Dear MARNMP members,
I hope you all had a good Christmas and good end of year 2020. We start the year 2021 with cautious hope, as COVID vaccine starts being administered to hospital staff and vulnerable elderly people.
In 2020, we learned how to live with the covid-19 pandemic. There's little doubt that we have to keep up our skills, at least for the first half of 2021, as greater swaths of the population get vaccinated. The vaccine, coupled with all our efforts so far, is our best tool against pushing back the parvasive spread of covid 19. It still remains hard to predict the outcome, as there are many factors at play, including vaccine acceptance by the public and viral mutation and resistance. A year ago we were still numb after the festive season, watching and reading news of the covid 19 epidemic in China. Most of us believed that, like Sars in 2002 and 2003, this was a problem of the far east and that it was unlikely to spread to the western world and cause significant disruption. When early signs of such spread occurred in the last week of February 2020, and when WHO declared a world wide pandemic in first half of March 2020, we were cought largely unprepared to face such a pandemic. Although still in the thick of it, we are now in a much better situation. We have better understanding of the dynamics of viral spread. We also understand the pathophysiology of covid 19 disease a lot better. Public health measures have been optimized. We have made substantial changes to our lifestyle and work practice to mitigate the pandemic. And we now have a vaccine. It's still an unfinished story, but the odds are slowly shifting in our favor.
Radiology has not been immune to the effects of covid 19. Like everyone else, our initial response was to shut down services, bar emergency ones. We learned as we went along and took on new practices like the routine use of PPEs, social distancing, remote working, and remote teaching and learning. We modified our daily lives in order to return to as normal a service provision can be during a pandemic. I think we have been successful. And by a big margin. Our ability to adapt was remarkable. We all miss the normal daily professional person to person interaction, like departmental meetings and discussions over a coffee perhaps. It's human nature. But we can't underestimate the importance that technology has played in our adaptation over the past months. The technology was there and we embraced it to keep the grist to the mill. We have applied technology to good effect in providing remote reporting services, and to run intra departmental as well as inter departmental multidisciplinary meetings. We have kept our education activities going with online teaching at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. We have attended international webinars and courses online. And we have attracted international board certifying examinations to our shores using web based facilities. None of this would have been possible without our goodwill, team work, and cooperation with colleagues, both within and outside our institution. We should be proud of what we have achieved.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all and to wish you and your families a happy New Year 2021.
President of the Maltese Association of Radiologists and Nuclear Medicine Physicians.