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UAA 2019: Urologists call for improved standard, shared care with GPs

Pank Jit Sin
28 May 2019
The 17th Urological Association of Asia Congress will take place from the 7 to 10 August 2019 at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. This year, the theme is ‘Unifying Asia thru Urology’ and will be the second time Malaysia plays host to the prestigious regional congress, with the last being 2002. Close to 2,000 participants are expected for the congress, which will be one of the most inclusive urological congresses to date. MIMS Doctor spoke to Congress Chairman Dato’ Dr Rohan Malek and Dato’ Dr Selvalingam Sothilingam, president of the Malaysian Urological Association (MUA) for their thoughts on the upcoming conference.

“It’s a great honour to be selected as a host country for the UAA congress. It definitely wasn’t an easy task as we had to bid for hosting rights and we were up against other interested member countries,” said Dato’ Dr Rohan Malek.

The UAA which was formed in 1990, has 26 member countries. Conscious effort was made by the organizers to make the conference as accessible as possible to all member countries. “We want to bring everyone together,” said Rohan. “This includes participants from the Category C member countries among others.” Category C is a UN classification for developing economies with low income. For participants from these countries, there will be an incentive of lower registration fees. Additionally, participants especially from these countries can also apply for a few travel grants provided they submit an application with an abstract for presentation.

Rohan said GPs with special interest in urology are also welcomed to attend the Congress. He alluded to the ageing of the population in Malaysia. By 2040, Malaysia will have 11.5 percent of her population above the 65-year mark. As age creeps up, so too does comorbidities and age-related diseases such as incontinence, benign prostate hyperplasia, prostate cancer and overactive bladder. More healthcare professionals will be needed to cater to the rise in such cases.

According to Selvalingam, specialists and GPs will have to embark on shared care of the patients. He said it was impossible for urologists to handle all cases on their own and a model where patients are referred to specialists for complications and then referred back to GPs for monitoring, is the way forward. Selvalingam said: “Part of the goal [of the congress] is to create awareness in GPs of urological complications so that they can refer patients when necessary.”

Regional congresses such as the UAA serves as a learning platform for healthcare professionals to learn and catch up with cutting edge technology and procedures. Rohan said: “Some technologies such as robotic surgery is already well established in Western countries but in Asia, we are still catching up.”

Activities abound
The congress will incorporate the Asian Urology Residency course for trainee Urologists nominated by their country of origin. There will also be a Youth programme for newly qualified and junior urologists. The programme serves as a platform to build new leaders in the field. Finally, there are sessions to cater for nurses and paramedics, too, said Selvalingam. They will have a lower registration fees. However, they can choose to attend the rest of the conference for personal development.

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