PAPSA PRESIDENT’S REPORT TO THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY AT THE 8TH BIENNIAL CONGRESS IN DAR-ES SALAAM, TANZANIA
Prof. Afua A.J.Hesse
All too soon four years have come and gone and it is time to take stock. This period has seen ups and downs for us as Executive of this great Association.
There have been successes and areas where we have not performed as well and others where the challenges have been very major which have not yet been overcome.
The fact that we have been able to meet here in Dar speaks volumes of the commitment of the President-elect Dr Petronilla Ngiloi and I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate her and her Tanzanian colleagues in the face of dwindling sponsorship and donor fatigue all round.
Last two years, the executive determined on 4 standing committees and inaugurated them. They are:
· Finance and fund raising which would also take care of registration and membership issues
- Standards which would help with guidelines for practice on the continent, with minimum standards of practice and how to monitor/police and enforce these as well as look at standards of training of Paediatric surgeons with the possibility of us developing some form of accreditation criteria for paediatric surgery practice in the sub-region.
- Education, scientific and program committee
- Research to help crystallize the work that is happening continent-wide as well as make suggestions for multi-centre studies which will be most relevant to our practice
We look forward to hearing reports of their progress.
ACTIVITIES OF OVERSEAS MEMBERS
Together with our overseas members, this term has seen the fruits of successful collaboration as together we have produced a textbook of Paediatric surgery that all students, trainers and trainees on
this continent will cherish as applicable to our practice. “Paediatric surgery: A Comprehensive text for Africa”. This magnificent book has Emmanuel Ameh, Stephen Bickler, Kikila Lakhoo, Benedict Nwomeh and Dan Poenaru as editors. We congratulate them and all the contributors for their sterling work and efforts and thank the Publishers- Global Help who do Health education using low-cost publications for their valuable assistance in publishing this book in the many formats which are available.
Individually overseas members have also affirmed their commitment to excellence in Paediatric Surgery training by fostering residents in training and encouraging research.
We have continued to foster our international linkages. The BAPS under the Presidency of Prof. David Drake who is one of us, started the Paediatric Surgery skills workshop in Accra under the able tutorship of Mr Anthony Lander which has continued this year and is hopefully now a permanent feature of our congresses. We are extremely grateful to all the Faculty who sacrifice so much to ensure standards of practice are maintained in Paediatric Surgery.
BAPS has indeed been the big brother they promised to be. They have nurtured our growth steadily by offering us the support of training opportunities for our residents and young specialists through training and conference fellowships such as the Greenwood and Lister Fellowships and no doubt our Education Secretary Prof. Dan Poenaru will give more details.
BAPS has also given us the opportunity of exposure on PAPSA to other bodies such as the European Paediatric Surgical Association (EUPSA) through the international forum. We thank all the ‘big brothers whose personal funding contributions have made all this possible. Thank you for being such good and committed friends of African Paediatric Surgery.
We are grateful and look forward to a stronger collaboration down the years.
WORLD FEDERATION OF ASSOCIATIONS OF PEDIATRIC SURGERY (WOFAPS)
The Association has continued the corporate membership of WOFAPs over the four years. Lack of funding has however hampered our full involvement and I have no doubt my successor will continue with these links and possibly foster others.
After the last congress we promised a wider variety of workshops and I am happy to report that this has happened in Dar with the BAPS- Paediatric surgical skills workshop, the Neurosurgery workshop and the laparoscopic skills workshops.
We are yet to fine tune the holding of workshops outside of PAPSA congresses. I urge that we seriously consider increasing the registration fees for our congresses to make them more realistic in order to ease the burden of organization for the local organizing committees. I do hope the Finance committee will have some proposals to make for the consideration of the AGM.
This Congress is witnessing the Inaugural Heinz Rode Lecture in honour of one the giants of Paediatric surgery on the continent. We are honoured that Prof David Drake, Past President of BAPS and one of the very good friends of PAPSA has very graciously agreed to be our inaugural lecturer. Thank you.
This is an area where we experienced considerable challenges and we do apologize sincerely for the inconvenience and difficulties posed especially in the run-up to this congress. Thankfully the website I am informed is now up and running. Prof Essalaby , the Executive Secretary/Treasurer will report on this.
This area continues to be the Achilles heel of the Association. We need to find novel ways of improving our finances. We have to find ways of having our congresses raise enough funds so as to sustain us in between congresses and for our other activities. We have to think up ways of centralizing a Secretariat so as to help us open an account for the Association.
The South African Association of Paediatric Surgery deserves special commendation as they have contributed some seed money for every congress in the last 4 years and we are very grateful to them as the continental ‘big brothers’. This year, the Kenyan Association of Paediatric Surgery (KAPS) and the Ghana Association of Paediatric Surgery (GAPS) have also made some contributions of 20% of agreed surpluses from Congresses as agreed by the Executive Committee.
All in all this has been a challenging but satisfying four years as your President. As PAPSA, we have taken some steps forward but there is still much to be done and I pray success for the incoming executive as they continue to move PAPSA forward. There is much more to be done in research coming out of the continent.
We need to continue to work on and make recommendations and guidelines for training on the continent. Our membership constitutes the trainers who in turn determine country policies. Let us use this more effectively to unify the training.
Thank you all for your support and I wish to thank the LOC under the able leadership of Dr Petronilla Ngiloi and her Tanzanian Surgical Association colleagues who have worked so hard in order for us to have this excellent Congress.
Long live PAPSA!! Long live Africa!! Long live Paediatric Surgery!!!