In his welcoming remarks, Brunei Cardiac Society President Dato Paduka Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar noted that the three-day congress was being held in conjunction with the Brunei Cardiac Society Annual Scientific Meeting and Gleneagles JPMC Congress.
The Minister of Health gave a speech during the opening ceremony of the congress, in which he said, “Many studies have shown that the vast majority of patients who have undergone cardiac interventions do not make the necessary lifestyle changes to reduce cardiovascular risks. How then, can we drive the importance of secondary and tertiary prevention down to practitioners, that it is reflected in the patients’ behaviour?”
Since cardiac rehabilitation and behavioral modification are integral parts of the intervention, the minister said that he hoped to see these important topics being discussed during the congress.
He also mentioned that Brunei Darussalam had chaired the Asean Health Ministers Meeting and other related conferences last September, where the alarming levels of obesity across the region was high on the agenda.
He noted, “Sedentary lifestyles, unhealthy diets, lack of physical activity and smoking are all known preventable risk factors, which need urgent attention. The challenges in addressing these issues are not faced by only one single state alone, but concern us all, and as such, our response to this challenge must be a collective one.”
With knowledge-sharing across national borders being one key tool towards addressing these concerns, the minister concluded his speech on the hope that the Asean Federation of Cardiology (AFC) and the Brunei Cardiac Society would play their respective roles in furthering the agenda towards a more healthy Asean.
The first day of the congress featured senior members from the European Society of Cardiology sharing their best practices, while leading experts from the United States gave a demonstration of 3D echocardiography in the evaluation of heart disease.
The second day showcased live cases from the Gleneagles JPMC, in addition to a session led by the European Society of Cardiology and the Echo ASE Asean.
The third and final day of the event covered talks and lectures ranging from ECG sessions, hypertension and the Asia-Pacific Heart Rhythm Society.
Datuk Dr Richard Ng, the President of the Asean Federation of Cardiology during an interview with the Bulletin on the sidelines of the congress shared with said that the AFC has been established for over 40 years.
“Over these four decades or so, we have been very cooperative and happy in sharing, in exchanging and in collaborating in our cardiology projects, in terms of sharing data, clinical knowledge, practice of medicine, and some research publications as well.”
All this, he said, is in order to improve the care of cardiac patients in the whole Asean region. “The future looks even more promising, as now we have all 10 countries in Asean joining the AFC, where we hope to be able to understand the pattern of diseases, type of diseases, how they respond to certain types of treatment, devices, surgery, and other ways of preventive medicine as well.”
“In the region as a whole and in each country in particular, basically in Asean we all share the same many risk factors together.”
On Brunei Darussalam’s role in the AFC, he said, “I think Brunei, although it is a new member and relatively small in terms of cardiological numbers, is very important and it’s a very balancing community and works very well with every country.”
He said that Brunei’s contribution to the federation will also be important. “Because it is a small compact community, it is easier to be able to analyse and review the data and the treatment, and you have a very dynamic team of cardiac surgeon and cardiologists, technicians, nurses, and I see that the emphasis is not just on the modern technology and treatment, but to be able to go a step or two ahead of it.”
“I think Brunei’s emphasis on preventive cardiology, such as preventing all the risk factors that lead to heart disease is very important. Things like not smoking, not taking too much sugar and not being overweight.”
Datuk Dr Ng shared, “I think the future is very bright for Bruneian cardiology, because generally you are able to provide very good healthcare at very affordable prices to all the people.”
Elaborating further, he provided the example that in Brunei the situation is such that people who need certain healthcare and certain expensive equipment get that healthcare. “And because of that you are in a much better position than many countries where the basic healthcare, even for simple medicine, is not available.”
“So your advancement and progress I think will be quite rapid, relatively speaking,” he went on to add.
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