I was very pleased to be invited to speak at the ICN’s first ever main session devoted to genetics. ‘Sharing the platform’ alongside Carole Kenner from the US and Merlyn Glass from South Africa, we were pleased to see about 100 delegates at the session. There was clearly a lot of interest in genetics, particularly from the public health perspective. During the discussion that followed our talks, one delegate spoke quite passionately about the need for better educated health professionals, and that in South Africa, the focus on HIV and AIDS should not detract for example from the care that a mother and her baby with Down syndrome and cardiac defects, should also receive. As she said, ‘Every mother counts; every child counts’.
As Emma mentioned, the NHS National Genetics Education & Development Centre resources disappeared rapidly from our stall. In the first few hours, people were queuing to gain access to our booth, as the photograph demonstrates.
By lunch time on the first day, just about everything had gone. After the photograph below was taken, we went for a quick cup of coffee. On our return, we found that even the items displayed on the walls had been removed! However, we were delighted that people continued to visit our empty stall during the rest of the conference to talk to us about genetics. It seems that the ICN having a focus on genetics and genetic education was timely.