Chile all set for the GICCA 2017 congress


GICCA Congress 2017

This will be the first time that such a huge international cochlear implant gathering has been held in Chile. The event is scheduled for April 23 to 26 of next year.

Audiological medicine and treatment in Chile have recently been brought in line with more mature markets. The country’s specialists have spent 25 years in an uncompromising struggle, for example, to see deafness/hypoacusis recognised as the most widespread disability in the country, an acknowledgement that would warrant such conditions being treated under the state. For this reason, the holding of GICCA 2017 in Santiago is far more than an opportunity for Chile to update, carry out networking, and do some business.

The 7th Congress of the Iberoamerican Cochlear Implants and Related Sciences Group (GICCA) is to be held from April 23 to 26 next year, and “for Chile it means tremendous recognition, since they handed the staging of this to us,” explains otorhinolaryngologist Gloria Ribalta, vice-president of the event. “Such recognition of the efforts and persistence of Chilean professionals who have devoted their careers to this is a fantastic achievement because it has been an immense undertaking for us given that health authorities in this country, whatever political colour they have been, have given us very little support historically.”

Gloria Ribalta, GICCA Chile
Dr. Gloria Ribalta, ENT, vice-president of the GICCA – Chile.

In Latin America, the most important markets have been Brazil, Argentina, and Colombia, basically because they have had laws for some years that allow them to carry out cochlear implant operations free to local patients who need them. “For 25 years, we have had to work on the basis of private efforts made by each family with a hearingdisabled person,” points out Ribalta.

It will be the first time that GICCA has been held in Chile. In the field of implants and hypoacusis there has not been an event of this nature “since 2005, when the Chilean congress coincided with the Iberoamerican otorhinolaryngology conference. Normally, attendance at the national (Chilean) congress reaches a maximum of 300 persons. If we limit that to those of us devoted purely to hearing, we would be lucky to number 100. And if we consider only those working in implants, in Chile we would amount to around 20 people. For GICCA, we are already talking about more than 600 persons, Chileans and foreign visitors, particularly Latin Americans and Spaniards; this means the study collective on cochlear implants for Iberoamerica. In these terms, this is a mega-event for us,” explains Dr. Ribalta.

In addition to single-subject discussions, the event will boast satellite symposia

The majority of exhibitors have already sent in their presentations. The three most important implant firms in the world (Austrians MEDEL, USA’s Advanced Bionic, and the Australian company, Cochlear) have confirmed their presence and committed to stands, practical courses for medics, and even satellite symposia taking place just before GICCA.

The congress days will run from 0800 to 1700 hours, and will take place in the Hotel Continental, located in a privileged area of Santiago, a business and touristic area full of restaurants and hotels, very close to one of the biggest and most diverse business centres in America.

The congress programme is practically ready. Presentations will be divided into subjects: otological surgery, (for implantologists), audiology (technology), hearing loss rehabilitation, practical workshops, dissection master-class, and evidence, experience, and innovation.

Audio Infos talked to speech-language pathologist Carolina Giesen, sales manager at the TechSalud hearing centre, who will take part in GICCA 2017. Her presentations are on audiology and rehabilitation. One is titled “Conditioned Play Audiometry using sensory integration techniques in children”, research aimed at “evaluating user perception of play techniques based on sensory integration, employed for hearing examinations of children with or without difficulties at the TechSalud centre over a 19-month period”. The second is titled “Parent experiences as co-therapists in systemic treatment with an interdisciplinary team”, a study conducted to “evaluate the perception of families of joint working and co-therapy experiences as a strategy to give children a familiar environment in which to favour global skill development” explains Carolina Giesen.

Carolina Giesen TechSalud, GICCA 2017
Carolina Giesen, commercial manager at the hearing center TechSalud and participating at the GICCA 2017.

Meanwhile, each separate GICCA has paid a tribute to a particular outstanding Latin American professional. Dr. Gloria Ribalta revealed to Audio Infos that the 7th congress will pay homage to the Argentinian implantologist “Dr. Vicente Diamante, who is over 80 years of age and still super-active, and even carrying out implants. He will be next year’s guest of honour.”

More information: GICCA's website

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Photos: GICCA, G.L.P.