Between the 13-14th of April 2019, Immune Deficiencies Foundation Australia (IDFA) organised their national conference at the Novotel hotel in Brisbane, with the aim to educate, engage and support people affected by immune deficiencies. The purpose of the congress was to explore the concept “there’s more to me than my immune deficiency” and to address the medical, practical, educational, social and emotional needs of patients and their partners/carers/families affected by both primary and secondary immune deficiency.
The conference hosted over 100 patients and carers who all had the possibility to participate in thirteen medical sessions with eight immunologists, three genetic researchers, a clinical nurse consultant, a national blood authority representative, IDFA carers advisor, IDFA board members and staff. Beyond this the conference provided medical and practical information about PIDs regarding manifestation, diagnosis, pathology, genetics, treatments and research. They also addressed transition, bone marrow transplants, lung disease, sexual health and Australian research.
Reaching beyond the medical sessions the conference also offered four inclusive workshops about patients, carers, families and sexual health and discussed other issues relevant to participants such as family, genetic diagnosis, depression and anxiety. IDFA also addressed social, emotional, psychological needs while providing practical advice, coping skills and discussion forums. The national conference ended with a great masquerade dinner, offering the participants a chance to be “more than their immune deficiency”.
IDFA sincerely thanks DSS, CSL and Shire for their sponsorship of this event.