04 Jan 2010

January 2010

A Very Happy New year to all of you!


Dear Colleagues

A Very Happy New year to all of you!

I thought this is an opportune time for me to write a newsletter to keep you abreast of the activities of MASP – Something that should have been written regularly. Newsletters were a regular feature in 2004/5; However, I guess it is never too late to re-start the tradition at the beginning of a new decade- with an occasional newsletter!

Activities of MASP 
MASP has been going from strength to strength. It is heartening to note that ‘Pain Medicine’ has become attractive as a sub-specialty and many of our members have gone for their training. With this growing nucleus of pain specialists there is bound to be an increased awareness of pain and its management among other health-care professionals and hopefully the public. Awareness of our activities has also increased with the formation of ASEAPS and the three successful congresses held from 2006-2009. 1st ASEAPS in Manila – Dec 2006; 2nd ASEAPS in Kuala Lumpur – Dec 2007 and 3rd ASEAPS with NeuPSIG in Bali – April 2009. Please mark your calendar for the next one in Feb/ March 2011 in Pattaya, Thailand. It promises to be very interesting. Please look out for more details on the MASP website later this year.

MASP members have also been busy with smaller workshops.

  • Dr. Ungku Kamariah organized a Seminar – Chronic Pain Management – What can we do? – July 31-Aug 1, 2009 in Johor Baru at the Sultan Ismail Hospital
  • Prof Choy organized the Acute and Chronic Pain Management Workshop in Hospital University Kebangsaan Malaysia, Cheras, Kuala Lumpur – Dec 4-5, 2009 
  • Dr. Zubaidah Jamil organized a Workshop – Chronic Pain Management in Primary Care – Dec 21-22, 2009 at University Putra Malaysia, Serdang, Selangor

Dr. Kavita and her group organized a family day for patients with chronic pain in Ipoh Hospital, Ipoh on the 31st of October, 2009. Dr Mary, Prof Marzida and I attended the fun-filled morning with interesting games and singing and all the patients and their families had a really good time. Dr Mary also charted a bus to take patients from Kuala Lumpur to Ipoh for the day, so our KL patients were not left out.

Congratulations to all the above members for all their efforts in organizing these events.

Annual Scientific Meeting and AGM 
The next activity on the calendar is the Annual Scientific Meeting in association with the AGM. The theme this year is “Musculoskeletal Pain: When moving hurts” in keeping with the Global Year theme of IASP. The Meeting will be held from the 25th – 27th March, 2009 at Swan Convention Centre, Sunway Medical Centre, close to the Sunway Pyramid Hotel. So do keep a look-out for information on this meeting, which will be posted on the MASP website and flyers and registration forms, will be available very soon. We will be having two distinguished overseas speakers: Dr Booker from Sydney, Australia and Prof Pradit from Bangkok, Thailand.

13th World Congress on Pain 
That brings me to this year’s premier international event, the 13th World Congress on Pain, which will be held in Montreal, Canada – 29th Aug to 2nd September 2010. The last date for sending in abstracts for the poster sessions is fast approaching – February 1, 2010 including those who are seeking financial aid to attend the congress.

International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) 
The EXCO of IASP has been very supportive of educational activities in this region over the last few years. The immediate past presidents, Prof Michael Bond and Prof Troels Jensen have both attended ASEAPS meetings and have taken initiatives to encourage as well as support all our activities.
There has been a definite change in the direction of IASP since 2002 (with Prof Bond’s presidency) with an increasing slant towards the educational needs of developing countries. There is also a greater awareness of the activities of chapters in countries outside the traditional North American and European continent. IASP has also instituted educational grants for projects and in the recent past, grants of nearly USD10, 000.00 have been awarded to the following: Dr Jocelyn Que of Santo Tomas University, Manila; Dr Pongparadee of Mahidol University, Thailand; I received a grant last year. Of course, you need to be a member of IASP to apply for these grants. The last date to apply for this grant is the 15th of February 2010. (www.iasp-pain.org/Grants)

For the first time since the establishment of IASP, more than 30 years ago, we have a member from Southeast Asia on the IASP EXCO – Dr Cynthia Goh of Singapore. Dr. Mary Cardosa is on the Scientific Committee of the next World Congress in Montreal and I am on the membership committee along with Dr. Jocelyn Que. IASP has also been supportive of our efforts in pain education in Malaysia. Dr. Harijah from Melaka was partly sponsored by IASP when she went to work at the Pain Clinic of Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok recently.

Other benefits of IASP membership are:

  1. The Journal ‘Pain’, which is now available on line
  2. Members can also join special interest groups (SIG), and participate in online discussion forums
  3. Discounted registration fees at IASP congresses
  4. Eligibility to apply for several types of grants. 
  5. Books at discounted prices.
  6. Receiving the quarterly ‘Clinical Updates’

MASP has been a chapter in formation since we were established in 1993. It is now 15 years and we have not yet obtained full chapter status as we have not had at least 10 members who were also members of IASP. I think it is time to take our place as full chapter members at the next World Congress. I urge all members, who are now actively practicing pain medicine to become members. (I hope all those concerned are listening). The membership is only USD40.00 per year for on-line access to the journal “Pain”. It is also extremely easy to become a member. It can be done on line on the IASP website. If any of you have any particular reasons for not becoming members, please let me know and I can bring this up to the membership committee. In addition, please let me know if you are already a member. It is, of course, important that you maintain your annual membership.

Other activities 
MASP along with Spine Society of Malaysia has published the Malaysian Guidelines for Low Back Pain. This was launched at the last AGM in April 2009. If any of you have not yet received a copy or wish more copies for your colleagues, please contact your regional Pfizer representative. MASP is planning to have a series of 4 road-shows in various states of Malaysia on the management of Low Back Pain – in keeping with year’s Global year theme of Musculoskeletal Pain: when moving hurts”

Dr. Amanda Williams, Clinical Psychologist from University College London was here in Kuala Lumpur to give a talk at the Meeting organized by Dr. Zubaidah - “Managing Chronic Pain in Primary Care.” The MASP EXCO took this opportunity to invite her to give a talk to our members. As it was at short notice we managed to get about 20 members only and it was held at the Sagar Restaurant on the 22nd of December 2009. She gave a very interesting talk on “Empathy and Pain”

Several of our members are involved with drawing up Clinical Practice Guidelines on Cancer Pain Management, under the leadership of Dr Richard Lim, a Palliative care physician from Hospital Selayang, Selangor. This initiative is by the Guidelines division of the Ministry of Health. It is in the final stages and they hope to publish the guidelines later this year. It will an exhaustive and evidence based guideline and much effort has gone into its preparation.

I think I have most of our activities. I will try to make it more interesting next time with photographs etc. I need to send this off before I procrastinate any further.

With Best Wishes for the New Year

Ramani Vijayan
President, MASP