Dear IPA members,
It is a great honor to take the office as President of our association.
IPA is now 100 years old and well established as the only global representative of the pediatric community. We are the voice of 166 Members Societies, (Regional, National and International Pediatric Specialty Societies). This broad representation entitles IPA to be a valid representative of the pediatric world, to advocate for children in the global health scenario and to be an attractive partner to the major players in global health, delivering actions at the grass roots level, where they are really needed and effective. Acting through these member societies, IPA has the potential to reach more than 500 thousand pediatricians in all regions of the world. These pediatricians can make a difference in our children’s lives.
We must, therefore work actively to establish a functional network linking the whole pediatric community, to communicate, establish strategic plans and engage on activities that can benefit our children. If we really want to mean something to children’s health, we must be able to deliver care to them, on the field. IPA has to advocate and act politically to represent the best interest of children and pediatricians. But it will never be efficient enough, if we work disconnected from the people we mean to represent.
Many colleagues frequently ask me: what is IPA, what is it for? What are the goals of this association and why it is important for the Pediatric Societies to join?
Prof. Sergio Cabral
My answer is: IPA has the huge mission to represent their members next to the global health partners. Member Societies can, of course, establish direct relations with international players. There is, however, an important slot to be filled by an international association, that can represent collectively the pediatric community, claiming for global health policies, optimizing the results and minimizing inequalities between large societies and the smaller ones with increased needs.
In order to fulfill this role as leaders, being increasingly recognized as the authorized voice for the pediatric community, we must get more and more organized and strengthened, politically and financially. To stay respected as an organization we must be independent and attractive to donors and financing agencies. This leads us back to our main advantage, our increasing number of associates, the power we have to implement health programs, our ability to deliver messages directly to health professionals.
Finances are essential but not the only reason of our existence. Advocacy and scientific initiatives are our main talents, what we are about.
We have also the obligation to assist our Member Societies in their requests. As an example, by reinforcing the leadership of the smaller societies in respect to their local governments, or extending the successful experiences of the bigger ones to other regions of the world, we can make a difference in our children’s lives.
IPA can lead initiatives in a way that the other pediatric associations can’t, the global one. Being an international organization has the advantage of removing regionalisms and bringing people together, in a similar level of empowerment, even bearing their social and economical differences.
Through its office bearers and Standing Committee members, IPA has played a leadership role in the pediatric world, working with the major global health players like WHO, UNICEF, FIGO and others. We are involved in the most important initiatives like the Partnership for Maternal and Child Health, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, the Countdown, the G8, the Millennium Summit, the Global Health Education Commission and many others, giving an active voice to pediatricians and children.
We also have a growing involvement in Pediatric Education. A recent example of our potential to integrate different experiences, is our partnership in the Global Pediatric Education Consortium, that can greatly benefit from the lead of the IPA, facilitating the adoption of its deliverables by the academic pediatric community.
We have also our own programs. These are leaded by our Technical Advisors and will certainly continue and be fully supported during this session. Adolescent Health, Better Medicines for Children, Children’s Environmental Health, Child Health in Humanitarian Emergencies, Immunization, HIV-AIDS/TB, MDG project, Newborn and Child Survival, Nutrition, Quality of Care and Early child development, will remain as our priorities.
Communications are vital. We have a very functional and updated website, that will be utilized to expand our communication channels with our constituency and also used as an efficient educational tool. A very complete newsletter has now been delivered and will be maintained and further explored as an efficient tool in our relations either internal as with other associations.
Our main goal for this session will be to maintain and increase our achievements with special focus on the achievement of the MDGs in the countries with the biggest needs. We plan to grow either politically as financially, strengthening our links with our members and consolidating our position as the global leaders of pediatrics.
The 100 years birthday of the IPA is a time for us to honor the excellent work done by our predecessors. Over the structure they provided, we can be able to realize our dreams, starting our plans and actions, moving on with their previous and successful initiatives and proposing and implementing new improvements. I thank the support I received from Jane Schaller, Adenike Grange, Chok-wan Chan and the many pediatricians I had the honor to work with, for the past years.
We’ll move forward with our eyes on the future but keeping the memory of what has been done and should not be discontinued.
IPA has done a lot. IPA can, and will, do much more.
President of the International Pediatric Association (IPA)