As you are acknowledged , the chairman and secretary of IUA 23rd annual congress were introduced in the general assembly of 22nd congress.
Planning for 23rd congress execution was started in November 2019 by forming the scientific committee as the first step to compile the scientific schedule during regular meetings.
Throughout the meetings , the congress strategy was approved to be based on presentation of beneficial and functional issues for the majority of attendants ( all of whom are almost general urologists ) as well as launching updated data of different subspecialties.
Therefore , the scientific and provincial sub branches of scientific committees were established. Regarding that some of the subjects could not be discussed under the title of any scientific sub branches , a separate branch entitled " general urology " was added to others. The supposed issues of each branch were collated by the chairman and secretary of the branch in accordance with scientific committee.
Perhaps it was the first time to compile the scientific schedule for each branch under direct supervision of the relative branch chairman which leaded to a more profound schedule.
Considering the sum of time dedicated to the scientific program , the allocation of time for the branches was performed in the common meetings of scientific and executive committees and IUA board of directors; hence , the complete schedule of IUA 23rd congress was prepared to be released on the website on March 2020 ( 4 months before the scheduled date) so the congress would be executed on June 2020 at Abureyhan international conferences center.
However , the COVID-19 outbreak and limitation of carrying out gatherings hindered the congress execution as it was planned.
After brainstorming in several meetings of IUA board of directors , the virtual execution of the congress was authorized.
Regarding the problems due to internet access limitations , there was a probability of the lecturers not getting prepared for their presentation on the arranged time and the consequent disorders; therefore , it was decided to receive all the lectures in an identical format of powerpoint slides with voice recordings beforehand and make them ready to be shared as videos on the determined time.
Concerning that not all the speakers were completely familiar with producing voice containing slides and also unifying the slide formats , a guideline about how to add voices to powerpoint slides was prepared by the congress secretariat in written and video form and was shared via the groups for each panel.Also the uniform format for the slides were sent to the lecturers.
After receiving the files , they were edited by the secretariat , categorized and uploaded on the congress platform according the schedule.
One of the most important circumstances to be discussed beforehand was choosing the best platform on which the virtual congress would be uploaded. Finally , Skyroom was selected as the platform regarding the board of directors opinions. Two accounts were purchased and activated for the congress and after verifying the function of them by some test , the links were activated and shared on the website and also delivered to attendants via sms.
One other arrangement that took place in the IUA virtual congress was transmitting the programs on Aparat platform simultaneously; This would help the attendants to pursue the programs lively on Aparat with a good quality in case of any problems occurring in skyroom platform.
The advantage of utilizing this system was that there was no need for the online presence of the speakers while they had sent their videos formerly; However , with all members in concordance , the panel chairmen and members were online during their program transmission and in the end of the program took part in the question and answer sessions to reply to the attendants.
The other resolution for the virtual execution was to put together the presentations of each branch in a form of some 1-2 hour webinars and set the whole schedule in several webinars during 6 days of 2 successive weeks in August. 5 webinars were dedicated to international presentations in cooperation with European Association of Urology , Urology Association of Asia , International Association of Urology , International Continence Society and International Neurourology Society.
Finally, after several meetings to assess probable challenges and consider appropriate solutions , the 23rd annual congress of IUA was executed on 19-21 Aug 2020 and 26-28 Aug 2020.
The exact time and execution framework were both uploaded on website and sent to our fellow workers via sms.
Approximately 60 articles were sent for the congress that the selected ones and also the available videos ( about 170 videos) would be shared with the colleagues in an e book format.
The problems concerning CME credits of the virtual congress , regarding that it was the first congress being carried out virtually and the relative ministry had not any prepared planning for it , are being resolved by our correspondence with the ministry.
After all , problems and imperfections are an inseparable part of such programs and we express our apologies to all our dear fellow workers and hope to present programs of higher quality in future sessions.