This issue of O&G Magazine concentrates on the topic of preterm birth, an obstetric and neonatal circumstance that remains a leading cause of neonatal morbidity and mortality.
The impact on the neonate, parents and the medical system is significant, affecting physical and emotional health and imposing a huge financial and workforce burden on society. The causes are multifactorial and, mostly, unknown. The quest to understand the aetiology and develop screening, diagnostic and treatment strategies is covered in depth in this issue and I would like to express my admiration and appreciation to the authors, researchers and clinicians who continue to pursue this obstetric Holy Grail.
After a wonderful summer of beaches, books, movies and time relaxing, Australia and New Zealand return to work! The College enjoyed a brief respite and the staff, Board and President are now back in full swing. The year ahead will be a busy one with business as usual – training, exams, CPD, some necessary compliance and revision; namely, AMC accreditation, continuing the implementation of the new Cervical Screening Program with the National Cervical Screening Register (NCSR) and an extensive review of the hospital training accreditation system. There are also some exciting new opportunities, with RANZCOG awarded a contract by the Department of Health to develop an Australian clinical practice guideline for the diagnosis and management of endometriosis in line with the National Action Plan for Endometriosis 2018. It is anticipated that the project will be for a duration of two years and the funding received for the project is $457,600.
In 2021, Australia and New Zealand will host the world at the FIGO conference in Sydney. The local organising committee has been appointed and Immediate Past President, Professor Steve Robson, has accepted the role of Chair. We met with FIGO in Sydney, toured the International Convention Centre and had preliminary discussions about the scientific and social program. The aim is to attract 7000 delegates to Sydney, an opportunity for RANZCOG to host our colleagues, showcase our leading clinical and research abilities and discuss our challenges, with a focus on Indigenous and Pacific region health. The College will be keeping our members up to date as we progress rapidly towards October 2021.
RANZCOG has always enjoyed excellent relationships with obstetric and gynaecological colleges and societies around the world. We are active members of AOFOG, the Asia & Oceania Federation of Obstetrics & Gynaecology. In this spirit, the RANZCOG Board has agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Kolegium Obstetri Dan Ginekologi Indonesia (Indonesian College of Obstetrics & Gynecology) in Bali in May 2019. To our knowledge, this is the first MoU between our two Colleges. This offers RANZCOG many opportunities to work with our closest neighbour and, I hope, will be the beginning of renewed partnerships and friendship with other countries in the region. I am indebted to Prof John Svigos for facilitating the dialogue with the Indonesians and bringing the MoU to fruition.
For most of you, your daily work does not involve meetings with government, local and international meetings with stakeholders and consideration of what may seem esoteric issues. Your work is in research and writing papers, teaching medical students and training registrars, caring for women and their families with skill and compassion. As members of RANZCOG, you are also part of a broader picture, not necessarily a more important one, but one where we have the opportunity to implement change on a macro scale. I encourage you to remain engaged with the College’s work and take ownership. Be confident that your opinions and contribution are highly sought and valued.
Finally, in 2019, we welcome our incoming CEO, Vase Jovanoska, and wish her success and happiness as she joins the RANZCOG family. I would like to publicly express my gratitude to Brendan Grabau, who has guided the College as Acting CEO in the interval between appointments. To all of you, Fellows, Diplomates, trainees, PVOGS and staff, my thanks for your support as this new President starts to lose his training wheels and I look forward to working closely with you in the year ahead.