Public Health Symposium 2019


Following the success of the first-ever National Public Health Symposium, the Malta Association of Public Health Medicine is embarking on the second edition of the Public Health Symposium.

This year it will be organised on 29th November 2019 at the Southern Auditorium at Mater Dei Hospital.

You can now register for the event at or through the Facebook Event

Detailed Programme

PDF Available here[211KB]

National Public Health Symposium

29th November 2019 – Southern Auditorium – Mater Dei Hospital

13:30-14:00         Registration and light refreshments

14:00-14:15         Opening Plenary

Dr Natasha Azzopardi Muscat – Chair of the Symposium Organising Committee

Dr Kenneth Grech – President Malta Association of Public Health Medicine

H. E. Dr George Vella – President of the Republic of Malta

14:15-14:45         Keynote Presentation – Prof. Stefania Boccia

Full Professor of Hygiene and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine. Section of Hygiene, Institute of Public Health, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (UCSC), Fondazione Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli IRCCS, Rome, Italy

Current and emerging biomedical and digital technologies have great potential to improve healthcare and underpin more efficient and sustainable health systems. These technologies and their applications advance are likely to play an integral role in shaping healthcare and the ways in which citizens manage and optimise their health.  On the other hand, although they are creating new opportunities for the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of disease on an ever more personalised basis, these new technologies bring the potential to broaden the gap between available resources and the healthcare requirements. Focusing on the current and forthcoming applications of the genomics technologies in healthcare, we will discuss the role of the health professionals in shaping the policies for a responsible integration of such technologies in healthcare.

14:45-15:45         Plenary

Moderator – Prof. Charmaine Gauci & Dr Denis Vella Baldacchino

Trend analysis in place of death over the past 20 years in Maltese residents – Tania Cardona – Abstract

Malta’s changing demographics – Projecting Malta’s future health system demands to 2030 – Maya Podesta – Abstract

Sexually transmitted infections testing, risk and needs of men who have sex with men (MSM) in Malta: results from the 2017 European MSM Internet Survey (EMIS) – Maria-Louise Borg – Abstract

The potential economic impact of a sugar-sweetened beverage tax in Malta – Kurt Sant – Abstract

Are commercial food products for infants and young children less than 36 months in Malta healthy? – Lucienne Pace – Abstract

Enhanced surveillance of mosquitoes and vector-borne diseases in the Maltese Islands: Molecular species identification, insecticide resistance monitoring, and risk assessment for vector-borne infections – Tanya Melillo – Abstract

15:45- 16:00       Coffee Break

16:05- 17:05 –    Parallel Sessions 1

TRACK 1 – Health Promotion

Moderator: Dr. Antonella Sammut & Dr. Marika Borg

Venue: C1 (opposite MDH chapel)

Awareness and Knowledge of the Maltese Public on Fluoride – Nicholas Bonnici

Are mothers in Malta taking Folic Acid preconceptionally? – Marika Borg

Mapping out Infant and Young children feeding practices in Malta – Mariella Borg Buontempo

The prevalence of reported allergies in State schools 2018-2019 – Jason Attard

Effectiveness of a 12-week, weekly exercise program – Johann Zarb

Brief interventions for smoking cessation: practices of health care professionals – Joseph Grech  

TRACK 2 – Healthcare Services

Moderator: Dr. John Cachia & Dr. Stephanie Xuereb

Venue: C2 (opposite MDH chapel)           

Opioid Use Disorder Individuals on Methadone Maintenance Treatment versus those Not on Methadone Treatment: A Naturalistic Cross-Sectional Comparative Study of Cognitive Performance – Kristian Sant

Critical Analysis of the Work Practices Surrounding Patient Appointment Scheduling in Mater Dei Hospital’s Obstetrics and Gynaecology Outpatients Clinic – Viktor Cassar          

Establishing the Readiness of the Physiotherapy Profession for Non-Medical Prescribing – Nicholas Attard

The Cancer Patient’s Lived Experience of the Health System in Malta – Christina Galea Curmi

The knowledge and attitudes of persons who participate and do not participate in colorectal cancer screening: A comparative survey – Sylvia Ann Camilleri

Transgender Healthcare: At the intersection between human rights policy and health policy – Alexia Bezzina

TRACK 3 – Infectious Diseases Cases and Outbreaks

Moderator: Dr. Maria Borg & Dr. Tania Cardona

Venue: South Auditorium

An outbreak of Salmonella infantis linked to a Turkish establishment, July 2018, Malta – Graziella Rocco

Investigation of a recurring Norovirus outbreak on a cruise ship, Malta, August-September 2018 – Maria Borg

