2015 ASCoN Conference – the 3rd P is for Prevention

Let’s start with the man himself.

Dr. H.S. Chhabra is a renowned orthopaedic spine surgeon at the Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, New Delhi and President Elect of the International Spinal Cord Society (ISCOS).  He has been a stalwart supporter of ASCoN and readily shares his wealth of SCI  knowledge with its members.

DSC_0016 (1024x681)

Esha Thapa Dhungana, Executive Director of SIRC, presenting Dr Chhabra with his ASCoN certificate and gift.

At the 2015 ASCoN Conference in Kathmandu early December, Dr Chhabra lead a mini symposium on the topic of SCI Prevention.  Dr Chhabra writes the following summary of the Prevention project he is spearheading as President Elect of ISCOS.

What’s the project?

Although the incidence of spinal cord injury (SCI) is low, the consequences of this disabling condition are extremely significant for the individual, family, and the community. Falls are the most common cause of Spinal Cord Injury in the Asian region. Unfortunately Prevention of Falls has received the least attention.  This could be because of the fact that epidemiology of SCI related to cause, differs between regions of the world.  And in developed countries where most of the prevention programs have been initiated, road traffic crashes have been the dominant cause.

An effort is being made to get together various societies working in this field like International Spinal Cord Society (ISCoS), Asian Spinal Cord Network (ASCoN), Spinal Cord Society (SCS), International Society of Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology (SICOT), World Orthopaedic Concern (WOC), Association of Spine Surgeons of India (ASSI), Indian Orthopaedic Association (IOA) and Indian Association of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (IAPMR) to initiate prevention activities with a focus on fall prevention in the Asian region. 


The various programs to disseminate information about preventing programs for SCI are proposed as under:

  1. Creating Awareness
    1. Use of Social Media
    2. Use of Mass Media
    3. Nominating Brand Ambassador
  2. Liaising with Policy makers
  3. Liaising with NGOs
  4. Liaising with other healthcare professional bodies

Scope of Work

The Project Team has been envisaged to propose an action plan for various prevention programs on SCI, to all the participating Societies through the Steering Committee, for approval. This would be done through:

  • Understanding local epidemiology of SCI and devising specific prevention program for the region.
  • Preparing specific prevention program report, which should include the following:
    • Prevention program protocol
    • Conduct of the program
    • Budget for the program
    • Cost benefit analysis for the program
  • Progress reports at pre decided regular intervals to be submitted to the Advisory Committee
  • Organizing fund raising programs for the programs
  • Post program efficacy

The Latest News on the Project:

The above proposal was discussed during the recently concluded 14th ASCoN Conference held at Kathmandu.

A mini symposium was conducted where inputs from the participating delegates were taken. The following are the highlights:

  • Creation of App for evacuation and prevention strategies
  • Chapter on injury prevention as part of education curriculum
  • Innovative local techniques shall be preferred. For example, fruit picking while standing on ground using an assistive devise, manufacturing of safety harness with locally available material. Involvement of local mountaineering teams for training may also be considered.

These suggestions have now been included as part of the program.

As part of the program, a Prevention Poster Competition was conducted at the site. Ms. Roksana Hoque, Bangladesh won the first prize of USD 50.

Prevention Poster

Winning Poster – Prevention Poster Competition

Prevention Poster Winner

The winner Ms. Roksana Hoque, Bangladesh receiving 1st Prize in the Prevention Poster Competition. Congratulations!

It has been decided to conduct such poster competitions during various conferences so as to gain interest in the participating delegates.

Much thanks to Dr Chhabra and the energy and drive he provides to SCI organizations world-wide.

About Kate Coffey

After 30 or so years in the investment management industry, 2013 saw me turn my life up-side-down, making my way first to Nepal, then Bangladesh during that first ‘year away’. The year took me on a journey I did not expect, had me fall in love with Nepal and its people, and become inspired at the work of Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Centre (SIRC) located in Bhainsepati - 2 hours east of Kathmandu in the Saanga foothills. Since 2014, I have returned to SIRC numerous times, working closely with the folks there in the aftermath of the 2015 earthquakes. In Bangladesh I marvelled at the strength and resilience of marginalized women who have the courage and audacity to break the rules and make a better life for themselves and their children through microfinance programs with BRAC. 2016-2017 saw me embark on a totally new experience in Sri Lanka, a place I never would have chosen to end up in. It’s the 40C+ heat, big humidity and tropical snakes & animals that scared me! But I ended up love love loving! my time there, working with predominantly Tamil small business owners in remote villages in north and east of the country, trying their best to recover their businesses and the lives of their employees, after decades of a civil war. My time in Sri Lanka made me realize my hard-earned business skills and experience can really be put to good use! The work the BIZ+ team and I did there ended up earning me International Volunteer of the Year Award in December 2017, presented on Capitol Hill, Washington DC no less. I am currently home on Bowen Island, in the west coast of Canada, shoring up my finances before I head off to who knows where, for my next expert volunteer assignment. This blog initially started out as a travelogue of sorts to keep friends and family worldwide updated while I was off on my travels in 2013-2014. Since then it has morphed into a life story of the many places I have lived and worked and of the wonderful people I have met along the way. I hope you enjoy.
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