January 1, 2006 marked a very important day in my life as I assumed the Presidency of the IFCC. I am both delighted by the opportunity and awed by the responsibility. I follow many successful Past Presidents.
My major goals are to keep constant or to improve upon the very important current scientific activities and to work diligently on improving the quality of laboratory results worldwide. This is a critical effort in order that patients are diagnosed correctly and treated appropriately. There are many laboratories in developing nations that do not use quality control materials to ensure accuracy of results. Some developing, and even some developed, nations have no accreditation program. It is clearly impossible to solve all of these problems during my tenure as President, but with the help of my colleagues in the IFCC I expect to develop programs to effect some positive changes. Dr. Thomas Whitehead, who sadly died recently, was a pioneer in these areas. He set up quality control programs in Mexico and Thailand. I hope to expand on his important work.
As we are all aware, several natural disasters have occurred recently. These include the tsunamis in Asia, hurricanes Katrina and Rita in the United States, mudslides in Guatemala, and earthquakes in Pakistan and India. Disasters such as these are accompanied by disease and nutritional challenges. In addition, there are major pandemics that are occurring, such as SARS, Avian flu and the ongoing scourge of HIV infections. In the case of SARS, laboratories in Australia and Asia responded quickly to bring appropriate testing to affected areas. As a global federation in laboratory medicine, we need to be prepared to help in the appropriate testing for AIDS and assisting local laboratories in achieving high standards. Sometimes, all that may be necessary is to develop connections to other areas in the world that need assistance.
Communication is always considered to be an issue in any business, whether it is in industry or in a hospital. Communication, by definition, is a two-way process. In the IFCC, we must work hard to achieve this. I will commit to making sure that National Representatives, Presidents of our Member Associations and Societies and our corporate partners are kept informed of what the IFCC is doing. I invite all of you to communicate with members of our Executive Board and our Divisions.
During my first year in office, I plan to develop a set of goals with the Executive Board, and I will communicate these to all members of the IFCC. I hope to have feedback from all of you. I have an excellent Board with which to work; we represent all parts of the world. The Past President is Austrian, the Vice President is from the Czech Republic, the Secretary is from Finland, the Treasurer is a Syrian, the Corporate Member is from Germany, and the three At-Large members are from Argentina, Malaysia and the United Kingdom.
I wish everyone a healthy and successful 2006.