The Director of the World Health Organisation Dr Mike Ryan will be speaking at NUI Galway today and tomorrow about the impact of COVID-19 on other diseases, healthcare and disease control.
Dr Ryan will join Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly and medical specialists for the University’s annual Sir Peter Freyer Symposium, one of the largest surgical conferences in Ireland.
Dr Ryan will deliver the Memorial Lecture entitled Impact of Covid-19 on other Diseases, Health Service Delivery and Disease Control Objectives, while Minister Donnelly will give a talk on Cancer Care in Difficult Times – the Implication for Government.
Ahead of the symposium Dr Ryan, who studied at NUI Galway, said that COVID-19 has exposed deficiencies in healthcare systems.
“There are huge treatment delays and the capacity for urgent cancer referrals has been significantly reduced,” said Dr Ryan.
“I am delighted to return to my Alma Mater to deliver this prestigious Memorial Lecture which I hope will clarify the impact of this pandemic and convey some important directions on our future from a WHO perspective.”
The NUI Galway symposium, first held in 1975, is organised by Professor Michael Kerin, Professor of Surgery at NUI Galway and Director of the Managed Cancer Clinical and Academic Network at Saolta.
Professor Kerin said cancer is the pandemic that we have been living with for generations.
He said that one in two people will suffer with cancer and one in three will die from it, and by 2040, cancer rates across the world are projected to double.
“Galway University Hospital coordinates cancer care across a regional network involving the affiliated university hospitals in the Saolta hospitals group,” said Professor Kerin.
“It is the cancer centre for the largest geographical area, spanning the entire west and north-west of Ireland.
“Now, more than ever, the people across these regions deserve a state-of-the-art cancer centre, with an amalgamated research, innovation and teaching hub.
“This virtual symposium will feature cancer care with particular emphasis on the implications of the European cancer mission and the Covid pandemic for Ireland, especially in the west of Ireland which is the most westerly cancer region in Europe and has some of the worst outcomes.
“The symposium represents all that is best in Irish surgery, with representatives from our leading hospital and university nationally.”