Dear Esteemed Friends and Colleagues,
Greetings!! Wishing all a safe and healthy 2021!!
We are in a new cycle of movement control order (MCO) as a result of the long-drawn Covid-19 pandemic. I hope all friends, colleagues and your family members remain healthy and safe. As the Covid-19 vaccination is being rolled out slowly into phase 2, please ensure that you and your family members are vaccinated and protected.
National Immunisation Day
World Immunization Week falls on the last week of April every year. For year 2021, from 24-30 April, World Health Organization (WHO) campaigned with the theme `Vaccines bring us closer’ with campaign materials showing how vaccination connects us to the people, goals and moments that matter to us most, helping improve the health of everyone, everywhere throughout life.
These campaign materials are available on the WHO website. Malaysian Paediatric Association (MPA), through Immunise4Life and partners, organised the National Immunisation Day on 27 April 2021. Chairman of Immunise4Life Datuk Dr Zulkifli Ismail presented a coffee-table book on National Immunisation Program to the Minister of Health on that day.
There was also a multimedia video show, followed by a forum. You may read the details in the write-up in this issue of BMPA.
Partnership & coalition
In the entire 20th century, the world had 3 pandemics – flus in 1918, 1957 and 1968. In contrast, in the first 2 decades of the 21st century, we have had 2 pandemics – the 2009 swine flu and now Covid-19, with few near-misses. All these viruses are coming from wild animals. What are the core reasons these viruses jumped from wild animals into human and spread? Are we, the homo sapiens destroying the Mother Earth and the animal habitats that we are bringing them closer to human habitats? If so, this spill over will take place more frequently.
Covid-19 pandemic is a wake-up call of the intersection between human and planetary health. In response, in November 2020, Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) – SEA officially launched “RISE – the Southeast Asia Alliance for Health and Climate”. RISE aims to build the prominence of the healthcare sector in rising to the climate and Covid-19 challenges and building a healthy, just and resilient Asia. MPA has joined RISE and is now partner in this crucial journey. Dr S. Selvakumar is representing MPA in the partnership. HCWH was formed in the US in 1996 and is now a coalition of hundreds of organisations in 52 countries. HCWH works to transform health care worldwide so that it becomes ecologically sustainable and a leading advocate for environmental health and justice, based on the vision of a health sector that does no harm but promotes human and planetary health. I call on friends and colleagues who are interested or passionate to promote human and planetary health, please contact Dr S. Selvakumar or MPA to join the group.
As the Covid-19 pandemic takes centrestage in almost every aspect of our lives, lest we forget that other illnesses, such as NCDs, mental disorders and social ills are still present and may be on the rise too. MPA, in coalition with Malaysian Association of Adolescent Health (MAAH) has embarked on a Tobacco Control Advocacy Program after a virtual Regional Tobacco Control Leadership Advocacy Workshop in April 2021, at the invitation of the Philippines Pediatric Society (PPS), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This program is led by Dr N. Thiyagar. MPA invites more members to join or other professional organisations or NGOs to form a bigger coalition.
The multiple waves of Covid-19 infections have caused many pandemic-induced postponements of numerous major international or national conferences. Most conferences, meetings and CME activities remain exclusively virtual. The 17th Asia Pacific Congress of Pediatrics (APCP) in Lahore Pakistan planned for 29-31 Oct 2021, has been postponed to year 2022. However, MPA has remained steadfast that our next annual congress would be a hybrid meeting to be held on 25-28 November 2021 together with the Asia Pacific Paediatric Endocrine Society (APPES) Congress at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. This congress was postponed from year 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Please visit our MPA website for on-going updates regarding the congress.
Stay Safe, Get Vaccinated, Protect All!
Hung Liang Choo