC) is a multi-specialty professional organization representing healthcare providers managing the rare cutaneous lymphomas in the United States. As a USCLC representative, I wanted to attend the ILDS Summit to learn about global unmet needs in treating neglected and rare cutaneous diseases. In particular, I hoped to learn about the burden of cutaneous lymphoma and treatment in areas with limited resources.

What I learned from the ILDS Summit went well beyond my expectations. First and foremost, I learned about the global impact of the ILDS through WHO policy initiatives, Global Psoriasis Atlas, the International Foundation for Dermatology and, of course, the quadrennial World Congress of Dermatology. Other educational highlights for me included learning about how dermatologists in India and Vietnam are wiping out leprosy, why leishmaniasis should be considered one of the great imitators in dermatology, the skin health policy impact of the coup in Mali, the clever use of teledermatology kiosks in Nigeria and the hundreds of advanced dermato-venereology diploma recipients to graduate from the Regional Dermatology Training Centre in Moshi, Tanzania.

The highlight of the Summit was the opportunity to engage in one-on-one deep discussions about issues facing dermatologists from around the world. Whether you reside in Asia, the UK or Africa, access to well-trained dermatologists is limited by number and/or geography. In terms of cutaneous lymphoma, I learned about the need for more resources to manage these rare diseases from colleagues in the Middle East, Africa and Nepal. The USCLC is eager to offer any dermatologist in the world an international membership in our organization to gain access to our cutaneous lymphoma registry so they can start tracking the burden of cutaneous lymphoma in their region using a state-of-the-art web-based platform. I was excited to see the Proposed Action 2 from the Workshop on Evidence-based Care encouraging individual societies to become more involved in registries of rare non-infectious skin diseases.

I have had the opportunity to share my enriching experience at the Summit with my colleagues at Vanderbilt University Department of Dermatology and with the USCLC Board of Directors.

The impact the Summit had on me extends beyond my new knowledge about global skin health. I left the Summit energized and filled with pride after seeing the impact of dermatologists from around the world on disabling and disfiguring skin disease through direct patient care, research, policy initiatives and education of all levels of healthcare providers.

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