Dear Colleagues and Friends,
It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to the 2022 SNSA congress!
This event comes after two rather eventful and sombre years. As you will recall, 2020 marked the 50th year of our existence and we had planned a major celebration of this milestone in a joint meeting with our Australian compatriots. Unfortunately, that had to be cancelled as the COVID pandemic took its grip on the world.
We were able to go ahead with a virtual meeting last year, which exceeded our most optimistic expectations in both the scientific quality as well as in turning a profit for our association. This was no mean feat, and we can pat ourselves on our collective backs for that!
This year, after this two-year hiatus, we shall be holding an in-person meeting once again. The congress will be preceded by workshops dedicated to some of the key areas of our practice and we are in the process of assembling top notch international speakers, most of whom will be here in person, with a few joining virtually, to share their expertise with us. Watch this space for further announcements in this vein, and I can assure you that you will not be disappointed.
The educational committee of our association, headed by Prof Padayachy, Dr Harrichandparsad and Dr Enslin have done a sterling job in organizing our scientific webinars. These have been tremendously well received and it is commonplace to come across colleagues and registrars watching reruns of past editions downloaded from our website. This effort has, I think one can safely say, been the most effective contribution that we have ever made in the dissemination of knowledge, and with the offerings that are planned for the rest of this year, the sky is the limit to what we can achieve with this exercise. SNSA will ensure that this continues in perpetuity.
The 18th World Congress of the World Federation of Neurological Surgeons (WFNS) is coming to this continent for the first-time towards the end of next year. Set to be hosted in Cape Town, this organization is the sole true representative of neurosurgeons across the world and the honour that has been bestowed on us in trusting us to host it is beyond measure. Prof Fieggen who will be the congress President led our delegation to the 17th World congress in Bogota, Colombia. They were very well received and flew the flag for next year’s meeting as well as made important connections that will come in handy.
One is tempted to think that the worst of the COVID epidemic is behind us. Only time will tell, but the relatively high number of infections in other parts of the world not accompanied by equally high hospitalizations and death rates must mean that something right is happening, be it vaccinations or herd immunity or simply loss of virulence on the part of the virus. We hope this will be borne out here as well and the anticipated fifth wave will not amount to much. This will allow full resumption of a normal way of living, especially free travel which is central to our professional and private lives.
Finally, it would be very remiss of me, in concluding, not to make a comment on the situation in Europe. Perhaps the most important thing that history teaches is that history teaches nothing at all, and we are condemned to repeat our mistakes. The powerfully evocative images coming out of Ukraine are reminiscent of 1939, a period which we never thought we would return to. One hopes that sense prevails and that international opprobrium to its behaviour reigns in the wild ambitions of Russia and its deranged leader. The alternative is too ghastly to consider, as, if this situation spirals out of control, it has the potential to engulf much of the world in chaos and anarchy and set us further back in our quest to deliver safe neurosurgery for all, here and everywhere. Let us hope.
Prof John Ouma, President, SNSA
Patrick Lekgwara, Chairman, SNSA 2022 Congress