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Date: 20 -24 May 2018
Location: Glasgow, Scotland
Working with leaders from a group of national patient associations, WFH founder Frank Schnabel convened the first WFH global meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark, on June 25, 1963. This included representatives from 12 countries: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
The 1968 WFH Congress was an important milestone. “It was the first major scientific event in the series,” Anthony Britten, MD (U.K.), wrote in a WFH 25th anniversary retrospective. “Cryoprecipitate was clearly a reality. Lyophilized concentrates were increasingly available. Surgery was becoming safe for most hemophiliacs. Carol Kasper reported outpatient dental extractions. This was a time when there seemed to be no limits.”
In 1983, at the WFH Congress in Stockholm, Sweden, Bruce Evatt, MD (U.S.A.), presented data connecting human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in hemophilia patients and plasma-derived treatment concentrates. Following this Congress, the WFH set up the World Hemophilia AIDS Center with the Los Angeles Orthopaedic Hospital, providing rapid access to vital information about the disease.
Over the next few years, the WFH grew rapidly. It held World Congresses regularly and created a global network of healthcare providers, national hemophilia associations, people with hemophilia, and their families. The WFH World Congress became a focal point for doctors interested in discussing the status of haemophilia treatment and research and for the haemophilia community at large. Discussions were held focusing on the areas of neglect and accelerating the utilization of existing knowledge.
Through these meetings, a truly global haemophilia network emerged that has continued to grow in size and influence. WFH Founder, Frank Schnabel believed that one of the most important aspects of the WFH is that it provides a mechanism for the exchange of information on a global scale. The original goal of the bringing together the global bleeding disorders community remains just as relevant today as it did during the first meeting in 1963.