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Berita MPA Newsletter August 2017 - REFLECTIONS...and moving forward

24 August 2017

From the President 

REFLECTIONS...and moving forward

Dear comrades,

Our next Annual General meeting is during our 39th Annual Congress in October. With that my tenure as the President of MPA comes to an end.

How do I feel?

Relieved? Yes. Huge relieve from replying the avalanche of emails I receive! 

Disappointed? A little. Feel let-down that most state subcommittees are still inactive and fail to utilise MPA fund to carry out activities despite my repeated pleas...

Satisfied? Yes; to a certain extent. We (MPA) could have done more...

Was it fun? Oh yes! Fantastic mix of young and “less young” committee members who advocate for child and adolescent health with vigour while maintaining extraordinary sense of humour.

“There are not more than five musical notes, yet the combinations of these five give rise to more melodies than can ever be heard.” 
- Sun Tzu

Joy? A definite yes for having had the opportunity to serve MPA! I had full support from all the committee members and the secretariat staff.

“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.”
- Rabindranath Tagore

This will be my final President’s message in Berita MPA before Assoc Prof. Dr Muhammad Yazid takes over the Presidency.

During the 1st Exco meeting of the current MPA committee we discussed what we needed to do for the ensuing 2 years and pledged our commitment to do our best to achieve them.

We wanted to ensure that we listened to members’ suggestions and criticisms enabling us to work on making MPA relevant to all.

Looking back at the past 2 years ...

Online journals...

After some initial hiccups we managed to revive the online journals access to members.

The delay of the online publication of our Malaysian Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health (MJPCH) was discussed at length and thanks to Prof Zil Falil Alwi (Chief Editor), it is back on track.

Hopefully we will get more submissions from members and get timely online journal editions.

Advocacy training...

We promised to fund training for young paediatricians in the area of advocacy. 

Thus a child health advocacy workshop was conducted by a facilitator from American Academy of Pediatrics in February 2017. You would have read the report in the last Berita MPA.

Nursing symposium was revived...

Years ago MPA used to organise dedicated nursing seminars. It went into hiatus for pretty many years.

We discussed and managed to engage with a collaborative partner and conducted 3 nursing symposia in the past one year i.e. in Sungai Petani, Batu Pahat and Kuala Terengganu.

Media presence...

Often voices of discontent were heard from members that MPA is not “present” in media whenever child health related issues crop up in public. Many critics complained that MPA does not respond to issues promptly. The committee members took serious note of this and made it a point to improve ourselves. You would have read countless articles published in mainstream newspapers and electronic media.

These articles were by MPA committee members i.e. Dato’ Dr Musa Nordin, Datuk Dr Zulkifli Ismail, Dr Muhammad Yazid and myself.

We addressed issues ranging from vaccine hesitancy, obesity, teenage pregnancy, smoking prevention, high risk behaviours among teenagers, inclusive education for children with special needs, bullying, school connectedness etc.

Funding young doctors...

Soon after I was elected as the President, some good friends commented that MPA should do more by sponsoring young doctors to attend our annual congresses which may not be affordable to them.

We took note of the suggestion and thanks to Dato’ Dr Musa Nordin, MPA treasurer, we will be sponsoring registration fees to almost 70 medical officers from paediatric departments in the country to attend the coming Congress in October 2017!

Working with MOH...

Due to unforeseen circumstances MPA could not engage with DG of Health for a dialogue in many years.

Finally after four years, we had our 1st dialogue with our current DG of Health in March 2017. Although initial time allotted was only 30 minutes, the DG was indeed serious to discuss the various issues brought up by MPA and the meeting ended 90 minutes later with a clear plan to follow up!

This year, the Head of Paediatric services, Dr Hishamshah invited MPA to send representatives to participate in the next Heads of Paediatrics meeting in September 2017. It is a strong indication that MOH views MPA as a crucial partner in the planning and execution of MOH policies on child health.

Interagency collaboration...

We also looked into interagencies collaboration and Rotary Malaysia (a special thanks to Dr Selva Kumar for paving the way) gave us an opportunity to work with them on Autism Awareness campaign.

We had a successful National level seminar for parents and teachers early this year.

MPA is also involved in Rheumatic Heart Disease advocacy in selected schools. This project is under the leadership of Dr Hung Liang Choo who has worked tirelessly in the past one year to engage with MOH and Ministry of Education.

Our very own new office at last...

MPA moved to our new office in June 2017. It is located just across the road from our current rented office. It is more conducive for meetings and staff to carry out their tasks. 

Dato’ Dr Musa Nordin has ‘delivered’ the new office as promised at our AGM in 2015!

Gratitude...

Finally my heartfelt thank you to all the MPA members who proposed new ideas to MPA.

My gratitude to all the committee members for the full support rendered to me.

Thank you to Datin Saadiah and her secretariat staff who rendered excellent support and getting the nitty gritty paper work done promptly.

Dr Tang Swee Fong, our Honorary Secretary has been great as usual. She made my life easy by responding to various correspondences on behalf of MPA super efficiently.

On behalf of MPA Committee I hope members are pleased with what we have achieved in the last two years.

Moving on...

I am confident the new committee will continue to achieve more under the leadership of the incoming President, Associate Professor Dr Muhammad Yazid.

I wish him all the best.

Let us all work together for the betterment of the children and adolescents in Malaysia and the region at large.

Let us look beyond their sickness and holistically improve their quality of life 

Let us protect the vulnerable children.

Let us incorporate rehabilitation of the children and adolescents into the prevention of further disease.

Let us contribute for a healthier future generation, both physically and mentally.

Let us strive to advocate for child and adolescent health equity.

Let us be a good teacher and communicator to assist our younger doctors.

Let us be self-critical and learn how to think and prioritise our treatment.

It is up to us paediatricians to take on the mantle of leadership in child and adolescent health issues.

And importantly let us paediatricians stay united and connected under MPA.

We are like the little branch that quivers during a storm, doubting our strength and forgetting we are the tree - deeply rooted to withstand all of life’s upheavals.
- The Garden of Thoughts by Dodinsky

In my first President’s message, I shared a poem by my good friend Prof. Hans. Let me end my last President’s message with another of his beautiful poem.

Equity

I loved the spouting coconut
It got a special place
I loved the casuarina shoot
It got a special place

The coconut and casuarina shoot
Shared a common garden
The sunlight shone for both
And so did nourishing rain

One grew a thousand leaves
Tiny needle shaped and small akin
One grew a few giant leaves
Majestically waving in the wind

Phenomenal beauty of the casuarina
Its oxygen was shared for free
In perfect harmony with the loveliness 
Of the superb amazing coconut tree.

So different, my two cherished trees
And yet loved by God so much the same.
A fully fulfilled potential each 
‘cause someone cared, each in 
a special place

The huge diversity of each of us
Is to be celebrated in every way
But all deserve the care and rights
To reach their full potential day 
by day

So let’s give to all children dear 
equal space and ‘light’ and ‘rain’ 
full potential for each to achieve
Diverse, but how we all would gain

- by Hans Van Rostenberghe

Looking forward to seeing you at our next Congress in KL!

N.Thiyagar

President 2015-2017
thiyagarsp@yahoo.com

Please click here to download the latest BMPA August 2017 Newsletter.



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