PRESS RELEASE ISSUED BY THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT: Speech by the President of Malta Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca at Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Malta

Dear Professor Angela Xuereb Anastasi

Dear Faculty members,

Dear students,

First of all, I would like to thank Profs Xuereb Anastasi, Dean of this essential Faculty for Health Sciences within the University of Malta.

It is truly a pleasure to join you and share some of my thoughts with you from a lay person’s perspective about your important choice of being a professional within the caring sector.

I must express my deep appreciation for the opportunity to visit your laboratories earlier today.

I must also note, my deep satisfaction, to see some of you, at work.

I must confess that this experience gave me, a sense of pride seeing so many young people, working in earnest and commitment, towards achieving your lifetime aspirations.

It is always so very encouraging to witness young people who are committed to their chosen professions, and I hope that you shall continue to maintain the passion and the enthusiasm throughout your academic years ahead.

As allied health professionals, you will be delivering crucial services to the benefit of the people of these islands.

Many a time, allied health practitioners, often work behind the scenes, to provide the quality health care that is delivered in this country.

Without the essential input of our health professionals, as you aspire to be, and as a country that can boast of a thorough health system, we will not be able to provide the many crucial health services that we actually manage to deliver.

Indeed, allied health practitioners complete the health care team, to ensure that the wellbeing of individuals, families, and communities always remains our first priority.

As a country we can be proud of having a tried and tested, strong health care system. In my opinion, for our health care system to grow further, we need to continue to consolidate the necessary synergies between the various caring, medical and social disciplines.

In order to deliver these necessary services, I encourage you, even while you are still students, to be aware of the great opportunities that synergies can bring to your professions and the people you serve.

It is vital for different practitioners to find innovative ways for mutual support and collaboration with their peers.

I believe that, even at this stage of your studies, you must foster greater multi-, trans, and interdisciplinary perspectives, which shall be of benefit throughout your training, and later, throughout your professional life.

Please do seek out opportunities, to discover how you can work alongside your colleagues, in the knowledge that a powerful team of dedicated professionals, who are all united in the pursuit of one common goal, is the best way forward for health care in Malta.

Undoubtedly, an inclusive approach to teamwork shall strengthen your abilities to offer higher quality, and more efficient and effective, health care.

As students you have the opportunity to come together, throughout your studies, to build this essential culture of teamwork.

I am sure that this focus on collaboration is already supported, and will be increasingly encouraged, within the faculty and across the University of Malta.

Our goal must be the provision of co-ordinated systems of holistic and integrated care.

To achieve this objective, we must nurture collaborative environments in which allied health professionals and others are able to unite their efforts and expertise.

Your choice to pursue studies in the allied health sector is more than simply a choice to pursue a profession.

It is a vocation to ensure the wellbeing of others, and to contribute to the greater good of society in the Maltese islands, or wherever you might decide to pursue your aspirations.

Once again, I encourage you all to explore ways of working together; of sharing your learning; and of building new partnerships.

Remember that when you provide your specialized services, I hope that you shall always do so with the underlying knowledge that you are treating and caring for individuals and their families in the wholeness of their personhood.

The upgrading of patient wellbeing to a mind-set where holistic approaches become the norm, and assure the dignity of each and every individual, is a vital step in the evolution of heath care.

In conclusion, I would also like to remind you that your life as University students is also about being active citizens.

Hence, I augur you an interesting experience on campus, as activists now, preparing to be active leaders of our country tomorrow.

Finally, let me wish you all a rewarding year ahead, and every success for your future.

Source: Government of Malta.