Report on the 9th Asian Congress of Paediatrics
"Children are our future! Their well-being is therefore of utmost importance to us. Paediatricians from all over the world strive to achieve a holistic child health care system. It indeed is Hong Kong's honour to be able to host and create a platform for world leading experts to discuss, share and exchange their experience and knowledge": Opening Remarks by Dr Chan Chok-wan, the Congress President, at the Opening Ceremony for the 9th Asian Congress of Paediatrics held on 23rd March 1997 at the Hong Kong Academy of Performance Arts with Mrs. Katherine Fok, Secretary of Health and Welfare, as the Guest-of-Honour officiating the Ceremony.
The Asian Congress of Paediatrics is held every 4-years under the auspices of the Association of Pediatric Societies of the Southeast Asian Region (APSSEAR) and the International Pediatric Association (IPA) in conjunction with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). The 9th Asian Congress of Paediatrics was hosted by the Hong Kong Paediatric Society and the Hong Kong College of Paediatricians during 23-27th March 1997 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. It consisted of a Pre-congress Workshop, a Paediatric Congress and a Post-Congress Meeting in Guangzhou, China.
The organizing committee
The Organizing Committee would like to record with gratitude the advice, guidance and contribution by the Hong Kong Tourist Association in the planning, bidding, preparation and final execution of the Congress, thereby providing momentum to the ultimate success of the Congress.
The Organizing Committee records its heartfelt appreciation to Dr. Stephen Leung Wing-chin for his contribution of HK$500,000 towards the Congress to reinforce confidence at a point of financial difficulty.
The pre-congress workshop
The 9th Asian Congress of Paediatrics
Plenary Addresses, the highlights of the Scientific Programme, were enthusiastically received by participants and audio-visual linking to a second lecture theatre was at times necessary to accommodate all attendants. They included the following sessions:
1. Child Health Priorities in the 21st Century with Special Concern for Asia
2. Changing Pattern of Childhood Illnesses
3. HIV Infection and AIDS
4. Vaccines for Asian Children in the 21st Century
5. Molecular Basis of Inheritable Disease
6. Paediatric Immunology in the 21st Century: Lessons from the Immunodeficiency Diseases
7. Adolescent Health Care: A Collaborative Challenge
8. Kawasaki Disease: The Issues of Cardiovascular Involvement and Treatments
Through discussion of the full spectrum of Paediatric concerns presented at the Congress, it was concluded that "Paediatric Priorities in the 21st Century" should include prevention of childhood illnesses, control of new infections such as HIV, mass immunization against major infectious diseases, development in molecular genetics, prevention of intentional and non-intentional childhood injuries as well as promotion of family-centred care. To implement this, paediatricians and allied health professionals from all over the world should strive to achieve a total health care system embracing physical, mental, moral, spiritual and social well being. This can only be realized through fully endorsing and implementing children's rights as enshrined by the United Nations' Declaration on Children's Rights and fighting for a comprehensive legislature on Child Policy relating to all aspects of childhealth and welfare. These together with our current activities collectively constitute the holistic approach to child health care for the 21st century.
Contribution by Hosting Organizations
Symposia by the Hong Kong Paediatric Society
Press Release by the Hong Kong College of Paediatricians
1. All children should be encouraged to participate regularly in sport forms in an intensity appropriate to their developmental and health status.
2. Parents should hopefully serve as role models by arranging activities the whole family can participate in.
3. There should be more time and facilities for physical education within schools in Hong Kong.
4. Special precautions and recommendations should be taken for children with active diseases and for children with Epilepsy, Asthma and Cardiac Diseases.
Official Business Meetings of APSSEAR
At the Business Meeting of the Association of Pediatric Societies of Southeast Asian Region (APSSEAR) held at the time of the Congress, Dr. Chok-wan Chan was elected President of APSSEAR with Dr. Yu-Lung Lau representing Hong Kong as Member of the Advisory Council of APSSEAR. A Working Party on "Prevention of Childhood Injuries" headed by Dr. Chun-Bong Chow was established to coordinate a collaborative study between member countries within APSSEAR (20 in total). Hong Kong paediatricians were also empowered with important tasks of editing a Monograph to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of APSSEAR in 1999 and of performing a feasibility study for the establishment of a "Foundation for Traveling Fellowship" to enable young paediatricians within the region to undergo postgraduate training in paediatric subspecialties. These together with many other projects will serve to booster the standard of child health care, communication amongst member societies and friendships for all professionals within the region.
