Rifat Latifi, Ramadan Jashari, Luan Jaha, Nexhmi Hyseni

After a long hiatus of 12 years, Kosova Journal of Surgery (KJS) is again in the hands and inbox of the readers, but now as the official journal of Kosova College of Surgeons. This is a huge task undertaken by all of us, but an absolute necessity for the science of surgery of Kosova, for the College, and for the future of surgery in our country. The KJS is a peer-reviewed, open access journal that will publish original articles in the categories of clinical and experimental surgery; descriptions of modern operative techniques; review articles; and brief reports of both local and international surgeons from around the world. We have assembled an impressive group of surgeons and scientists from around the world to form the editorial board who will help with the development and sustainability of the Journal.

The KJS editorial policies and mission, while closely aligned with the mission of KCS, will stay independent and publication will be based solely on scientific merits and high quality research. However, just like KCS, the journal will be opened to all practicing and retired surgeons, from academic and public hospitals and institutions as well as private practice and private hospitals across the country, residents of every surgical discipline, medical students who will pursue surgery in the future, and any healthcare workers who care for surgical patients.

The goal of the Journal is to increase and improve the quality of surgical care, increase academically-oriented human capacities and improve access to modern, state-of-the-art surgical care.

The creation of the Kosova College of Surgeons and resumption of the publication of the Journal reflects an important moment in the history of surgical science and practice of Kosova which stands at a crucial times and crossroads. It fills a major void in our organizational and scientific processes of the more than 800 surgeons of Kosova as well as hundreds of other Kosovar surgeons practicing around the world. Until now, Kosovar surgeons did not have a place to gather and voice their concerns in a structured and peer-reviewed deliberate way. The College and Journal will be that place.

Over the last decades the practice of surgery in Kosova has had significant challenges, although some progress has been made in very difficult circumstances and under occupation and war. Often the surgery in Kosova has served as “pass through service” for patients on their way to other surgical institutions in the region or other European medical centers. In this state, education of young surgeons was not structured and organized, and often it was left up to individual surgeon to gain knowledge and skill in complex and advanced surgical procedures that were being performed in our hospitals. Moreover, for complex and advanced procedures on Kosova patients were and still are being done in other countries, paid by both Kosova Government, but mostly by our private citizens. More troubling, surgical science and surgical research were diminishing into oblivious and non-existing.

The first issue of the Journal, coincides with the two years anniversary of establishment of the Kosova College of Surgeons. On December 3, 2018, this generation of surgeons of Kosova decided to transform the practice and science of surgery for the sake of our patients, ourselves, and students of surgery for generations to come.

In 1913, the American College of Surgeons (ACS) was created with Franklin Martin, MD, FACS at the helm. The ACS transformed the practice and science of surgery in America and with that, the world. Now, December 2020, in the mixed of COVID-19 pandemic we are starting a new decade of surgery in Kosova, a decade that will put solid foundation to future development and sustainability.

Compare to ACS, KCS more than a century later, is in the position to transform surgery in our own country. To accomplish this feat, we need the strong support of our governments (both U.S. and Kosova) as well as European partners and friends around the world.

The Kosova College of Surgeons and the Kosova Journal of Surgery are being funded currently by the International Virtual e-Hospital Foundation (www.iveh.org) using our own strategy of Initiate- Build-Operate-Transfer (IBOT). IBOT has been successfully employed to create telemedicine programs in Kosova (2002), Albania (2009), Cabo Verde (2012) and assisted in further developing a program in Vietnam (2015). IBOT will be sued to make KCS and KJS another success story. The IVeH with its partners, and donors, the majority of whom come from the Albanian-American community, has pledged to build and to support the College, the Journal and their mission and vision for the next 10 years.

The mission of the KCS is to become the main driver of the quality improvement programs in all surgical disciplines, establish the mechanisms of creating leadership in surgery that will lead the College to new heights of modern surgery, establish full transparency of the quality of surgical care, and become a solid partner of the international surgery community worldwide.

We pledge to make the Kosova Journal of Surgery the new school of conducting and reporting research, writing, editing, peer reviewing, publishing high quality research, and helping with initiation and conducting clinical trials. By doing so, the Journal will advance the quality of surgical care and education of Kosovar surgeons. The first issue, with a new editorial board from all surgical disciplines, nationally and internationally with some of the biggest names in surgery, is a testament of our resolve that the Kosova Journal of Surgery will become a journal that will be sought after by both young and established surgeons and scientists.

The first issue is dedicated the ongoing leadership course in surgery. It was planned for the inaugural April 2020 Congress which was cancelled due to COVID-19. In fact, we were one of the first surgical societies in the world to cancel a surgical meeting due to the pandemic. Now almost a year into the pandemic, with 1.4 million deaths around the world and almost 1,000 in Kosova, it is expected that the next Clinical Congress will be virtual at best, as many other organizations around the world have implemented.

These first highly selective papers from the world leaders of surgery will set an incredibly high bar for the quality of papers to published in the future. We are grateful to every one of the surgeons who participated, from those who virtually delivered International Grand Rounds to those who have written state-of-the-art review papers. In addition, on this first issue, we the editors decided to publish one original paper on the state of research in Kosova based on PubMed cited publications. This paper will tell the story on its own as to what we need to do for the next decade.

We call upon all surgeons to contribute with original papers to the journal and with ideas how to make this attractive for all. We will have some innovative ways of publishing including video vignettes, letters to the editor, and student’s corner. How fast and how much we will grow and when will be on PubMed, will depend on every single one of us.

We take this opportunity to thank the past editorial boards and past editors-in chief, Prof. Sadri Bajraktari and Professor Hasan Ahmeti for their hard work, dedication and for putting in place the foundation of the Journal in very difficult times.

Finally, on behalf of the editorial board we wish you and your families Happy and Healthy New Year 2021. May the future years be better than the ones we left behind.