“Matakot ka sa COVID-19, huwag sa bakuna.”
This was the bold statement of Dr. Benito Atienza, President of the Philippine Medical Association (PMA) and vaccine advocate.
With the reality of the increasing cases of COVID-19 in the country, coupled with the gradual roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines, Dr. Atienza is one of the many who believe that nowadays, access to reliable and scientific-based information is more important than ever.
It is for this reason that the PMA launched its theme, “Working Together as One,” as a testament to its mission to serve as an authoritative source of information in the practice of medicine.
“Success is easier achieved if we work together as one to contain the COVID-19 pandemic,” he emphasizes. “We must work together to find ways for all the healthcare workers to be one in the management of this virus.”
To commemorate this theme, and to simultaneously recognize the strong role healthcare workers play in the containment of the pandemic, the Philippine Medical Association will virtually hold its 114th Annual Convention and Scientific Meetings, entitled “PMA Ngayon at Kailanman, Matatag sa Pagsubok ng Pandemya” on June 20-23, 2021.
Throughout the years, the main objective of the convention has been to update PMA members on current trends on the diagnosis and management of common and emerging diseases.
This year, the meeting will place special focus on the COVID-19 pandemic, with emphasis on the prevention, control and management of this disease.
Several speakers are lined up to present in this year’s PMA Convention, including experts from the Department of Health (DOH), the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC), and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).
The convention’s topics will notably include the system of rolling out COVID vaccines for health workers, topics on environmental sanitation, and eco-hospitals, among others.
Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Edsel Salvana will give the keynote address at the event.
The three-day event will also feature “Galaw-Galaw Pilipinas Laban in coordination with FitFil Coaches Toni and Jim Saret to encourage movement at the time of lockdown through a 4-minute exercise.
There will also be a General Assembly for the PMA leaders where resolutions passed during the current term will be reviewed and the 2021-22 budget will be approved.
On the last day of the convention, an awarding ceremony will be held for outstanding achievements for component societies and individual doctors. The Icasiano Award will be announced together with the Fe Del Mundo Memorial Awards for Outstanding School Community Project.
Likewise, Dr. JP Rizal Memorial Lecture and Awards will be granted for the following categories: Clinical Practice, Government Service, Community Service, and Academe and Research.
A fellowship night is also slated, with a special closing ceremony for the induction of incoming officers and all Presidents of 119 component societies of the PMA.
The organization is expecting 5,000 to 8,000 delegates to attend this year’s event.
Dr. Atienza believes that this year’s PMA convention will be a venue to remind members and attendees that we need to work as one to remain strong amidst the challenges of the current pandemic.
Efforts to achieve the goal to vaccinate 70% of the population to achieve herd immunity are also continually carried out in collaboration with organizations namely the Philippine Foundation for Vaccination (PFV), Philippine Academy of Family Physicians (PAFP), Philippine Pediatric Society (PPS), Association of Municipal Health Officers (AMHO), and the Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines (PHAP).
A message of hope
“On behalf of the Philippine Medical Association and the National Officers and Board of Governors of our organization, we are very grateful to all the front liners, especially those who sacrificed their lives for the sake of seeing their patients and for serving their community,” said Dr. Atienza.
He added that the PMA is dedicating the upcoming event to the health workers who continue to work to protect every Filipino amidst this global pandemic.
”It’s been a tough time for all of us, especially with the one-year mark of the COVID-19 pandemic, and so we hope that through this year’s convention, we can help empower and inspire. The goal is to have all of us armed with the scientific-based information we need through the series of lectures given by experts. We’re also very excited for you to acquire new experiences through our 360-degree platform for our convention, so we hope that all of you will participate in this endeavor. See you on June 20!”