Dear Colleagues and Friends,
Of all the lessons learned last year, perhaps the hardest was realising how poor we are at predicting the future- especially when it comes to COVID-19! Although 2021 has brought some good news with vaccination of most healthcare workers in South Africa, it is disappointing that the rollout to the rest of our people has not yet started.
This has obvious implications for our annual congress, as it remains uncertain whether our country will face a 3rd wave of the pandemic. The SNSA Exco has been closely tracking the situation in our country, and while we would all look forward to the return of regular in-person meetings, we do not believe we can confidently plan for this to happen in August when we are scheduled to hold our congress.
We have therefore taken the decision to hold our meeting online and have spent considerable time selecting an online platform which will allow a truly interactive experience, providing a high quality scientific and educational event on the theme of Neurosurgery resurgent. Another lesson learnt over the past year is how much well-run online meetings have to offer, and we hope you will find this a thought-provoking and memorable experience.
Many of you have participated in the webinars the society has run over the past year and we will distinguish what we offer at our scientific congress from this outstanding educational program. Our scientific committee, led by Tony Figaji is selecting topics that are of immediate relevance to colleagues in practice in both the private and academic sectors, focusing on cerebrovascular, neuro-oncology and spine, and as always we welcome input from our members as to what you would find interesting.
The local organising committee, led by Patrick Lekgwara, worked hard to find a suitable venue last year, and have had to do it all again this year amidst great uncertainty, and I want to pay tribute to them for their efforts on our behalf. It hurt to cancel our congress last year as it was our 50th birthday, and we planned to celebrate this in style with our friends from Down Under in a Neurosurgery Championship. Sadly this was not to be, but 2021 marks the start of next 50 years existence which is a great opportunity to look to the future.
Perhaps the most exciting event on the horizon is the 18th World Congress of Neurosurgery which we will host in Cape Town towards the end of 2023. Even the most cautious analysts predict that vaccination coverage should be sufficient by then to allow travel, and we look forward to reuniting friends from around the world on Africa soil.
Our 2021 congress is an important milestone in building towards this once in a lifetime opportunity to host a world congress in our country, and we urge all South African neurosurgeons to be part of this.
As a neurosurgeon, you know that our specialty is one of the most rapidly changing areas of practice with new insights and approaches to an ever-expanding range of conditions that we treat. It is important that we all stay abreast of these changes, while facing a range of bruising challenges such as limited resources and rising costs, reimbursement hurdles and medico-legal hazards.
Getting together every year has helped us stand together in dealing with these opportunities and challenges, allowing us to build a society that meets the needs of our profession. Let’s keep doing that, whatever way we can!
I wish you good health and please stay safe.
|Professor Graham Fieggen
|Professor Patrick Lekgwara
SNSA Annual Meeting Chair 2021
SNSA Executive Committee 2021
Professor Patrick Lekgwara – Congress Chairman
Professor Anthony Figaji – Scientific Chair
Professor Graham Fieggen – Congress President
Professor Allan Taylor – Past President
Professor John Ouma – President Elect
Dr David Roytowski – Treasurer
Dr Gian Marus – Medico-Legal Representative
Dr Rohen Harrichandparsad – Membership
Abstract submission opens
Thursday, 8 July 2021
Abstract submission deadline
Sunday, 29 August 2021
Notification to authors
Tuesday, 14 september 2021
Online registration closes
Friday, 8 October 2021