13th Asia Pacific Hospice Conference 2019 in Surabaya, Indonesia

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Written by: Trudy Giam, APHN Executive

Edited by: Djin Tay, APHN Volunteer Editor

“Bringing hope to those in despair” was the theme at the 13th Asia Pacific Hospice Conference (APHC) this year, which took place from 1-4 August 2019 in Surabaya, Indonesia.

The conference was co-organised by the Indonesian Palliative Society (MPI) and Asia Pacific Hospice Palliative Care Network (APHN) with the aim of enhancing knowledge in hospice palliative care and networking within the region. The APHC 2019 and its related activities in Surabaya was supported by the Provincial Government of East Java, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Tourism.

The event brought together some 575 people from 24 different countries to participate in a plethora of activities revolving around palliative care such as plenary sessions, workshops and more. In addition, it provided an incredible opportunity for networking, forging new friendships and catching up with familiar faces. It was attended by general practitioners and specialists, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare workers, medical and nursing students, and volunteers involved in palliative care internationally.

The conference kicked off with an opening ceremony which was witnessed by the Mayor of Surabaya, Dr. Tri Rismaharini. Under her leadership, Surabaya has officially opened a Palliative Park for the locals. There have been weekly activities conducted to advocate for Palliative care. After the opening speech by Dr. Dradjat R.Suardi (Chairman, Organising Committee of APHC 2019) and Dr Cynthia Goh (Chairman, APHN), the audiences were greeted by exciting performances including cultural dances and songs. The peak of the performance was none other than the Angklung performance by the children beneficiaries in Surabaya.

Over the course of four days, participants were treated to lectures by world-renowned palliative care experts. Each of the pre-conference workshops and main conference sessions were specially curated to cover different areas of palliative care. Following the lectures were the question and answer segments where participants could engage with the subject matter experts to clarify any doubts. Participants also had a chance to consult some of the speakers during the Meet-the-Expert sessions. There were also sessions conducted in Mandarin and Bahasa Indonesia for some of the foreign and local delegates.

The presentations and discussions underscored the importance of palliative care and how a continuous effort to learn has an enormous impact on improving palliative care around the world.

On the third day of the conference, we had the honor of attending the APHC Gala Dinner hosted by the Mayor of Surabaya herself at Surabaya City Hall. The guests were treated to a magnificent evening of entertainment, fun and dinner. Spectacular performances by talented groups and individuals of all ages were put up throughout the evening.

The fourth and final day of the conference drew to a close after a morning of lectures and everyone gathered for the closing ceremony. The ceremony started off by awarding the winners of the poster and oral presentations. Dr Dradjat R. Suardi then delivered his ending speech to express his gratitude for the hard work that everyone had put in to achieve such a successful conference. Following the speech was the ceremonial handing over of the APHC plaque to the next host country representative. As APHC 2021 will be held in Kobe, Japan, Professor Tetsuo Kashiwagi, the representative of the Japan team, received the plaque.

The Japanese team took to the stage to promote the next session of APHC and warmly welcomed everyone to attend APHC 2021 in Kobe. The event concluded with the Japanese team inviting the audience to join in “Ippon-zime”, a traditional custom of ceremonial hand clapping performed at the end of a special event, to bring a cheerful and lively closing.

We hope to see you all at APHC 2021 in Kobe, Japan!

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