55th Annual Meeting of the European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (ESPGHAN) in Vienna

From 17 to 20 May 2023, the ESPGHAN congress united healthcare professionals, patient and parent representatives as well as industry partners in the fields of paediatric gastroenterology, hepatology, and nutrition from across the world with the aim to reduce the burden of digestive and nutritional diseases and to improve digestive and nutritional health in paediatric age groups. EFCNI was honoured to attend the congress on-site and thrilled to meet old friends and new ones and to work towards the best possible care for children, preterm born babies and their families!

It was a pleasure to attend the ESPGHAN congress from 17 – 20 May on-site in Vienna. Three days packed with insightful lectures & interactive sessions all around the burden of digestive & nutritional diseases and how to improve nutritional health in paediatric age groups are behind us and this year’s congress was very special for us: For the first time, patient organisations were also involved in the scientific programme on-site. As Professor Ulrich Baumann, President of ESPGHAN, highlighted in his opening lecture, “[…] parent organisations in various countries have professionalised very much in the reecent years and we would like to see you even more as partners in our joint effort for a better life of children.“

EFCNI’s Chairwoman Silke Mader had the honour to contribute to the Patient Forum with a presentation on the topic of Human Milk regulation in the EU. In her talk, Silke Mader highlighted the need for regulations on human milk and ist donation at the EU level and emphasised that a common regulatory framework would ensure that human milk’s procurement, storage, processing and distribution meet high quality and safety standards in a harmonised manner as well as equitable access to safe donor human milk for preterm, sick and low birthweight infants. This would ultimately contribute towards better health outcomes for this highly vulnerable group of patients.

As another highlight of the congress, we launched our newest asset for parents/caregivers and the broad public, our latest factsheet on “Fortification: nutritional additives for preterm and sick babies“, which provides an overview on the areas of application, types and components of fortification in preterm and sick babies. The aim of this factsheet is, with the support of Priv. Doz. DDr. Christoph Binder, a well-known expert in the field of paediatric nutrition, and our Parent Advisory Board member Gigi Khonyongwa-Fernandez, to raise awareness on the important topic of fortification in preterm and sick babies‘ nutrition.

Furthermore, Silke Mader co-chaired a session on ‘Nutrition in the critically ill patient’ and we were very delighted to meet our partner Baxter, a long-time supporter of the topic of parenteral nutrition and our factsheet for patients and healthcare professionals, on-site at their booth. Besides, we attended the ESPGHAN Patient Organisation Meeting to exchange knowledge, experiences and lessons learned with other organisations in the field of paediatric health and nutrition, resulting in a common, important take-home message: Strong collaborations between healthcare professionals and patient organisations are needed to work towards the best possible health outcomes for children and babies, and: The more we empower the patient, the better!

We would like to thank the ESPGHAN Council and especially Professor Ulrich Baumann, President of ESPGHAN, for organising the conference and working towards better, nutritional health outcomes for children and babies. We are looking forward to the next conference!

More information about the ESPGHAN congress 2023, including the annual meeting highlights as well as highlights of the scientific programme, can be found here: