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President Message November 2015 - Let’s Join Hands

30 December 2015

From the President 

Let’s Join Hands

Dear friends and colleagues,

It gives me great pleasure to pen this message. I want to thank the members who voted me in as the President of MPA for the 2015-2017 term during the last Annual General Meeting (AGM) which was held during the 37th MPA Congress.

Thank you...

I shall do my best to serve MPA, keeping the interest of children and adolescents at heart. My job appears to be relatively easier given the composition of the executive committee (Exco) members.

I thank Dr Kok Chin Leong for having led MPA in the past 2 years.

Work with MPA…

There have been voices of discontent among members that MPA isn’t doing enough for its members. 

I too asked the same question about 13 years ago. I also queried why most of the MPA activities seem to be confined to Klang Valley. Then, a good friend of mine nominated me and I ended up in the MPA exco! He said “If you want to know, get in and find out. You need to contribute too. You can’t expect everyone else to do it for you”. Even now, there are members who joke that MPA committee looks essentially the same every term. How not to when very few attend our AGMs….? MPA is not archaic. I hope, in future more will attend our MPA AGMs. Please put aside your ambivalence and participate in MPA activities.

Once “inside” I realised one thing. Unlike many other professional medical bodies, MPA is unique in its own way. Being paediatricians, we tend to be selfless (occupational hazard!) and the vast majority of MPA activities are related to child health improvement and advocacy.

Get involved…

The new Exco will continue to work on doing more for members too. Besides the on-going Continuing Professional Development (CPD) activities, we will again explore the feasibility of subscribing some online paediatric journals for members. We will try our best to appease members on this issue. Hakuna Matata!

Do spend a few minutes from time to time to visit our MPA website for updates. Members can also post their views, suggestions to our secretariat.

MPA has State Subcommittees in each of the states. Some of the other MPA subcommittees are Child Protection, Breast-Feeding, Cancer Fund, Children with Disabilities, Adolescent Health, Injury Prevention, Communicable diseases, Emergency Response, Immunise4Life, Malaysian Vaccine Advisory Committee (MyVac), Nursing, Paediatric Resuscitation, Positive Parenting, Palliative Care, Continuing Professional Development (CPD), Malaysian Journal of Paediatric and Child Health and more. These subcommittees address pertinent child health subjects. Unfortunately not all subcommittees are active. Funding is provided to the subcommittees to conduct activities. MPA welcome members who are interested to assist us in these subcommittees. Let us join hands to advocate for child and adolescent health more “aggressively”.

Work for Child & Adolescent Advocacy…

Children and adolescents are a significant part of our population. They ARE the future of our country. The foundations of adult health are laid in childhood. Unfortunately despite children and adolescents being a vulnerable group in society, they have no political voice or power.

Paediatricians are natural advocates; we believe so. Advocacy is an integral part of practising paediatrics and caring for children. We as paediatricians are obligated to continue championing for the “voiceless” children particularly addressing issues related to health promotion in childhood and adolescent focusing not only on physical but mental health wellbeing too.

The promotion of vaccination while battling the ever increasing vaccine hesitancy among parents and public seem to be a daunting task ahead for us. Let me say with all candour that MPA will also continue to create awareness to prevent child maltreatment and also care for the marginalised children (Pribumi, urban poor, and Stateless children). The rise in cases of unplanned teenage pregnancies and high risk behaviours among adolescents is terrifying. We need to do something….

We need to continue our collaborative partnership with parents, non-governmental organisations (NGO) and decision makers to achieve our objectives.

Training advocates….

There are many advocacy champions within our fraternity. They are probably “born” advocates.

Unfortunately not all of us are. Many of us need to be trained to advocate effectively. We need the skills in effective communication, letter writing, dealing with media etc. We need to understand the legislative processes too.

MPA plans to conduct an advocacy workshop for paediatricians from Ministry of Health (MOH), Private sector and Universities. We hope to get experts from American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to assist us to train some local trainers.

MPA shall continue looking into the welfare of children and adolescents with the bird’s-eye view. This reminds me of the poem written by our colleague Prof. Hans

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The Eagle

The firm wind caresses each of my brown eagle feathers
The softness of the fresh air kisses my white eagle cheeks
Below, the long nipah leaves wave me a warm hearted welcome
The ripples on the shallow river greet me with a thousand lights
I soar; i flap once and soar a lot more
Steering a bit to the left and to the right
I reach the beach and the shore,
Turquoise and blue, a lovely sight
A lone unshaven man stands close to the breaking waves
His arms spread, his eyes closed, his face towards the winds of the sea
I sincerely wonder:
What kind of poetry can a man write?
If he has never seen the world
Through the eyes of an eagle
If he has never floated above the world
High in the skies like me, the eagle
- Hans Van Rostenberghe

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Friends and colleagues, I again encourage you to participate in MPA activities to take MPA to a higher level as champions of child health in Malaysia and in the Region.

President 2015-2017

Please click here to download the latest BMPA November 2015 Newsletter.

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