Rebecca Jacob, President ASPA Asian Society of Paediatric Anaesthesiologists/ASPA

The Society has come a long way since a small group of us started it in Singapore way back in the year 2000. With a membership of over 300 spread over many countries in Asia we are hoping to make the Society more meaningful in the care of our children undergoing anaesthesia and surgery.
Annual meetings have been held each year, since inception, in different countries in Asia. In 2012 we held the first ‘brainstorming’ workshop in Singapore. Since then we have held ’Train the trainers’, ‘Safe anaesthesia’ and ‘Management of Perioperative Crises’ workshops in many countries along with BLS training for nurses and first responders across the region. The workshops consist of short focused talks, case discussions and skill stations. A special thanks should go to Dr Agnes Ng who has done a great job in co-ordinating requests for the workshops, organizing the teams of trainers and in short ‘making it happen’. A special mention should be made that the trainers who give of their time and expertise are also self funded. A laudable effort.
Identifying the child at risk, planning and discussion with all stake-holders and designing an appropriate strategy is required to reduce perioperative risks as well as morbidity and mortality. Just as important is recognizing one’s limitation in managing, and asking for expert or additional assistance in reducing the risks of anaesthesia. However, even in the best of hands, perioperative crises do occur, and early identification and effective management may prevent crises from escalating to a cardiac arrest. To this end the PAN PLS course was initiated. The aim of the PAN PLS Course organized by Asian Society of Paediatric Anaesthesiologists is to assist anaesthetists who manage children undergoing surgery to anticipate, prevent and manage perioperative related cardiac arrest in children.
Over the last couple of years Agnes and I, with advice from the education committee, have tried to co-ordinate the talks and make them simple and uniform while permitting the speaker the latitude of making it his or her own presentation. A printed manual on the management of perioperative crises is now available to complement the slides, talks, discussions and skill stations. (We soon hope to have an updated soft copy available). We also hope to have the teaching material translated into different languages to make it easier for local faculty and participants to interact better and make the learning objectives easier to understand.
The next step has been to handover the training workshops to ASPA members of a particular country who have agreed to have one core ASPA member responsible for organizing the workshops, train other trainers, maintain the basic training standards and provide a feedback to the parent body annually. This has already started in Malaysia, the Philippines, India and will soon start in other countries who have requested this – Thailand, Turkey, Indonesia and perhaps Sri Lanka.
ASPA is now affiliated to the WFSA and pediatric anaesthesia societies and special interest groups in Asia have sought affiliation to ASPA namely, Philippines, Malaysia, India and Indonesia. This can be processed if there is a request to the President and EXCO along with registration details of the society in their own country.
We are slowly seeing the fruits of our labor with more anaesthetists from countries in Asia showing an interest in special training in paediatric anaesthetists. However, we are still a long way from providing safe anaesthesia for all children in our region.