With Covid-restrictions behind us (at least for now!), in-person conferences can be organized again (at last!). I was very happy to get the opportunity to attend the Swiss Neonatal Society meeting in Biel/ Bienne recently. Great and much longed-for to meet up with peers! For learnings and discussions face-to-face. And being a first-timer at a Swiss conference, I was happily surprised to find a chocolate company as one of the partners. We enjoyed some excellent candy at the coffee breaks!
One major impression and take-home message came from Prof Dieter Wolke, lecturing about the life-long trajectories of preterm birth. While survival has improved over time, adverse neurodevelopment outcomes keep stable and prevalent, especially in the extremely preterm population. That’s something we need to acknowledge, and of course, work harder (research!) to change. Prof Wolke reflected around “survival” versus “quality of survival” (BTW and IMO, “quality” is not for NICU professionals to judge but something we can only learn about from parents and preterm-born kids and adults). He stressed the need for structured follow up and reasoned around “social neuroprotection”. NICU graduates do not usually “outgrow” their early challenges later in life and therefore kids and young adults born preterm may need support with things that matters , such as nourishing family relations and friendships, and an independent life.
During my travels to Switzerland, I also had the opportunity to visit Ewopharma in Schaffhausen, the distributor of ProPrems® in Switzerland. Friederike Skott, the project manager at Ewopharma, welcomed me at their headquarters located in a fabulous 17th century house in the Old Town of Schaffhausen. We spent a full day working together with short “de-tour” breaks to the Rheinfall (largest waterfall in Europe), and the surrounding countryside. Thanks to a structured approach built on the long experience from the life-science sector in Switzerland, Ewopharma are already providing ProPrems® to several leading Swiss health care centers. Being registered as a Food for Special Medical Purposes (FSMP) in Switzerland, ProPrems® is very well received by Swiss health care professionals.
I am very glad about our collaboration with Ewopharma starting in early 2021. While Ewopharma is a much larger company than Neobiomics, I have always felt that we share the same values around innovations backed by science and that it is key to have a “long breath” to succeed in work.