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IMU Organised Humanitarian Medical Mission Conference

17 Dec 2015

5 November 2015 – IMU organised the 1st IMU Humanitarian Medical Mission Conference at its Clinical School in Seremban. 200 participants including 60 external participants attended this conference. Beside IMU, other institutions participating in this conference include Monash University, Melaka Manipal Medical College, Newcastle University (NuMed), AIMST, Cyberjaya University College of Medical Sciences (CUCMS), Universiti Teknologi MARA, UNIMAS and Segi University. We also had a number of NGOs participating in the conference either as participants or exhibitors (IMARET, Tzu Chi, MSF).

This is the first conference of this nature by IMU, specifically organised to discuss medical humanitarian missions. It aims to promote and enhance the spirit of volunteerism and encourage others to work for a better and more peaceful world. Sharing of experience in organising, managing and executing humanitarian medical missions is also part of this conference.

The programme had three main themes: medical humanitarian missions in conflict areas, medical humanitarian missions during natural disasters and the value of humanitarian missions in health professional students’ training. Speakers are chosen from those who are experts in their fields and the ones who have basically ‘been there, done that and more’. H2 Invited speakers, Dato’ Dr Ahmad Faizal Perdaus (President, MERCY Malaysia) and Prof Dr Zainurrashid Zainuddin (Dean, IMU Clinical School and Consultant to Aman Palestine) spoke on medical humanitarian missions in conflict areas. Both speakers were very experienced and experts in their field with vast knowledge about the actual situations in the conflict areas. Their insightful talks were an eye-opener and most inspiring to the audience. Speakers for the second symposium were Dr Natasya Reyes from Medicine Sans Frontier, Dato’ Dr Lee Hoo Teong from the St Johns Ambulance Malaysia and Prof Philip George from IMU. Dr Natasya spoke about the various roles the MSF plays in humanitarian missions worldwide and provided first-hand information on the kind of works that volunteers do and the challenges they face in their line of work. Dato’ Lee enlightened the audience on something closer to home about the roles and challenges of St John’s Ambulance during natural disasters including the recent flood in Kelantan. Prof Philip George added valuable insights on psychological first aid during natural calamities and shared his experience on the work done in Indonesia and Nepal providing psychological care to the victims. Our community partner was represented by Tuan Haji Mohamad Jusoh, headmaster of SK Laloh who spoke about the events during the massive flood in Kuala Krai and gave the participants a first-hand account of what took place during the period. In the afternoon session, Dr Ng Poh Yin from the Tzu Chi Internal Medical Association shared the work done by the group in providing medical care to disadvantaged groups locally as well as in the international arena. She was most motivational in making the students see that their roles can go far beyond the hospitals or clinics.

For this afternoon session we were also proud to showcase two of our alumni who have been very active in their humanitarian projects. Dr Albert Ling who is now a house officer in the Sandakan Hospital took the time to join us and shared with the students how a single medical student can make such a difference in the lives of many by just looking at our own ‘backyard’ and planning simple but meaningful projects. Dr Sharmalathevi shared her experiences in performing surgery in the ‘field’ in the developing countries where medical services are not available to many.

The highlight of the conference was the students’ presentations of their humanitarian medical missions. We had presentations by IMU, CUCMS, NuMed and UNIMAS. IMU students presented on the Nepal and Kuala Krai missions. Related links: Malaysian Floods: IMU Deployed its Staff and Students to Disaster Zone IMU Staff and Students Responded to Devastating Floods in Malaysia DYMM Yang di-Pertuan Besar Negeri Sembilan Darul Khusus Confers Meritorious Service Medal on IMU Medical Alumnus

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