Unlike in the previous years, this year with the challenges posed by the COVID pandemic, ASN had to adopt a new strategy to maintain and promote its main objectives, especially regarding the conduct of CME activities. Instead of the usual physical meetings, ASN launched 3 series of webinars targeting different groups. The main webinar series was drawn up to cover 34 key topics in neurology and was pitched to the level of medical officers, general practitioners and registrars in medicine. Through these webinars ASN was able to reach out to all the neurology and medical units scattered throughout the country to update and enhance the neurology knowledge of medical officers, which was not possible for CME in the past. The second webinar series was conducted in collaboration with the Sri Lanka College of Paediatricians in which 8 important paediatric neurology topics were covered. The third was a series for ASN members titled “Midweek NeuroBites by ASN” covering advanced neurological and non-neurological topics of interest.
‘Improving neurology care through introspection’ was selected as the theme for 2020 and based on this theme it was decided that we try to focus inwards to see how we can further improve patientcare provided as specialists in neurology.
Guided by this theme, we embarked on several ambitious projects such as compiling a neurology handbook for medical officers attached to neurology units, a neurology drug formulary and initiating a dialogue on ASN guidelines and registries. Plans are also underway to conduct an Interfaculty Neuro Quiz in 2021 for medical students.
In addition, two coffee table books titled ‘History of Neurology in Sri Lanka’ and ‘The Association of Sri Lankan Neurologists – the first 15 years’ are being compiled.
Since physical meetings were limited, we wish to organize several outings to encourage fellowship among our members, the first of which will be a retreat to discuss the progress of the projects we have started this year. The Young Neurologists Forum (YNF) will also be conducted this year in addition to SYNAPSE and the Congress on Neurological Controversies (NeuCon).
As in the past, ASN awarded two research grants of Rs 500,000 each to promote research in Neurology. Since overseas travel was not possible this year, instead of the usual two travel grants ASN offered a subsidy for the Associate Members who wished to obtain AAN junior membership.
The ASN website which is the main portal connecting the ASN with the rest of the world will also get two additional components this year with a section for the public with patient educational material and another section dedicated to medical students, trainees and medical officers in neurology wards with a collection of clinical resources.
The ASN 14th Annual Academic Sessions scheduled for February 2021 will be the highlight of the academic calendar. We hope to have the 2021 annual sessions as a hybrid meeting with virtual participation by overseas speakers and physical participation by Sri Lankan speakers. The 2-day programme will include plenary lectures, themed symposia, free paper presentations and a quiz. Further details of the 14th Annual Academic Sessions will be made available in the ASN conference website soon.
I warmly invite all those visiting our website to participate and be part of the ASN activities during the year.