Team approach sees Brisbane secure global paediatric health congress

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The World Congress of Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition (WCPGHAN) is coming to Australia for the very first time in 2028 after a team approach by Brisbane secured the win.

The Congress is expected to attract more than 2,000 delegates to the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre (BCEC) from 6-10 June 2028.

The bid was spearheaded by Professor Nikhil Thapar, Director of the Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Liver Transplant service at Queensland Children’s Hospital.

Professor Thapar chairs the paediatric faculty of the Gastroenterological Society of Australia as well as the Gastrointestinal Motility Subcommittee of the Congress host organisation, the Asia Pan-Pacific Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition.

With bid project management provided by BCEC and additional support from Tourism and Events Queensland, Tourism Australia and the Brisbane Economic Development Agency, Professor Thapar was able to combine the strong connections he made during his many years working in Europe with a compelling argument on behalf of the joint bid of Australia and New Zealand why Brisbane should be the host city for 2028 gathering.

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Professor Nikhil Thapar spearheaded the bid.

Much of this argument focused on Australia’s lead status in the field, the need for education in the Asia Pacific, particularly less developed nations, the planned Congress legacies that Professor Thapar is already working towards achieving and Brisbane’s track record of hosting critically important medical congresses.

“This World Congress is designed to assist countries that really need it, specifically in terms of education, and there are many in the Asia Pacific that will benefit,” he said.

“We believe that this is really an opportunity to drive up the quality of care that is currently available.

“There are still too many children dying in the world from gastrointestinal-related illnesses. We want this Congress to be the catalyst for change in this part of the world by providing those who are not able to attend a congress in Europe, with the opportunity to attend the Brisbane Congress.

“We intend it to have a strong education platform where practitioners will be able to take back to their own hospitals and countries new ideas and new practices to implement immediately.”

Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre general manager Kym Guesdon said the venue had been working on securing WCPGHAN 2028 since 2018.

“The Centre’s team works closely with medical, research and scientific leaders to secure major sector meetings of this calibre, which are an endorsement of Queensland’s strengths in the key science and research sectors,” she said.

“This is a critical area of medicine and for us to be able to host the world’s best practitioners and to share with them our local expertise, provides us with a strong sense of duty to make this a memorable and rewarding Congress for every attendee.”