Special Report on ASEAPS Congress and IASP Pain Camp

May 4, 2015

ASEAPS Congress Delegates Approve Manila Declaration on Access to Pain Treatment

"Feel No Pain" was the theme of the 6th Congress of the Association of South-East Asian Pain Societies (ASEAPS), which attracted 723 participants from 32 countries to Manila in March. The biennial gathering was led by ASEAPS President Francis O. Javier, MD supported by Organizing Committee Co-chair Henry U. Lu, MD and Scientific Chair Prof. Merle de la Cruz Odi.

ASEAPS 2015Dr. Philip Peng demonstrates techniques during the ASEAPS workshop on ultrasound for pain and musculoskeletal medicine. A highlight of the conference was the Manila Declaration, an urgent call to improve access to and availability of essential pain medicines, two critical challenges throughout the region. The declaration was generally viewed as a corollary to the 2010 Declaration of Montreal, which strongly asserted that pain relief is a fundamental human right and that all people, regardless of economic circumstance, should have access to appropriate assessment and treatment of pain by adequately trained health-care professionals. Most developing countries in Asia are home to millions of people with whose access to palliative morphine is as low as 0.4mg per capita or less.

Signatories to the Manila Declaration were the representatives of IASP chapters from the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and Myanmar. Countries that do not yet have IASP-recognized pain societies, such as Cambodia and Vietnam, also supported the declaration. A poster of the declaration was available in the Congress venue, and delegates and other supporters signed it to affirm their support.

The Congress also offered plenary lectures from such world-renowned authorities in pain and palliative care as Kathleen M. Foley, MD, IASP liaison to the World Health Organization; Troels S. Jensen, MD, DMSc., IASP liaison to ASEAPS; and IASP President-elect Judith Turner, PhD. Foley delivered a thought-provoking plenary lecture on global efforts to treat cancer pain. A lecture titled "The Language of Pain in Asia," by Prof. Michael Tan, chancellor of the University of the Philippines, was especially well received. The Congress also included social events that showcased the cultural diversity of the Philippines.

The next ASEAPS Congress will be held in Yangon, Myanmar, in February 2017.

Fracis O. Javier, MD
ASEAPS President

IASP Pain Management Camp in Southeast Asia Sparks Intensive Learning

Set against a backdrop of the breath-taking Taal Volcano outside Tagaytay City, Philippines, the 3rd IASP Pain Management Camp provided intensive pain education for 29 health-care professionals from the six chapters of the Association of South-East Asian Pain Societies (ASEAPS) and the neighboring resource-limited countries. The five-day event in mid-March was organized by ASEAPS and the Pain Society of the Philippines.

ASEAPS 2015The first IASP Pain Camp in Southeast Asia was held in Thailand in 2011 and the second in Singapore 2013, both in connection with the biannual ASEAPS congresses. The 2015 event was organized by Jocelyn C. Que, MD, MMed, assisted by the same committee involved in former pain camps: IASP Councillor Mary Cardosa, MBBS, Malaysia; Cynthia Goh, MBBS, PhD, Singapore; Ramani Vijayan, FFARCS, FANZCA, Malaysia; and Troels S. Jensen, MD, DMSc., the IASP liaison to ASEAPS.

As in previous years, ASEAPS countries sent two representatives from each member country, and an IASP grant supported participation from non-ASEAPS countries. The IASP grant supported travel, accommodation, and course registration for the participants.

An eminent faculty of regional and international pain clinicians and educators, including IASP President-elect Judith Turner, PhD offered interdisciplinary education covering basic and clinical topics in pain management. The program commenced with the Essential Pain Management Lite module, which presented a basic approach to pain management from the biopsychosocial perspective. These sessions were created by pain medicine faculty of the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists. The last day of the program covered clinical pain conditions and effective ways to evaluate and manage them with limited resources.

Various teaching methods--lectures, role playing, team assignments, case presentations, and live patient demonstrations--enriched the learning experience. A follow-up survey showed that most participants expressed high satisfaction with the course curriculum, program schedule, and interactions with faculty and peers. Kazi Maksoda Akter, a palliative care doctor from Bangladesh, called the experience the "best and most intensive" of the different medical conferences she had attended. Rosario Cloma, an anesthesiologist from the Philippines, enthused: "The pain camp provided an exciting opportunity to interact with others in the region, learn and understand the constraints felt by others, and how to circumvent the problem. It also fostered international relationships, team-spirit building, and friendship."

Antonita De Pano, another anesthesiologist from the host country, remarked: "This pain camp has opened my eyes to realize the evolving concepts of pain and how this will influence the management of pain in my clinical practice."

Jocely C. Que, MD, MMed

"Fellowship" Is the Essence of ASEAPS Congress and IASP Pain Camp

I had the great privilege and pleasure of travelling to the Philippines to participate as faculty in both the 3rd IASP Pain Management Camp and the 6th Congress of the Association of South-East Asian Pain Societies (ASEAPS).

ASEAPS 2015As detailed by Dr. Que, the Pain Camp was an outstanding success, with broad representation of Southeast Asian countries and professional disciplines. The 29 early career health-care professionals who attended the camp came from the ASEAPS countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand) as well as Bangladesh, Cambodia, East Timor, Laos, Nepal, and Vietnam. Their disciplines included anesthesiology, physical therapy, neurology, pharmacy, rehabilitation medicine, radiation oncology, nursing, and family medicine. Faculty came from the ASEAPS countries, Australia, Denmark, and the United States.

The camp provided an excellent opportunity for these young health-care professionals to increase their knowledge of pain mechanisms, diagnosis, and management in settings with limited resources. Furthermore, the camp enhanced infrastructure and collaboration to support improved pain education and management throughout Southeast Asia. A highlight of the program was a trip to Tagaytay Medical Center, where participants interviewed patients with different pain problems in sessions moderated by medical center physicians.

The ASEAPS Congress was also extremely successful, with 723 delegates from 32 countries. Many of these delegates signed the Manila Declaration, which calls for improved access to essential pain medications in Southeast Asia. I was very impressed with the quality of the scientific presentations as well as by the opportunities to discuss mutual clinical and research interests and deepen relationships. The congress included several social events, which allowed delegates opportunities to network with colleagues from around the world and enjoy the hospitality and cultural diversity of the Philippines.

I had been curious before attending as to the nature of the Congress Fellowship Dinner, having never before heard that term for an evening event at a congress. As it turned out, one definition of "fellowship" I found in a quick online search aptly summarizes both the pain camp and the congress: "friendly association, especially with people who share one's interests." The dedication and the team effort of the faculty in presenting the pain camp and of the pain researchers and clinicians in the ASEAPS countries in sharing knowledge to further the IASP vision of working together for pain relief throughout the world were truly inspiring.

It is exciting that the next ASEAPS congress and pain camp will be held in Myanmar (2017) and that progress is being made in forming IASP chapters in Vietnam and Cambodia. We hope to see many of our Southeast Asian members at the 16th World Congress on Pain in Yokohama in September 2016!

Judith Turner, PhD
IASP President-elect