President’s Message October 2020

On October 10th we acknowledged RUOK day. However, we are all encouraged to think about asking this question as often as we can, especially here in Victoria where we have all faced personal and professional challenges.  October 12th hosts the International Day of the Girl Child and in recognition of this, I selected the circular pictorial to share with you all which I hope you will download and keep as a screen saver on some device or share with your daughters and friends:

Our VMWS AGM was hosted very successfully via Zoom on 17th October and we had a large attendance. It is officially the last AGM for VMWS that I will host. However, with the increased work load we have had to deal with, our communication with members for committee positions has been extended until the 31st of October. I invite those who have been observing  our activities from a distance to step up and take a committee position. Please download a nomination form here and contact our VMWS secretary at vic@afmw.org.au. We would love to have your join our committee.

On October 10th,  the Western Pacific MWIA  Scientific Symposium was hosted by Korea using  Zoom and I had the privilege of  representing AFMW, on the topic of the Australian Response to COVID-19. My talk looked at issues around Federal and State Government decisions and their impact on outcomes for the health of women during this pandemic, in the Australian context. Of course, the Victorian experience is the worst to date and the most disparate to the rest of the nation which is why this angle was chosen. It was an incredible honour to hear our Asian sisters present eloquently in English despite it not being their native tongue. Taiwan’s response was most interesting to me. The Taiwanese Medical Women’s President outlined that the success of their response could be attributed to their immediate decision to impose border controls upon receiving news of the epidemic in Wuhan, back in January 2020. They did not wait for the WHO pandemic announcement, but chose their own plan of action based upon their understanding of epidemiology and their experience of SARS-1 in 2003. They tested all overseas travellers on board the flights, separated them, used GPS tracking to track them, and despite having few testing kits (as all were being used in Wuhan), wore full PPE in all face-to-face contact with patients and face masks were mandatory in public. To date, Taiwan with a total population of 24million people, has had a total of 544 cases, and 7 deaths. They have had a plan in place for years which involved quarantine, contact tracing, and availability of masks.  A model which could and probably should be followed.

I hope you enjoy our ongoing monthly newsletters and I will continue to make the occasional contribution to update you of the AFMW and MWIA activities.

Dr Magdalena Simonis

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Magdalena Simonis