Collaboration is key to the future of hospitals – concludes the 46th World Hospital Congress

27 October 2023

The Congress – the premier event for global leaders and decision-makers in the healthcare community – returned to Lisbon for the first time since 1957 and was held under the High Patronage of the President of the Portuguese Republic.

Over three days, more than 1,400 delegates from over 90 countries and territories gathered at Lisbon Congress Centre for 46 plenary and parallel sessions; more than 200 renowned speakers; 300 poster presentations; and industry exhibitions. Co-organized by the IHF and a consortium of the Portuguese Association for Hospital Development, the Portuguese Association of Hospital Managers, and the Portuguese Association of Private Hospitals, the theme for this 46th World Hospital Congress was “global learning, local action”.

In a video address to Congress delegates, Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe, stated:  

“Hospitals play a key role in achieving Universal Health Coverage, demanding us to continually rethink their role and capacity. WHO in the European region envisions the hospital of tomorrow as technologically advanced, patient-centred, seamlessly integrated with community health, and rooted in sustainability.

Hospitals need to be integral components of community health and regional economies, and beyond addressing physical ailments, hospitals must heal from the social, economic, and psychological aftermath of crisis.

It is crystal clear that aligning efforts across different organizations and nations is crucial. Time and tide wait for no man. It is up to us to keep pace and prepare for what the future holds.” 

The President of the Portuguese Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, also addressed the Closing Ceremony and spoke about the opportunities for healthcare leaders to find common solutions to shared challenges through international collaboration:

“The theme of this Congress – ‘Global learning, local action’ – reflects the importance of harnessing global knowledge, skills, and experience to tackle the single and different specific challenges faced at local level.

The world is more and more interconnected than ever and exchange of ideas and practices across borders is fundamental in our quest for progress. The result is a body of our knowledge that will strengthen our health system and by extension the health and wellbeing of our citizens and societies. I thank you for your dedication. I look forward to the continued collaboration and progress that will undoubtedly result from this meeting.” 

Representatives of the Portuguese Consortium handed over organizing responsibilities ceremonially to Dr Adelvânio Francisco Morato, President of the Brazilian Hospital Federation. The IHF will organize the 47th World Hospital Congress Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 10 to 12 September 2024, in collaboration with FBH.

Dr Morato shared his admiration for the Lisbon Congress, and his vision for the next edition:

“We are committed to promoting a landmark meeting in 2024, which will go down in the history of almost five decades of holding the IHF’s World Hospital Congress. We are already working to offer a scientific framework of excellence, as well as initiatives to promote connections and unforgettable experiences.

We want to make this event an even bigger success! We look forward to welcoming our colleagues from around the world and sharing with them the beauty and uniqueness of the Marvellous City [Rio de Janeiro].” 

Beyond the Congress’ scientific programme, there were several highlight events.