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PHA shines at AFCC 2016 in Yangon

CSMMA cited for superb role in the success of 21st AFC
YANGON, Oct. 16, 2016 -- The Cardiac Society Myanmar Medical Association (CSMMA) took on its hosting task of the 21st ASEAN Federation of Cardiology (AFC) Congress to the hilt. Themed “Working Together for Heart Health,” from Oct. 14-16, 2016, it was the first ever international confab conducted in Yangon, Myanmar, and turned out to be a qualified success.

AFC President Dr. Rosli Mohd Ali (Malaysia) and President-Elect Dr. Richard Ng (Singapore) hailed Myanmar for its major accomplishment considering that it was the first time it played host to the cardiac international conference.

One of the relatively younger member societies of the AFC, CSMMA was inducted as AFC member in 2007.

CSMMA President Prof. Myint Soe Win and AFCC 2016 Organizing Committee Chair Dr. Khin Maung Lwin lined up topics that covered all the disciplines in cardiology. The lectures on preventive cardiology, cardiac imaging, cardiac arrhythmias, coronary heart disease, general cardiology, hypertension, lipid, interventional cardiology, valvular heart disease, cardiac surgery, cardiac anesthesia including intensive care, cardiac rehabilitation, pediatric cardiology and women’s health were interspersed with international and ASEAN perspectives.

The AFC Council members cited the excellent line-up of topics -- state-of-the-art guidelines, particularly the ones tackled by key speakers from the American College of Cardiology and the European Society of Cardiology, and the presentation of local/regional advancements, statistics and clinical outcomes from the newer members – Vietnam, Cambodia, Brunei and Myanmar.
Another highlight of the AFC Congress was the AFC Council meeting (wherein the officers/representatives from Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore. Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia and Brunei, discussed ongoing programs, future plans and overall direction (like opportunities for improvement and finances) and the election of the AFC president and the candidate that won the bid to be President-Elect was Dr. Anwar Santoso of Indonesia.

The Council also sees to it that in any activity, the ASEAN spirit and camaraderie remain strong among the members.

The PHA has always been a fixture in AFC conventions. This year, representing the PHA Board were Drs. Raul Lapitan and Nannette Rey, president and secretary, respectively. Dr. Eleanor Lopez, past president of the PHA and AFC, had been newly appointed as member of the AFC Advisory Board, which is composed of past presidents of the AFC. The PHA is one of the founding members of the 43-year-old organization.

Pinoy cardios stand out
Speakers from the Philippines were tapped as lecturers during the pre-convention and convention scientific sessions. The Echo Workshop was conducted by the ASEAN Society of Echocardiography (under the auspices of the AFC) with ASEAN Echo chair Dr. Edwin Tucay (Philippine Society of Echocardiography president and former PHA Council on Echocardiography chair) overseeing the activity. Tucay talked about “Echocardiographic Assessment of Tricuspid Valve-Evaluation in Adults” while Dr. Ronald Cuyco lectured on “Echocardiography of a Patient with Stroke. Cuyco is the current PHA Council on Echocardiography chair.

For the regular scientific sessions, the faculty from the Philippines with their topics were Drs. Rey for “Anti-Coagulation for Valvular and Non-Valvular Atrial Fibrillation – Is there a Difference?”; Edward-Bengie Magsombol for “The Role of Myocardial Perfusion Imaging in Following Up the Benefits of Extracorporeal Shockwave Myocardial Revascularization (ESMR)”; Ma. Adelaida Iboleon-Dy for “ACS among Filipino Women”; Aurelia Leus for “Challenges in Management of RF-RHD”; and Robin Flores for “The Progress of Cardiac Surgery: A Perspective from a Developing Nation.”

At the Young Investigators Award contest, Dr. Lorielyn Mandigma, a pediatric cardiologist, represented the PHA. Mandigma was 2016 PHA YIA winner for her paper on “Correlation or Right Ventricular Strain Imaging Parameters with Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging Parameters in the Assessment of Right Ventricular Function among Repaired Tetralogy of Fallot Patients.” One of the opportunities extended by the PHA to YIA winners is the submission of their papers to the AFC YIA and supporting their travel to participate in the regional contest.
The AFC inducted the new Fellows of the ASEAN College of Cardiology during the Convocation and Opening Ceremonies. They were: Drs. Jorge Sison, Rey, Orlando Bugarin, Tucay and Cuyco.

The traditional Fellowship or Gala Night on the third night of the congress was a kaleidoscopic social event. Member countries performed dance and song numbers that exhibited their rich and vibrant cultures. Malaysia and Singapore tied for first prize.
At the end of the evening, the AFC Council announced that the next AFC congress would be hosted by the Brunei Cardiac Society on November 3-5, 2017. Gina Capili-Inciong
History of the AFC, AFCC

The representatives of five national heart associations (NHA) that formed the AFC in 1973 were Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. A non-political organization, it aims to improve the standard and practice of cardiology in the ASEAN region.
Council members composed of the President, Vice President, Secretary-General, Treasurer, Immediate Past President and President and Secretary-General from the NHA member-countries run the Federation.

