SAAS Presidential Inauguration Speech

I would like to start by first congratulating Jan for having ably guided the South African Arthroplasty Society over the past four years including through the toughest time in living memory in the past year. Who would have thought that a year since the first South African case of COVID-19 that our world would be filled with so much misery and so much despair! COVID-19 has dealt a heavy blow to our profession. Joint arthroplasty has been impacted more than most orthopaedic disciplines. It is at a time like this when we are going through social, emotional and economic turmoil that we gain solace in the fellowship of our Societies.

Today is a special day for diversity in the South African joint replacement scene. As the first black African to be installed in the position of President of SAAS, I fully appreciate the significance of this development. My focus in the next four years will be on strengthening arthroplasty education, increasing adoption of the arthroplasty registry, Surgeon mentorship and equipping the Society to be a resource for arthroplasty billing and coding issues. I want the Society to be accessible to all surgeons that are involved in matters arthroplasty and to serve the arthroplasty needs of all its members.

My predecessors have smoothened my path. I will build upon the annual Edinburgh arthroplasty fellowship by working to secure an additional international fellowship for our young surgeons. I will work to establish a basic skills course for trainee surgeons and I will ensure we continue to hold a successful congress with a high educational content every two years. I will facilitate the establishment of interest groups for the purposes of furthering surgeon education, including in robotic joint surgery and direct anterior approach hip surgery.

The power of national joint registries to inform practice is proven. The arthroplasty society has had variable success over the years in establishing and sustaining a joint registry. We have to continue to take the lead in this venture and I plan to devote a lot of time and energy into realizing the success of the joint registry in whatever guise. I intend to work closely with the South African Orthopaedic Association mentorship program to strengthen the Arthroplasty component of the program, particularly amongst surgeons of color where the need is greatest.

Coding and billing issues are the bane of the life of many orthopaedic surgeons in private practice. Orthopaedic coding and billing by its very nature is extremely complex and we are not always sufficiently knowledgeable to accurately code for procedures without underselling ourselves. I will arrange regular arthroplasty coding and billing tutorials to help us code and
bill with confidence.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am greatly honored to represent you as the President of the South African Arthroplasty Society. I am up to the challenge and my door is open. The theme for my Presidency is “leave no surgeon behind” and I look forward to being of service to the arthroplasty community over the next four years.

Lipalo Mokete
President of SAAS
24 March 2021