An increase in the number of Measles cases, in Malta, in 2019 – Graziella Rocco

The risk of malaria re-emergence in Southern Europe: cryptic Plasmodium falciparum malaria case in Malta in 2018 – Tanya Melillo

Two neonatal outbreaks of Bordetella pertussis in Malta, 2019 – Graziella Rocco

Trends of pulmonary and extrapulmonary tuberculosis in Malta over 29 years (1990-2018) and the impact of screening newly arrived migrants to Malta – Tanya Melillo

17:05-17:25         Coffee Break

17:30-18:30         Parallel Sessions 2

TRACK 4 – Non-Communicable Diseases

Moderator: Dr. Daniel Cauchi & Mr. Joseph Grech

Venue: C1 (opposite MDH chapel)           

Conducting a national representative cross-sectional study with limited resources – lessons learnt – Sarah Cuschieri               

Food Innovation and Reformulation for a healthier Malta- A Legal Approach – Cherise Ellul

Adherence to the Mediterranean Dietary Pattern among University Students – Yasmine Treki

The Maltese epidemic – Type 2 diabetes mellitus – Sarah Cuschieri

Targeting childhood obesity in Malta – Marika Borg

The Maltese specific high-risk diabetes characteristics – Sarah Cuschieri  

TRACK 5 – Digital Health

Moderator: Prof. Sandra Buttigieg & Dr. Jason Attard

Venue: C2 (opposite MDH chapel)

Analysing the impact of a digital intervention at the Infectious Diseases Control Unit over a 4-year period – Stefan Buttigieg

Investigating the Uptake of Artificial Intelligence in Malta’s public healthcare system; A Public Policy Analysis – Rebecca Degiorgio

Bridging the Digital Divide: how a low-tech intervention led to rapid myHealth uptake – Stefan Buttigieg  – Abstract

Review of Female Health Apps in Maltese App Stores – Angelika Biernacka Buttigieg

TRACK 6 – Epidemiology & Infectious Diseases

Moderator: Dr Tanya Melillo & Dr Amanda Bugeja

Venue: South Auditorium

To Assess Influenza and Pneumococcal Vaccination Rates in Medical Inpatients – Bernice Farrugia

Beyond the assumption; disabled women’s sexual health – Clare Azzopardi Lane

Should public health guidelines for migrant screening in the EU be revised? First detection of Hyalomma rufipes in a recently arrived migrant to Malta – Raquel Medialdea Carrera

A One Health response to the threat of Antimicrobial Resistance in Malta – Maya Podesta – Abstract

The Acquisition of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus in the General Maltese Hospital, between January-April, 2016. – Graziella Rocco

18:35- 18:55       Closing Plenary

Moderator – Dr. Sascha Reiff

Panel: Dr. Denis Vella Baldacchino, Prof. Charmaine Gauci, Prof. Stefania Boccia, Dr. Kenneth Grech

18:55- 19:00 – Closure of Symposium

Dr. Kenneth Grech – President Malta Association of Public Health Medicine

Symposium Organising Committee: Dr. Natasha Azzopardi Muscat (Chair), Dr. Tanya Melillo Fenech, Dr. Sascha Reiff, Dr. Jason Attard, Dr. Stefan Buttigieg, Mr. Joseph Grech, Dr. Marika Borg, Dr. Tania Cardona

Scientific Committee: Dr. Tanya Melillo Fenech, Dr. John Cachia, Dr. Miriam Azzopardi, Dr. Jason Attard, Dr. Annalise Borg

Rapporteurs: Dr. Charmaine Zahra and Dr. Norman Galea

This symposium has been funded by the Small Initiatives Support Scheme (SIS) managed by the Malta Council for the Voluntary Sector (MCVS). The presentations reflect the work and views only of the author/s, and the MCVS cannot be held responsible for the content or any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

UPDATE: ABSTRACT SUBMISSION IS NOW CLOSED – 11th October – Results will be issued

Abstract Timeline

  • 1st August – Submissions Opened
  • 7th September – Submission Closed
  • 11th October – Issue of Results

Project Supporters

MAPHM is proud to state that we have worked hard to gain additional support to offer you a better experience and we’re proud to state that we’ve acquired support from the Parliamentary Secretary for Youth, Sport and Voluntary Organisations.

This project has been funded by the Small Initiatives Support Scheme (SIS) managed by the Malta Council for the Voluntary Sector (MCVS)


This project reflects the views only of the author, and the MCVS cannot be held responsible for the content or any use which may be made of the information contained therein