Words from the President

Dear friends and colleagues,

As we just returned from several Asian conferences this month, the Asian Neurological Conference in Myanmar and the Annual Stroke Meeting in Vietnam, from our World Stroke Day meeting in Manila on October 5th which we held together with the APSO and Philippine Stroke Society, followed by the Fit for Brain against Stroke Run on October 6th, we are, at the same time, looking at other activities of international importance.

On September 30th we attended the United Nations General Assembly which had the general topic of ‘Universal Health Coverage’. Dozens of heads of states arrived in New York and reported their activities and programs. This is of extreme importance for battling stroke and its consequences around the world. We also joined some side events together with the World Heart Federation. The voice of advocacy was heard and we made every effort to deepen our influence among the stakeholders. The aim of reducing stroke as a leading NCD is still the prominent focus of our global advocacy and we will continue to join all other efforts within the NCD Alliance to make the voice of stroke heard.

We are gearing up preparations for the ESO-WSO 2020 Congress to be held in May in Vienna, Austria, next year. We expect a record number of registrations, well up to 7.000. The scientific sessions are already laid out and many other events are in planning stage. Among them is a full-day pre-congress research meeting. Among social highlights during the congress the faculty dinner stands out which will be in the Vienna Town Hall with Viennese live music including Waltzes.

Never before did the WSO have so many parallel activities. We will attend the World Congress of Neurology in Dubai next month and share four major joint sessions as well as some teaching courses on stroke. Preparations for next year’s regional meetings in South America and Asia are already ongoing and will be reported separately.

After a prolonged period of uncertainty we were able to have thrombolysis (alteplase) listed as an essential drug at the WHO, which is an important starting point to make iv thrombolysis available for many patients in LMICs, either for free or at least at locally affordable prices. Together with other organisations we were also able to list combined (dual) hypertensive drugs into the essential medicines catalogue. This dual approach enables much easier treatment of hypertension. With this combination pill, a polypill strategy is being paved the way for prevention.

On another note, many internal changes are ongoing. We are building our capacity, aiming at increasing memberships, pushing for fundraising and are focusing on our mission in many other ways. The results of the strategy meeting which we held in May this year in Milano is being finalized and will be decided by our Board which gives us further guidance for the period of up to 2022.

Other activities involve the renewal of our contracts with the congress organizers and the results of a task force mission to find a new Editor in Chief for our flag-ship journal, the International Stroke of Stroke which this year has peaked its impact factor to above 4.4. This will be announced after its ratification by the Board.

I wish you and the WSO a lot of success in these coming months.

Michael Brainin
President, WSO