In 2004, Vietnam was accepted as the sixth member. Subsequently, Myanmar and Laos were accepted as members in 2007. The Cambodia Heart Association and Brunei Cardiac Society were the latest additional to the AFC family.

The first AFC Congress was held in Bali, Indonesia in 1975 under the leadership of Dr. Sukaman Sumaryone who subsequently became the first AFC president. Previously, the congress was held biennially among the member countries and the chairman of the organizing committee of the preceding congress becomes the President of the Federation.

Given the current number of member countries, the AFC Council recently decided to hold the congress every year and that the selection of the AFC President would be conducted through an election by the officers of the AFC Council from among the nominees submitted by the NHAs.
It was during the 6th ASEAN Congress held in Indonesia in 1986 that two traditional events were initiated. The first was the Young Investigator’s Award which is a scientific paper competition presented by authors below 40 years of age from ASEAN member countries. Representatives from Indonesia and Thailand emerged as the first recipients of the award.

The second event was the Sukaman Lecture named after the first AFC President Dr. Sukaman Sumaryone. The first lecture was the “Trend of Cardiovascular Problems in ASEAN.” The subsequent Sukaman Lecturer was selected from other member countries and not from the host country. The title of the lecture was later changed to Sukaman Memorial Lecture after Sukaman’s death in 1987.

The Philippines played host to the 2nd AFC Congress in 1977 with Dr. Avelino Aventura as the AFC President. In 1998, the 12th AFC Congress with the theme “ASEAN Cardiology in the Heart of the Next Millennium” was held in the Philippines under the helm of then AFC President Dr. Antonio Sibulo. The 18th AFC Congress held in Cebu in 2010 had Dr. Eleanor Lopez as AFC President who worked on the theme “Confronting Changes and Challenges in Cardiology: An ASEAN Perspective.”

PHA exec Ricky Alegre named DOT Asec

Business Mirror Vice President for Corporate Affairs and PHA VP for External Affairs Frederick Alegre, was appointed as Assistant Secretary for Media Affairs of the Department of Tourism (DOT) on September 5, 2016.

Along with four other appointees, DOT Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo swore in Alegre at the DOT Building in Makati City.

Alegre brings with him to DOT his extensive experience as a media and management expert and the niche he has established in mass media. Alegre stated that ushering in a different direction in his career had not been easy, considering his eclectic affiliation with the media.
He shares that wife, Cathy, said that, indeed, the job “needs a lot of weighing. I know you have made sacrifices for your political aspirations because you’ve put us first, so if this is what you want, we will back you up and leave the rest to God,” Alegre relayed, reflecting on how his family was hesitant about his decisions at first, but ultimately supported him in this significant and honorable endeavor.

Before the DOT posting, Alegre also served as board director of the United Printers Media Group (UPMG) which he also formerly headed – ranks he vacated to fulfill his new role in government.

True enough, his contributions to the media sector have culminated to his promotion as a spokesperson for something as media-centric and –heavy sector such as the tourism industry.
Prior to his shot at larger positions, he was a renowned reporter for the Philippine Star before pursuing a career within the Cabangon Group of Companies that include the Business Mirror, Philippine Graphic Publications, Inc., where he served as an Employee Value Proposition and Chief Operating Officer.

Throughout all these, Alegre still stays true as a staunch PHA supporter, as he assured PHA “I am not going away, I am just around. I am so proud to have been part of PHA, the most systematic organizations I’ve known,”

"After 30 years in media this July, I can dedicate my time to my country, also in media, as DOT Assistant Secretary for Media and Spokesman,” Alegre remarked.

PHA Western Visayas-Panay Chapter
Media links, social services tops
Besanes-Almeñana’s agenda

ILOILO CITY, August 6, 2016 -- The Philippine Heart Association Western Visayas Panay Chapter is coming in strong with its leader – Dr. Rhodelyn Besanes-Almeñana, at the helm from 2016-2018.
Almeñana took her oath before PHA President Dr. Raul Lapitan who flew from Manila to grace this significant occasion which was witnessed by PHA past President Dr. Joel Abanilla, a native of Iloilo and past chapter presidents and members, some PHA staff and guests from Servier Pharmaceuticals and Abbott Laboratories. The oath-taking rites were held at the Richmonde Hotel, Megaworld Blvd. corner Enterprise Road, Mandurriao, Iloilo.

Likening her new mission to President Rodrigo Duterte’s continuance of the accomplishments of past administrations in her inaugural speech, the very articulate Besanes-Almeñana called on her fellow Ilonggos’ “very active participation” because “the success and future of our chapter does not solely lie on me” as she added Peter Parker’s all too familiar line, “With great power comes great responsibility.”

