History of APSSEAR / APPA

The Association of Pediatric Societies of the South-East Asian Region (APSSEAR) was established with its mission of improving the health status of children living in the region and in surrounding areas.

It tries to fulfill its mission by establishing linkages amongst pediatricians in the region, providing them with educational programs to enable them to improve the services they provide and, at the same time advocating programs and health care services to provide overall benefit to children.

APSSEAR was formed on April 30,1974, at a meeting held in Manila, Philippines in conjunction with the First Asian Congress of Pediatrics. Membership of the organization would be confined only to National Pediatric Associations and if considered appropriate subspecialty societies of the region.

From an original fifteen member countries in 1974, it has now grown to 20 members.

On October 5th, 1974, APSSEAR sought for and was accepted as an Affiliate member of the International Pediatric Association (IPA).

The first President of APSSEAR was Dr Lino Ed. Lim (Philippines-1974-76) while Professor Dr Perla Santos Ocampo (Philippines-1974-2000) was its first Secretary-General.

The essential objectives of APSSEAR, as set out in its Constitution, are: “promotion of research in all aspects of Pediatrics, dissemination of knowledge in child health, organization of an Asian Congress of Pediatrics triennially, and enhancement of national Pediatric meetings.”

The Association established a four-point program of action to achieve its objectives:

1. Research in all aspects of Pediatrics
2. Dissemination of Pediatric Knowledge
3. Holding of an Asian Congress of Pediatrics every three years
4. Promotion of National Pediatric Meetings

There is however, one underlying goal for APSSEAR throughout the years: to identify and to responsively evolve in its roles to meet the needs and demands of members and the children within the region.

APSSEAR has achieved great success for the past 28 years in fulfilling its objectives and goals. This is the fruit of joint efforts of the Association’s pioneer workers, past presidents, office-bearers and, most importantly, of its members throughout the years.

The Association has also attained such regional and global recognition that the IPA has frequently held pre-congress workshops, inconjunction with the Asian Pediatric Congresses aimed at disseminating its output to a huge number of pediatricians.

The Congresses continue to bring together Asian pediatricians and has generally grown in size through the years with innovative modifications introduced to keep its relevance and meet the needs of both pediatricians and children of Asia

APSSEAR’s inaugural congress, The First Asian Congress of Pediatrics was held in Manila, Philippines from April 30-May 4, 1974.

It was hosted by the Philippine Pediatric Society with the theme: “Towards Optimum Health for Asian Children”.

The Congress was warmly acclaimed as a landmark in the development of Pediatrics in the South-East Asian Region. This success had encouraged the Association to go ahead with plans for the next triennial Congress.

To date, 11 Asian Congresses of Pediatrics had been held and all were concluded with great success.

The latest Asian Congress of Pediatrics (the Eleventh), was held in Bangkok, Thailand from November 2-7, 2003. The theme chosen: “Towards Unity for Quality Child Health” focused on the need for joint efforts of professionals to ensure quality health care for children.

In addition to the fascinating Asian Congresses of Pediatrics, there were excellent Pre-congress Workshops jointly organized by IPA, APSSEAR, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and arranged by the hosting member society.

These workshops were usually concluded with Resolutions being released on various aspects of child health. There were also Post-congress Workshops focusing on different pediatric problems.

Besides these Congresses and Workshops, keeping Asian pediatricians close to each other has also been attained by the unfailing, regular quarterly publication of the APSSEAR’s Bulletin where one gets to know what is going on in Asian Pediatrics.

A priority project since the start of the organization, the Bulletin serves as a strong link among members in between Congresses. Aside from featuring the latest in pediatric happenings in and out of the region, the APSSEAR Bulletin publishes resolution emanating from pediatric workshops and honors pediatricians in its section on “Leaders in Asian Pediatricians.”

It also encourages the publication of research findings, studies and other activities as well as information crucial to the needs of children and pediatricians.

Apart from that, Fellowships for young Pediatricians have also been established through APSSEAR by:

· The Division of Paediatrics, Royal Australasian College of Physicians - an annual Fellowship for a duration of 12 months
· Malaysian Paediatric Association – an annual Fellowship lasting 6 months to be taken in Malaysia, which started since 1998.
· Taiwan Pediatric Association – an annual Fellowship lasting 6 months in Taiwan. It started since year 2001.
And true to its mission, APSSEAR created Working Committees:

1. Injury and Injury Prevention
2. Child Abuse and Neglect
3. Rights of Child
4. Childhood Gastroenterology.

After 30 years of existence, it can be said that APSSEAR has successfully brought the leading practitioners of Paediatrics in the region closely together.

To reflect more appropriately the geographical situation of all the countries represented in the organization, the name Association of Pediatric Societies of the South-East Asian Region (APSSEAR) was changed to the Asian Pacific Pediatric Association (APPA) in 2003.