Social Activities of the Congress
The Opening Ceremony for the Congress was held at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts on 23rd March 1997. The officiating guest was Mrs. Katherine Fok, Secretary for Health and Welfare. About 1,000 delegates, accompanying persons, together with our special guests including government dignitaries and international and local academic and administrative leaders in the paediatric field attended the occasion. The Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts was commissioned to choreograph a dance, the "Na Zha", for the Congress which was exquisitely performed by students of the Academy to the delight of the audience.
The Cultural Evening Performance was held at the Lyric Theatre of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts on 24th March 1997. The programme was especially drawn up by the Academy. About 400 delegates and accompanying persons attended. Special thanks are due to Mr. Lo King-man, Advisor to the Social Committee for the Congress, for the organization for the excellent programme and performance which received rave reviews.
The Congress Banquet was held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. This provided an opportunity for the delegates to experience an oriental extravaganza of the best of Chinese cuisine. The highlights of the evening included a dance by children of the Down Syndrome Association and an acrobatic troup performance from China. This was attended by about 500 delegates and their accompanying persons. During the Banquet, the Congress President presented certificates and plaques of appreciation to the Vice-Patron, Dr. Stephen Leung and to members of the Organizing Committee for their contribution and dedication, to the 20 APSSEAR national societies for their guidance; and to the International Pediatric Association (IPA), the Hong Kong Paediatric Society and the Hong Kong College of Paediatricians for their support and blessings.
All registered delegates were invited to the Closing Ceremony which was held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. The Congress President announced the close of the Congress and invited delegates to attend the 10th Asian Congress of Paediatrics to be hosted in Taipei, Taiwan in the year 2000. At this occasion the outgoing and incoming advisory board members of APSSEAR were introduced and presented with tokens of appreciation.
Tea and coffee during intermissions, as well as sandwiches and lunch boxes during lunch breaks were provided free of charge to all participants at the Congress.
The Programme Book and Abstract Book distributed during the Congress served to provide useful information to attendants on the full programme and details of scientific sessions, while the Z-Card with its user-friendly wallet-sized design supplied essential and handy information for our guests.
The on-site publication "ACP News Daily" was another welcome innovation from an Editorial Board under Dr. Tony Nelson, Dr. Yu Chak-man, Miss Esther Ho and Miss Connie Chen and others. It highlighted major activities of the day, reported significant events of the day before, forecasted attractive upcoming programmes as well as reported important local Hong Kong and weather news during the period. This daily publication was popularly received by delegates and played an important role in contributing to the success of the Congress.
The Post-Congress Meeting
Evaluation of the 9th Asian Congress of Paediatrics
It was with the blessings and support of all APSSEAR Member countries that Hong Kong was given the honour to host the 9th Congress three years ago in New Delhi. Upon returning from New Delhi an Organizing Committee was immediately formed to facilitate all necessary arrangements. With the advice from Prof. Gavin Arneil, Dr. Robert Haggerty, Prof. Michael Gracey, Prof. Ramesh Potdar and Prof. Perla Santos-Ocampo, the organization was well underway within a short period of time.
Led by the Chairman of the Organizing and Executive Committees Dr. CW Chan and respective Chairmen of Standing Committees - Dr. CB Chow of Secretariat Committee, Dr. NK Leung of Scientific Committee, Dr. Henry Au-Yeung of Finance Committee and Dr. Alfred Tam of Social Committee, members met periodically over the last three years. The Organizing Committee also received much guidance and support from the international and local advisors and participating organizations, as well as from external parties including exhibitors and sponsors. The efficiency and effectiveness of each team's and the strength of support received are reflected in the ultimate success of the Congress.
It must be thus documented that many parties and factors have been instrumental in bringing about this fruitful conclusion, and for overcoming the obstacles that have presented themselves during these three years. Among the many reflections on the event, several points are particularly noted.
1. Throughout the preparations, the Hong Kong Tourist Association's assistance to organizing bodies in their planning and execution was invaluable. From the initial bidding at the 8th ACP, to the choosing and negotiations with professional conference organizers, to the numerous subsequent overseas and local publicity efforts and to the assistance given on-site at the Congress, the HK Tourist Association has been most facilitative and supportive.
