28 March 2017 // IF volunteer from the first hour, Dr. Carla Verpoorten, has been honoured for her dedication to the Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus community with the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Spina Bifida Association (SBA) of America. The award was presented to her during SBA's 3rd World Congress on Spina Bifida Research and Care by Dr. Ana Jiménez from Costa Rica. Dr. Carla Verpoorten is a retired neuro-paediatrician who started coordinated care for Spina Bifida at the university hospital of Leuven (Belgium) where she worked for over 30 years. She advised the International Federation for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus (IF) in its efforts to develop lifelong care for its target group in countries of the Global South.
With African experts she developed an effective and payable continence management program. In her role of adviser and trainer for the IF team and IF network she was a key person in the development of the IF program that already served tens of thousands of children with Spina Bifida and/or Hydrocephalus.
In her ability to rethink and reconsider strategies and adapting those to the possibilities in the Global South she showed her intellectual vision. In all steps made, she remained an independent thinker, safeguarding medical standards and even more important the human dignity. Carla’s words “Think in abilities and not in disabilities” were a life lesson for those who worked with her. On many occassions, Dr. Verpoorten has been a valued speaker during IF conferences and workshops, speaking on treatment of the neurogenic bladder and the importance of multidisciplinary clinics.
In addition to her work for the IF projects in developing countries, Dr. Verpoorten continues to work towards better continence management. Together with Dr. Jan D. Van Gool, and with the support of Child-Help and the Bo Hjelt Foundation, she ambitiously works on research to improve treatment of the neurogenic bladder through intravesical oxybutynin. Next April, she will travel again to Ethiopia to provide continence training for local medical staff.
A collection of photos showing Dr. Verpoorten's activities, is available on our Facebook page.