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WPA World Congress of Psychiatry in Prague, Czech Republic, 2008 - What the XIV. World Congress of Psychiatry meant for Czech psychiatry

Prof. Dr. J. Raboch
Chair of Organizing Committee of XIV. World Congress of Psychiatry

Opening Ceremony of the XIV. World Congress of Psychiatry, 20 September 2008. Standing left at the podium: Prof. Jiri Raboch. Seated from Left: Dr. Otmar Kloiber, Dr. Pavel Bem, Prof. Juan Mezzich, Dr. Dzamila Stehlikova, Prof. Mario Maj and Dr. Benedetto Saraceno.It was the biggest and most important international congress on psychiatry that ever took place in the Czech Republic and was fully prepared by local organizers. More than 6 000 specialists from 125 countries participated in the event, of which some 250 were from the Czech Republic. Many chaired sessions with key-note speakers or special workshops, or presented results of their own work. Several were selected for the congress New Research Abstract Book – special volume of Česká a Slovenská psychiatrie (Czech and Slovak Psychiatry). All those colleagues could be certain that they can compete very well in world psychiatry. The same goes all the more for Czech young psychiatrists who prepared very good programme for their colleagues from all over the world.

Professor Mario Maj, the new WPA president, announced in the Congress a ten-point action plan of the World Psychiatric Association for 2008 – 2011. The first objective is to “enhance across the world the prestige of psychiatry in the eyes of public, health-care professionals and politicians”. It is pleasant to state that many things were achieved already in the course of the Congress. We successfully managed to involve in the Congress leading politicians and other important personalities. The President of the Czech Republic and the Mayor of Prague took auspices of the Congress, the latter also had a very interesting presentation attended by plenty of audience in the plenary session. Other activities were attended by two Czech Cabinet Ministers, top officials of the Czech Parliament, as well as of the Office of the President of the Czech Republic, Czech Medical Association, Czech Medical Chamber, Charles University, as well as the most important Czech health insurance company. Repeatedly, media offered coverage of our activities to the public who could also "meet" with psychiatry in the centre of Prague at the Art Brut exhibition.Closing Ceremony of the XIV. World Congress of Psychiatry, 25 September 2008. Seated from left: Otomar Kittnar, Jaroslav Blahos, Mario Maj, Juan Mezzich and Jiri Raboch.

In the process of preparation of the congress as well as during the congress itself relevant fora tackled the issue of financing psychiatric care in the Czech Republic. We hope that our long-term talks will at last bring specific positive results. In the final press conference representatives of the Czech Health Ministry publicly stated their intention to develop an action plan for our psychiatric care.

Also thanks to this congress the  building of  Psychiatric Clinic in Karlov, the seat of Czech Psychiatric Association, obtained new "clothes" and its visitors' book kept from 1834 was enriched by more signatures of prominent personalities.

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