22 July 2015 // Last year, we established a Global Experts Panel to assist and advise IF in its activities; IF became a member of the Executive Team of the PUSH Alliance, a group of organisations all dedicated to improve prevention and care efforts in the fields of Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus; a special committee for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus was launched in China, thanks to the work of IF President Margo Whiteford and former IF President Pierre Mertens; IF 25th International Conference GENErating Changes was held in Argentina, and the IF membership expanded with 6 new organisations in Europe, Africa, Asia, and the USA. In August, IF organised a workshop in Kenya on Preparing for adult life and development of adult services and developed a guide on transition from childhood to adulthood for people with spina bifida. The 3rd World Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Day was commemorated on 25 October 2014 with activities from IF's member organisations worldwide. In December IF launched its Strategic Plan 2015-2017. Check out IF's Annual Report 2014 for other milestones and additional information, and our Financial Report 2014.
22 July 2015 // This year's first IF European workshop took place on 3-4 July in Vilnius, Lithuania. IF members from 15 European countries came together to discuss their working priorities and to give the IF secretariat guidance for its 2016 activities. They were supported by IF's international Board of Directors who held their own meeting in parallel. IF members stated that in many cases persons with SBH who require medical intervention in another EU country receive some kind of reimbursement for their treatment, but usually they have to fundraise privately to pay for additional costs, such as transportation to and accommodation in the country of their choice. Also, worryingly, many IF members had no or little contact with the National Contact Points for cross-border healthcare, which are established to provide patients with information about healthcare abroad.
26 June 2015 // On the fifth edition of its Institutional Awards ceremony, which took place on June 20 in Madrid, the Spanish Federation of Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Associations, FEBHI, rewarded IF with its "Lifetime Achievement Award". IF has received the award for its relevant and ongoing activities for the promotion, development and advancement of projects that support and improve the inclusion of people with disabilities. Through this award, FEBHI recognizes the ongoing work of IF with regard to the empowerment and independence of people with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus since it was founded in 1979. FEBHI also recommends IF for its commitment to projects in developing countries and its role in the protection of the human rights of persons with disabilities.