She emphasized the need to network with media in achieving objectives and prolific results. “I think it’s time to be more involved in our cardio newspaper, social media and make TV exposures on local channels even just during Sundays of the Heart Month,” which will be her term’s primary goal.

Almeñana also described the prospect for broadening the reach of the Chapter’s missions outside of the clinic through social services. Looking back, she said the Chapter did it during the Yolanda aftermath. Moreover, she described how past chapter Christmas Parties had the Don Bosco Foundation as beneficiaries. She hopes “to do more of this social services advocacy by being enthusiastic in these real life rewarding activities.”

In relation to internal operations, she aspires to “initiate discussion and brainstorm the ideas presented for the benefit of our patients” with regards to administrative and medical updates and guidelines among cardiologists and other colleagues.

“When I joined the PHA strategic planning, the idea that was inculcated in my mind is to be ambitious, in a way of dreaming to be the best chapter once again after several years from the time of Dr. Palmes, but realistic,” Almeñana said. “One of my driving forces to be a cardiologist, aside from idolizing my mentors plus the FPCP (and) FPCC, are the happy memories during my training years,” the Chapter President cited, referring to her residency training years in internal medicine and fellowship training years in cardiology.

With a brief background into her small town beginnings as an achieving medical aspirant and, now, as a mother, Almeñana took pride over the legacy left by past chapter presidents endowed upon her induction which she strives to continue.

A few in particular is the Best Chapter recognition awarded to the PHA-WV Panay Chapter steered by Dr. Patricio Palmes. Prior, Dr. Louie Tirador introduced the memorable Lakad Puso event held annually each February, and even the nightly chapter intermissions and dancing competitions which Almeñana herself excelled in.

Quoting once again the words of the Duterte administration, Besanes-Almañana said of her new lead in the PHA-WV Panay Chapter that “the ride will be rough. But come and join me just the same. Together, shoulder to shoulder, let us take the first wobbly steps in this quest,” and reminded the crowd to “dream, learn and achieve the good and hearty things together.”

Fellow’s Interactive Case Presentation
More than just a heart ache

MANDALUYONG CITY, Aug. 24, 2016 – PHA held its monthly Cardiology fellows-in-training Interactive Case presentation, this time reaching-out to fellows-in-training in Cebu via teleconference at the Unilab Bayanihan Center, Pioneer St., Mandaluyong City.

The case discussion titled “More than just a Heart Ache” tackled the thought-provoking case of a 20-year-old female with palpitations whose other symptoms mimicked myocarditis, food poisoning and acute gastroenteritis, among others. After a series of tests, it turned out that the palpitations and other discomfort of the patient were triggered by a small but virulent adrenaline mass.

The case was presented by Dr. Alexander Reyes from the UST Hospital while the reactor was Dr. Banisadar Mukaram from Chinese General Hospital. Dr. Elaine Cunanan, an endocrinologist from the UST Hospital was the clincher in this particular case.

The Interactive Case Presentation is a program of the Sub-CEPC committee chaired by PHA Board Director Dr. Gilbert Vilela.
This particular activity gathered well-respected names in local cardiology -- PHA President Dr. Raul Lapitan, former training officer, Makati Medical Center; Dr. Milagro Yamamoto, head, Cardio Section, UST Hospital; Dr. Orlando Bugarin, PHA director/CEPC chair; and Vilela, department manager for Education, Training and Research, Philippine Heart Center.

The topic and presence of clinician-academicians par excellence made the night doubly challenging and stimulating, said Lapitan and Bugarin.

Vilela took the fellows to a virtual tour of the whole-year fellows-in-Training activities (Refresher Course, Real World Practice) and for his parting words, he said “the Board would like to say we are with you in your review.“

In attendance were 120 fellows-in-training from Philippine Heart Center, St. Luke’s Medical Center, The Medical City, UP-PGH, UST Hospital, Manila Doctors Hospital, Makati Medical Center, Chinese General Hospital, University of Perpetual Dalta, DLSU Medical Center, Mary Mediatrix and Angeles University Foundation.

At the Quest Hotel in Cebu, the participants were fellows from Perpetual Succour and Chong Hua Hospital. This was the first attempt at enjoining other fellows outside Metro Manila via teleconferencing for the PHA’s regular conference for cardiology fellows who are still in training.


Dr. Raul Lapitan

PHILIPPINE HEART ASSOCIATION Stand On House Bill 4144 or The Anti-Health Amendments of The Sin Tax Law

The passage of the Sin Tax Law has come to be one of the monumental feats reached in the last 10 years in the history of Philippine legislation for two main reasons: First, It introduced a systematic approach towards reconditioning Filipino consumers’ choices that is actually conducive to health best practices. And 2. it successfully showcased the country’s ability of instituting a mandate careening towards healthier individuals and healthier communities.


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