SCIENCE AND HEALTH SHOULD BECOME NATIONAL PRIORITIES
“Kosova’s independence and freedom without advanced development of science and without health independence is not complete”
The speech of Dr. Rifat Latifi, President of the Kosova College of Surgeons and Editor in Chief of the Kosova Journal of Surgery, on May 5, 2021, given at the Kosova National Library in Prishtina, on the inauguration upon reactivation of the journal.
Dr. Rifat Latifi
Today, on May 5, we are gathered here, in this holy place, in the Kosova National Library, in this place that symbolizes and preserves within the power of the book, the power of knowledge and the beauty of science and the written word. We chose this place today to promote the Kosova Journal Surgery as an official body of the Kosova College of Surgeons and the College of Surgeons of Kosova itself, as an organization and umbrella of all Kosova surgeons around the world, and all Albanian doctors everywhere, to those who were before us, to the surgeons who were before us, to us who are alive today, and to the generations of surgeons who will come after us, centuries later.
This new birth of the journal that was last published in 2012 will be published this year (2021) 2 times, while in the next two years 4 times a year, and then 6 times a year. Each new volume will be a thematic summary dedicated to a surgical problem, by expert authors, original articles created by authors from around the world, and will serve as an open platform for all scientists in Kosova, the region and beyond.
Academic Health System as a National Priority
Academic Medical Centers (AMC) or academic health systems (AHS) have become complex enterprises of health care activity and scientific progress in the world today. Their mission is to provide complex but evidence-based care and up-to-date data, the highest quality clinical care, advanced teaching and education, and innovative scientific research. To ensure the completion of this mission, each AHC should combine teaching hospital(s) with teaching and research programs related to medical schools and other colleges / universities, clinical faculty and in some cases affiliated community physicians, or external associates.
Surgery is the cornerstone of this mega industrial complex and the foundation of every hospital, every healthcare system and every Academic Medical Center or Academic Health System. Surgery is and should be a national priority of every nation, of every state, it is a human priority. There can be no modern hospital without modern surgery; there can be no modern health system without modern and advanced surgery. There can be no modern surgery department without individual surgeons trained to lead the modernization of this process, which ultimately creates the health system. Finally, there is no patient safety and high quality clinical surgical services without a modern department of surgery and a modern hospital.
Like Kosova itself, Kosova surgery is at an important stage of developmental transition. Although, in general, we have made great progress in many areas in Kosova, medicine and science in Kosova, but especially the medical sciences as a whole have been largely ignored, and as I said have not become a national priority. It should not be forgotten that the independence and freedom of Kosova without advanced development of science and without independence of health is not complete and remains crippled. This independence of medicine in Kosova is costing us many lives of our people, it is costing us in the economy, it is costing us the loss of a new brain with great scientific potential, which is leaving Kosova on a dizzying scale. Today, we in Kosova need modern and well-prepared surgeons, we need a modern Department of Surgery, we need modern hospitals, and finally, science needs to be raised in general, but surgery in particular.
Opportunity to create a 100-year strategy
Despite this, and although this is an unenviable situation, and in fact very bad, it presents a great collective opportunity to develop and implement a 100-year scientific strategy.
We desperately need this strategy that requires state, public and individual commitment. We need to create long-term programs, not one-year, not four-year, not for a term of one or another party, but 100-year national programs. These programs must be structured, however not frozen in stone, but ready to be modelled and engraved according to scientific developments, and not destroyed whenever governments change, when ministers change, when political coalitions change. These programs should be led and created by scientific strategists and those who want the best for Kosova and have the skills to see beyond short time chapters.
Science and health should become main priorities of the Government and the state of Kosova. We need to learn from others as it is e.g. the case of Singapore, when in 60s Malaysia refused to recognize it either as its own republic, and many other countries. We need to prepare the human resources that will guide our 100-year strategy.
Kosova College of Surgeons as a transformation platform
- To create sustainable leadership infrastructure, professional support, and optimal spatial, technological, and administrative environment to lead the activities of the College. To publish the Kosova Journal of Surgery as the official journal of the Kosova, College of Surgeons, a journal that in the next 5-7 years will be cited in PubMed, SCOPUS and other search engines; and the College Bulletin starting next year.
- To create its own process of evaluation of studies and scientific research as well as editorial capacities through structured educational programs.
- To build a multi-disciplinary Scientific Research Clinical Center in Kosova, with human academic facilities and capacities;
- Make the College, like the American College, an instrument for accreditation of the quality of surgical services in all hospitals for various surgical disciplines such as trauma, cancer, vascular surgery and other future programs such as transplantation and others for the Ministry of Health .
- Establish advocacy programs and capacities to represent the College in government agencies and in international cooperation relations.
- Create educational programs to support patients and families with surgical diseases to raise health awareness.
- Establish Advanced Quality Enhancement Services and Patient Quality and Safety Programs in all surgical disciplines, in order to improve the quality of care, based on the quality of the American College of Surgeons, and improve programs and safety of the patient; and finally,
- To organize and strengthen the work of the College through about 13 committees. Other working groups and committees will be added as needed, as the College increases its activity and content.
Let me conclude with this call for each of us:
- We surgeons and surgery must be transformed if we are to provide the best possible care to our patients;
- Transform we must, if we are to recruit the best minds in surgery, so we can not only compete and be ready to deal with unpredictable market forces around us, but lead the process of further advancing surgical modernization;
- Transform we must so we can make sure that we innovate, and adopt new technologies;
- Transform we must, in order to initiate new work processes, work and collaborate with partners across all surgical disciplines, basic sciences, surgical industry and government agencies, for the benefit of our patients, our institutions and the future of surgery and surgical science of Kosova, and in order for surgery and science to become a national priority, and that we owe this transformation to the generations to come.
In the end, we should always keep in mind that the surgery itself is and should be the easiest part of what we surgeons do.
(This speech was also published as an article on: http://www.illyria.com/shkenca-dhe-shendetesia-e-kosoves-te-behen-priorittete-kombetare/)