When Etienne Barthet joined the ADDE board in 2020, he brought with him 37 years of experience in the dental sector. Barthet is director of Maltese dental and healthcare product distributor Bart Enterprises, and he says that no single dental market can go it alone in the EU. As an ADDE board member, Barthet is looking forward to representing the interests of all dental dealers in Europe and working to ensure that the ADDE remains truly representative of their needs.
Mr Barthet, what is the economic situation like for the dental business in Malta?
Currently, it is holding well. We, like all our colleagues throughout the world, experienced a period of uncertainty in 2020 owing to the pandemic and the related public health measures. However, business picked up gradually when dental clinics reopened after a period of a few months.
In contrast, 2021 has been a relatively good year, and we have seen business spring back to, and even exceed, 2019 levels. Now, we are all waiting to see what 2022 will have in store for the business, particularly because we are all expecting significant price increases for products and services across the board.
How did Malta and its dental industry react to the pandemic?
Malta reacted rather well. The island had a period of lockdown from mid-March to mid-May. As a holiday destination, it goes without saying that the country’s tourism sector suffered immensely during 2020. The uptake of COVID-19 vaccines has been quite positive. More than 83% of the population are fully vaccinated, and 26% of the population have so far received booster shots, and this has helped to keep hospitalisation numbers very low.
The dental business reacted by providing the profession with the latest equipment and materials, such as personal protective equipment, and by offering advice to clinicians about how they could provide a safer dental setting for their teams and patients.
Malta is represented by ADDE in the wider European Union. What would you say are the opportunities and benefits of being part of an association?
Malta is a small market, the smallest within the EU. I have always believed that the Maltese trade sector must become part of an association which represents the interests of its members. Many decisions and legislation are passed at EU level, and no country can have its voice heard well if it acts on its own.
I have been in the dental sector for more than 37 years and becoming a member of the ADDE has been a long-term goal of mine. Unfortunately, we do not yet have a Maltese dental trade association but I was nevertheless given the opportunity to join the ADDE board during 2020 and 2021.
What opportunities does the Maltese dental business have to establish its own dental distribution association?
We need to form our own national association. The dental trade sector is relatively small but still needs to be more organised and form its own association. I am positive that we can bring strength and vision through unity, and my experience as a board member of the ADDE has confirmed my thoughts about this.
What will define your engagement as an ADDE board member in the future?
I have only been a board member for a brief time, but I am sure that, as a result of my experience in the dental trade sector, I have some input to offer. I therefore look forward to working with my ADDE colleagues on the board to represent the interests of our fellow European colleagues. I wish to see the ADDE being truly representative of dental dealers throughout Europe during these ever-changing times.
I would like to take this opportunity to extend to all ADDE members and their families my very best wishes for the festive season and I wish the best of health to all!
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