Albert Schweizer, a great man and a physician who served for many years in Africa in the 20th century, was right in saying : “Seek always to do some good, somewhere. Every person has to seek in his or her own way to realize his or her true worth. You must give some time to your fellow human beings. For remember, you don’t live in a world all your own. Your brothers and sisters are here, too.”
This is the way I see my role in the World Association in Perinatal Medicine, an organization whose aim is to work on:
a) promoting and disseminating the study, research and knowledge of all aspects of perinatal medicine, in order to attain a higher level of physical and mental health for women, mothers, and their fetal patients and children by improving the quality and provision of perinatal care throughout the world;
b) contributing to the improvement of teaching standards in the profession;
c) proposing guidelines for auditing, evaluation, and clinical care in perinatal medicine;
d) fostering collaboration between the various disciplines interested in perinatal care as well as friendship between individuals from different countries.
From the point of view of perinatal health, the most challenging problem the world has been facing in the last decades is severe inequity which results in high rates of maternal and infant mortality. This issue was recognized by the World Health Organization and many other organizations in the world and led to the launch of Millennium Development Goals. We, who come from the part of the world with organized societies, accessible and available health care and social services, do not pay enough attention to those in poor countries who are suffering and dying because of their poverty. We should ask ourselves how many health problems have been solved in Africa from Schweizer’s times until today. Not many. Therefore we, as WAPM, should act more vigorously and efficiently to make the developed world aware of the existing unsolved issues in perinatal medicine in the developing countries. Not many individuals in the history of mankind could play a role of a doctor and a surgeon in the hospital, a pastor of a congregation, an administrator of a village, a superintendent of buildings and grounds, a writer of scholarly books, a commentator on contemporary history, a musician, as Schweitzer did. Therefore, we should join together with Matres Mundi, Ian Donald School of Ultrasound, Fetus as a Patient Society and many others who are willing to serve for a better world and better perinatal medicine accessible to all who are in need. I am convinced that the time has come where the ideal of success should be replaced with the ideal of service, as Albert Einstein used to say.
Milan Stanojevic, MD, PhD
President of WAPM