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14th APCP and 4th APCPN 2012 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia

28 January 2013
The 14th Asia Pacific Congress of Pediatrics and 4th Asia Pacific Congress of Pediatric Nursing ended on 12th September after attracting 1284 registered delegates and speakers, almost 60% of whom were international delegates. The delegates came from 36 countries excluding Malaysia and Singapore. 
The Philippines and Thailand provided the most number of participants. The venue, Borneo
Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK), had sufficient 
floor area to have 40 Industry exhibition booths plus
a few complimentary ones for the indigenous Penan community, book store, IPA Congress 2013 in Melbourne, ACPID in Sri Lanka, and Habitat for Humanity Malaysia. 
MPA and APPA contribution to Sarawak
Prior to the 14th APCP, the committee visited a house that was built by the local Chapter of Habitat for Humanity for a family to have a roof over their heads. The Malaysian Paediatric Association (MPA) then made a contribution on behalf of APPA to sponsor the building of house number 118 costing RM26,000 (approximately USD 8,600). We were hoping that we could get some donations from delegates to sponsor another house but most delegates felt they needed the money for souvenirs and tours, etc.
The opening ceremony, held on the evening of 8th September was preceded by 7 Pre-congress Hands-on Workshops on Echocardiography, EEG, Lung Function Studies, Childhood Injury, Tobacco Control run by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and Patient Management Simulation Exercises. All seven were oversubscribed and some interested participants had to be turned away.
Opening ceremony, scientific content and attendance
The opening ceremony saw the Inaugural Perla Santos Ocampo Memorial Lecture given by IPA Past President, Dr Chan Chok Wan. He touched on many issues causing inequity in child health worldwide and on the effects of pollution on children from poor families than from the rich. A rendition of dances by Krista Kindergarten then opened the scene for the opening ceremony that was punctuated by an Iban tribesman bursting a balloon with a blow-pipe. An entertaining award-winning orchestra kept the lively pace during the welcome reception.
The scientific content of the congress was very good with many speakers being spot-on in addressing the inequity issue. It was a shame that the attendance in the symposia was disappointingly poor despite the really good presentations. Those who attended were however really interested in the topics discussed, resulting in many questions. The high quality presentations by the Faculty were maintained throughout the Congress despite the less-than satisfactory attendance throughout most of the presentations except for the sessions on clinically applicable symposia like dermatology, neurology, etc.
Congress dinner
The Congress Dinner was not as expected with regard to the Rainforest Nite theme although the entertainment was by an internationally acclaimed group of musicians. The best free papers and posters were given their awards and the Outstanding Asian Paediatrician Awards were also given out to the recipients by the APPA Secretary-General, Prof. Datuk Dr Mohd Sham Kasim. The dinner ended with a local Sarawak dance that was joined by some Faculty and delegates. 
Many delegates took the opportunity of visiting and touring the many sites that Kuching and its surrounding areas had to offer (see BMPA August 2012 issue). The tours offered by the agent engaged by the committee were very competitively priced and provided fair value for money, so much so that many delegates returned for other tours after the enjoyable first one; hence, the poor turnout at the Congress symposia.
It was anticipated that the transport to and from the BCCK will be a challenge for the delegates. A great deal of negotiation and planning went into making the transport facilities as smooth and hassle-free as possible for delegates. There were coaches available every half hour from 0700 to 0900 hours and every hour henceforth, with similar frequency returning to the hotels situated 8 kilometres away. Although there were some complaints about the coaches leaving early (especially from the Hilton Hotel where there was no waiting area), the schedule was strictly followed and no delegate was left stranded.
The committee will accept any feedback regarding the 14th APCP 2012 and they apologise for any shortcomings. Everything that was needed to be done to make the Congress as enjoyable, hassle-free, entertaining and educationally fulfilling as possible was done.
With the 14th APCP 2012 over, we look forward to an equally enriching experience in Hyderabad, India for the 15th APCP 2015 and 5th APCPN.
Extracted from Berita MPA Newsletter November 2012.

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