2. The Scientific Committee's design for the many scientific sessions has been a source of pride as well as organizational challenge. The 8 plenary, 32 symposia and 10 workshop sessions involved a total of over 200 eminent international and local speakers to be invited, many of whom to be financially supported, and to be given the appropriate professional and social attention before and during the event. It was also often difficult for convenors to account to their recommended speakers for the modest financial support offered, and for the relatively short allocated presentation time at symposia and workshops. The challenge to the Organizing Committee to solicit sufficient funds to support these speakers and sessions was considerable. However it was in the end agreed that efforts were well justified, as the Scientific Programme was able to extensively cover the range of academic and practical issues in current Paediatrics, thereby satisfying a wide range of interests and needs in this professional exchange.
3. From early stages of preparation, the contribution of the Congress' conference organizer Meeting Planners (HK) Ltd. has been indispensable and deeply appreciated. Whether in matters relating to the Congress' programme structure, sponsorship and funding strategies, social functions including protocols, banquet, performances and tours, as well as in the management of the Congress Exhibition, the Conference Organizer was not only a vital executive arm but an essential source of information and guidance. Managers Ms. Esther Ho and Ms. Connie Chen, together with their dedicated team, impressed the Organizing Committee and participants alike with their outstanding professional performance.
4. At the commencement of preparations, the Hong Kong Government gave its blessing to the 9th Asian Congress of Paediatrics through the Patronage of the Governor The Hon C Patten. This corresponds to the support received by previous Asian Congresses from their respective countries' Heads of State. Furthermore, at the Opening Ceremony on 23rd March 1997, the Secretary of Health and Welfare Mrs. Katherine Fok graciously officiated the occasion as Guest of Honour, and expressed the government's support for the Congress' programme and messages. It was however noted that the invitation of Guest of Honour for this occasion had been faced with difficulties. From an initial invitation to the Governor over a year before the occasion, through a number of acceptances and changes by the Chief Secretary's office, to the final acceptance by Mrs. Fok less than one week before the Opening Ceremony, support by the Government was felt to be regrettably limited. At a time when international governmental commitment to Child Health is well established and expected, and when Hong Kong's tasks in this aspect are expected to dramatically increase at this point in its history, a closer collaborative relationship between Hong Kong's paediatricians as advocates for child health and the Government is imperative, and hopefully will be realized in the very near future.
5. During the 8-day event spanning 22nd-29th March 1997, including the Pre-Congress Workshop, the Congress Proper, IPA and APSSEAR Business Meetings and Post-Congress Satellite, the enthusiastic and efficient contributions by on-site Organizing Committee workers were noted with appreciation. Vice-Chairmen of the Scientific Committee, Dr. MC Chiu, Dr. TF Fok and Dr. Louis Low, supervised and maintained the smooth running of a complex programme consisting of numerous simultaneous speakers and presentations. The skill and efficiency of Conference Manager Dr. Betty Young who supervised all publications and oversaw the whole event were also appreciated.
In addition, the contribution by Dr. Catherine Lam, Deputy Secretary-General of the Congress, through her dedicated efforts in the preparation, planning, implementation and execution of resolutions made by the Executive Committee and in the compilation of Official publications and reports were noted. Dr. Yu Chak-man was highly commended for his excellent performance in the organization of the Congress, notably in areas of publicity and public relations. Furthermore throughout this period, all members of the Organizing Committee together with staff of the conference organizer worked closely, tirelessly and efficiently in the background to achieve the success that has been widely commented upon by participants. The dedication and the effective and harmonious teamwork exhibited during the Congress were truly impressive and should be congratulated.
The 9th Asian Congress of Paediatrics should indeed be considered on all accounts a resounding success. And for this, each and every participant at all levels must be recognized and thanked for their contribution in making this meeting a most memorable event for Paediatrics in Hong Kong!
The 9th Asian Congress of Paediatrics through the dedicated efforts of the Organizing Committee and members of Standing Committees and by virtue of the excellent scientific and social programmes was accomplished with great success. It was organized by the Hong Kong Paediatric Society in collaboration with the Hong Kong College of Paediatricians, with the participation of a large representation of paediatric subspecialty societies, medical bodies as well as non-governmental organizations. Glory goes to all paediatricians and child health care workers in Hong Kong! The Congress successfully served to achieve advancement of knowledge of paediatrics and promotion of child health as well as to foster friendship and exchange among delegates and participating organizers: cardinal objectives which Asian Congresses strive to achieve!
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