Ronald Reagan once said “We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone”.
Outreach is and should form a very important part of the vision and the responsibilities of the South African Orthopaedic Association as well as every member of the SAOA. It can take place in our rooms or hospital settings, in our communities, to rural and underserved areas where there is a huge need, and to other parts of Southern Africa, Africa and the rest of the world. With statistics like 0.37 Orthopaedic surgeons per 100 000 of the population in the public sector and areas in South Africa in dire need of basic Orthopaedic services, our biggest priority should obviously lie in our own country
Outreach has many faces and can entail helping a needy patient in your practice, doing a session at a nearby public hospital, teaching and sharing knowledge, training and instructional courses and projects where patients are helped, treated and followed up, to name but a few.
In 2015 Prof. Lukhele summarized some of the outreach projects that were taking place in South Africa at that time. It was wonderful to see the amount of activities and projects that were going on and the involvement of our members in such. It was also heartwarming to see the willingness of our members to help during the recent crisis in Umtata.
It is my vision to create more structure to Orthopaedic Outreach in this country, to have a platform where members (and the industry, public etc.) can see what’s happening, get help where needed and participate where they can and want to. This entails establishing a subcommittee on outreach, publishing the information on our website, reporting back yearly at the annual general meeting and communicating details to our members and stakeholders, as well as talks at our yearly congress. ADRIAAN VAN ZYL