The 13th Serbian Congress on Diabetes was held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, in Belgrade, on December 13, 2023. The Congress was attended by 900 participants from around the world, including healthcare professionals (HCPs), researchers, nurses and people living with diabetes (PwD).
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the last in-person Congress took place in 2019. While in-person events were suspended, the organising committee implemented innovative measures to ensure the continuation of medical education. Online lectures were introduced as key components of the virtual Congress, enabling HCPs to interact with experts and stay up to date with the latest developments in diabetes care. Additionally, the telemedicine system “e-DIABETES” was implemented, allowing HCPs to provide remote consultations and support to PwD from the safety of their homes. These initiatives proved to be invaluable resources and fostered improved interconnection between healthcare levels in Serbia.
The widespread adoption of virtual solutions led to the 12th Serbian Congress on Diabetes, held on March 20-25, 2022, in a virtual format which allowed participants to network and exchange knowledge. As conditions improved, the organising committee successfully reinstated the in-person format of the Congress in 2023. This transition marked a significant milestone, enabling participants to once again meet, share insights and engage in discussions in a traditional setting.
The 13th Serbian Congress on Diabetes consisted of scientific sessions, a parallel programme organised by diabetes nurses and titled “Nurses as part of the diabetes team” and another parallel programme on “How to live with diabetes”, organised by PwD.
The scientific programme featured 20 symposia covering a wide variety of topics including prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, pathophysiology and therapeutic approaches, obesity and diabetes, new approaches and technologies in diabetes control, the prevention of cardiovascular complications, diabetes and aging, and diabetes in women. A total of 53 lectures were delivered by national and international experts and 71 papers presented.
IDF Europe Regional Chair, Prof. Nebojša M. Lalić, presided over the programme and organising committee. The Congress, under the auspices of the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Serbia, was primary organised by the Serbian Diabetes Society and the Diabetes Committee, Endocrine Section of the Serbian Medical Association. The parallel programmes were organised by the Association of Nurses in Diabetology and the Diabetes Association of Serbia, the latter being a member of IDF Europe. The Congress was also accredited by the Serbian regulatory bodies. IDF President, Prof. Akhtar Hussein, gave the opening address and highlighted the importance of holding such a Congress. The Declaration signed by IDF Europe and WHO Europe last November, during the High-Level Technical Summit on accelerating action on diabetes as well as the European Parliament Resolution on Diabetes adopted in 2022, also represented important focal points during the event.
The Congress gained attention from national media in Serbia and was recognised by the diabetes community in the Balkan region, drawing substantial attendance by HCPs and PwD from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and North Macedonia.
Overall, the event contributed to advancing a holistic approach to diabetes management and encouraging all stakeholders to work together towards improving care for PwD in Serbia.