Overview of the 9th World Congress of Perinatal Medicine

September 21, 2009

Coverage of the 2009 World Congress of Perinatal Medicine

Roberta Speyer: I am Roberta Speyer and I am reporting for OBGYN.net from the Word Congress in Perinatal Medicine in Berlin. I am here speaking to Professor Joachim Dudenhausen who is the president this year of the congress. He is going to tell us a little bit about the highlights, what is going on and what is the hot subject this year at the congress. Professor?

Professor Joachim Dudenhausen: The World Congress of Perinatal Medicine is a congress of the World Association of Perinatal Medicine. This association was founded 20 years ago in Tokyo from Professor Sakamoto, he was the first president. For the past 20 years we had congresses in different places in the world, the States and South America and now we are in Europe, in Berlin. That is a very nice idea to come to Berlin because Berlin is one of the roofs of perinatal medicine and here was done the work with the focus of the child in obstetrics in the beginning of the 1960's with Professor Saling. Therefore we are happy to be the host of the Perinatal family in Berlin.

We had 2,200 delegates and that is a huge increase in participants over the years. I am very happy that a lot of participants from a 50 nations came to Berlin. They will hear the newest results of research in perinatal medicine. For instance, it is interesting to hear the results about preterm labor and new research about molecular reasons of preterm labor and the connection between infection and preterm labor, and it is possible today with the high specific diagnostic methods to find the MRA between the infection and the microbiology and the preterm contractions. This is one of the highlights.

On the other hand, not only research results are important of genetic and molecular medicine, what is very important for a world association, are world problems, are global problems. There are two global problems, which are very important for the perinatal medicine; and that is the maternal mortality all over the world and the reason for the maternal death. Six hundred thousand women die in pregnancies, delivery and childbed. That is a tragedy of a catastrophic result because these numbers are the same since several years. And we, the perinatologists have to think about possibilities to reduce these numbers. It is not only a political question, this is a question of humanity, and responsible are the MDs or the midwives all over the world to change this situation. We discussed yesterday this problem of maternal mortality all over the world and we had a speaker for the WHO and from different countries of the developing countries. This problem is 90 percent a problem of the developing countries. Nevertheless, in the developed countries, the industrialized world, the mortality of mother is not the first problem but in every case of death of mother in pregnancy, delivery and child bed, is one case too many.

The second highlight for this public health problem in perinatal medicine is the HIV problem to reduce the infection of the child during delivery; that is a very important point, especially in the industrialized world, but more in the sub-Saharan region or in Asia. It is possible to reduce the maternal/fetal infection to less than one percent in these cases, and that is a very important point. It is an organizational point or organizational interest and a question of substances availability in the developing countries.

Roberta Speyer: How can it be reduced? How can we in the developing world - what can we do to help these countries lower the infant mortality and mother mortality rate?

Professor Joachim Dudenhausen: The first thing we can do is we can inform the health professionals in these countries that it is important to look for the HIV virus in the blood of the pregnant mother. We cannot treat a mother if we do not know the HIV infection, therefore it is necessary to make an HIV diagnostic in pregnancy, all over the world. This test has to be done. If the test is positive the mother and the child have to get special obstetrical treatment with some substances before the delivery, special delivery - maybe a C-section, that is a question of the virus load, and the treatment of the newborn baby after delivery.

It is not a question of money alone. It is a question of knowledge and diagnostic, and third point, money for the substances.

Roberta Speyer: We appreciate your letting us come here and report from this wonderful congress. It has been a pleasure to be part of it and we are looking forward to next year, it will be in Uruguay?

Professor Joachim Dudenhausen: In two years we will meet in Uruguay, Punta del Este, one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Roberta Speyer: In 2011, we look forward to seeing you there. Thank you professor.

Professor Joachim Dudenhausen: Thank you.