The Malta Independent 20 January 2020, Monday

President calls for promotion of healthier lifestyles, measures highlighting unhealthy foods

Albert Galea Friday, 18 October 2019, 13:10 Last update: about 4 months ago

President George Vella on Friday spoke of the need for Maltese to follow a healthier lifestyle, and called for more pressure for measures which highlight unhealthy foods.

Addressing a packed auditorium at Mater Dei Hospital at the launch of the Maltese Cardiac Society Conference 2019, Vella, himself a doctor, praised the multicultural approach to science and medicine that the conference was taking.  He noted that while there has been a decrease in deaths related to cardiovascular diseases, they still remain the leading causes of death.


He recalled moments from his own medical career, speaking of how he witnessed open heart surgery for the first time in 1962 in Berlin and of how he met Professor Christiaan Barnard, who performed the first ever heart transplant in 1967. More recently, he recalled when he himself needed treatment from cardiologists, when he was taken ill in Beijing in 2015 and was later operated on in Malta.

He said that cardiology has come a long way, and noted that patients should be grateful for the maximisation of new materials and sophisticated technologies; “what was futuristic not so many years ago has now become common practice”, he said.

Vella lamented that not many Maltese were aware of the need for a healthy lifestyle, and called on medical professionals to put pressure on the government to guard against food which is labelled as being healthy but which in actual fact isn’t.

He noted with satisfaction the emphasis that was being given on the role of the family doctor, adding that this person is usually the first contact in cardiac emergencies and thus needs to be fully prepared. 

He augured for the conference to be a fruitful one, and noted that it is an excellent platform for all to exchange and disseminate ideas.

President of the Maltese Cardiac Society Robert G. Xuereb explained that the summit will see 19 international speakers from countries ranging from the UK to Lebanon, Japan, and Morocco.

36 research abstracts were chosen for exhibition while two oral abstract sessions, and two moderated poster abstract sessions will also held.  At a public awareness level, an open day will be held during the conference while the Malta Medical Students Association (MMSA) will also be participating with quite a degree of prominence.

On-site screenings will be held, while, for the first time, the society will also be organising a fun run and a fun walk in order to promote a healthy and active lifestyle.

The subjects which will be dealt with throughout the conference are wide-reaching, and pertain to a variety of subject matters related to cardiology, with sessions being done for allied health professionals and also for family physicians, and another being conducted by a team from London Barts Heart Centre.

A key-note lecture will be given by Gauden Galea, the WHO representative for China, titled Artificial Intelligence, public health, and cardiology: prospects and challenges. Other highlights of the conference include early intervention in valve disease, novel concepts in atrial fibrillation, renal denervation, heart failure and the kidneys, and ECG interpretation with the experts.

At the launch of the conference, Dr. Oscar Aquilina was also presented with the Maltese Cardiac Society Award for 2019.


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