The ASEAN Federation of Haematology is a somewhat mysterious entity. Its purpose was to confederate the national Haematology Societies in ASEAN - with the Malaysia Society of Haematology (MSH) being one of its members. It was to promote collaboration, as well as to create a platform for exchanges of ideas and a hub for new knowledge. But it suffered from lack of leadership as the individual societies carry out their own meetings and got engrossed in their core works.
The inaugural AFH Meeting was held as part of the MSH Scientific Meeting back in 2010. I was the photographer for the meeting, held at Shangri-La Kuala Lumpur. It was a successful conference and the next couple of instalments went on without a hitch. Unfortunately, after a meeting a few years back in Manila, things kind of stopped. This year, the fifth chapter of the meeting was held, and the federation was resurrected.
Still, I was not sure of its fate in the coming years ...
I was invited on behalf of the MSH to present on AML in the Elderly. It was a short, 20 minutes affair which in the end had to be cut short because the speakers before me took too long. It caused a stir since one of the standard medication I am currently using is still not available in Indonesia. The discussion which followed was a lengthy one, probably longer than my talk.
I was also amongst the first to speak; hence I practically had the rest of the day just to listen and watch. The meeting was a combination of Transfusion Medicine, Laboratory Haematology and a bit of Oncology thrown into the mix. Some of the topics were clearly out of my area of practice. I just stayed and wait for some other colleagues to present.
On the whole, the topic was a mixture of common subjects and more cutting edge ones. The organiser was approachable and accommodating. However, I felt that the number of delegates could be more. Those who turned up were all local practitioners, certainly not in keeping with the ASEAN banner. But, I can’t really complain since this was a resurrection of the AFH. Hopefully, a more focused meeting could be had in the future once the Federation was back on its feet.
All in all, I am appreciative to be given the opportunity to come and talk. I had a wonderful discussion with the local delegates and consultants. Some collaborations were being discussed, although unfortunately, being in private practice, my avenues were limited. Gone were the days when I was professing at university, and such networking could easily be turned into something more concrete.