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Background of the Malaysian Society of Allergy and Immunology

The humble beginnings of the Malaysian Society of Allergy and Immunology can be traced back to a small but dedicated group of doctors and healthcare personnel. They gathered at the Royal Lake Club on several occasions in the 1996 to formulate a plan.

The group shared the view that whilst Malaysia had undergone rapid and remarkable economic development and accordingly an advancing medical field, we remained lacking in a conjoint inter-disciplinary fraternity dealing with Allergy and Immunology.

Allergy presents a multi speciality problem - both, on the global and regional levels. In many other parts of the world, societies/academies and even colleges of Allergy and Immunology have been in existence for decades. These founders drafted the constitution and formed the Malaysian Society of Allergy and Immunology, which was officially registered on May 5, 1997 to provide better patient care and Quality of Life (QOL) to the sufferers of allergic diseases and their families.

The next milestone was to be its most auspicious - on December 13, 1998, the President of the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Prof S. G. O. Johansson, officially launched the Society at the Palace of the Golden Horses, Kuala Lumpur.

After a very successful First Malaysian Congress of Allergy and Immunology as well as the many Allergy Road Shows in Malaysia, the society has now embarked on organizing its' Second Congress. This is indeed an important activity, with allergic diseases becoming a global epidemic and to assimilate rapid advances in this field being imperative.

Launch Of MSAI

The Malaysian Society of Allergy & Immunology was launched in a grand and enchanting atmosphere by Professor Dr. Johansson who is the co-discoverer of the IgE molecule. A total of 160 clinical specialist including all MSAI members from various parts of Malaysia attended the launch. The event which was covered by the media, was a great success and memorable occasion. We reproduce here the message from Professor Dr. S.G.O. Johansson on the occasion of the launch of MSAI.

The guest lecture by Professor Dr. Johansson touched on many aspect of the past, present and future trends in the field of allergy. The lecture entitled "Allergy-A Diagnostic Dilemma" discussed the origin of the term 'allergy' and how its meaning has changed from the time it was coined. allergy now only refers to hypersensitivity reactions mediated by immunological mechanisms. The discovery of the IgE molecule as a new class of immunoglobulin with a relationship to allergy created the foundation for the rapid progress in the immune mechanism of atopic allergy. He added that advances in in-vitro testing techniques improved diagnosis and set a higher standard of laboratory support for the clinician to treat allergy patients. The allergen specific diagnosis and treatment approach to allergy and non-allergy hypersensitivity is essential to all allergists. While the awareness to the prevalence of allergy in the community is increasing yet the doctors specialised in allergy diseases is decreasing world wide. He suggested that this dilemma can best be handled by the development of allergy networks in the hands of responsible allergists.

He predicted that in the next millennium patients would have more access to information on allergy via the internet and other media. Research studies on allergy would provide better understanding of the underlying mechanisms of sensitisation and the development of the allergy process. New modes of treatment would be available including the treatment schedule aimed at eliminating the IgE molecule from circulation.

The responsibility for the management of the allergy would shift from the clinic to the home where the family as a unit will have to develop strategies to avoid environment and food allergens. As the new millennium nears we can already see many changes in the allergy front.

The President of MSAI, Dato Dr. S. Harnam in his welcome address stressed that a major objective of MSAI is to advance the knowledge, encourage the study an d the practice of allergy in Malaysia with full co-operation of physicians, support groups, corporate bodies, and other interested groups. In this regard he invited doctors to join MSAI so that it can carry out its activities with wider support. The President summarised several activities that MSAI has done in the last year which included the organisation of the Allergy Symposium, release of an interactive newsletter, organisation of talks and supporting international speakers on allergy. He added that MSAI was delighted and honored that professor Dr. Johansson had graciously agreed to launch the Society. He thanked Professor Johansson for taking time off from his busy schedule to be in Malaysia for the occasion. At the end of his introduction Dato. Harnam invited the honoured guest to break the ice sculpting which contained the scroll listing the names of the founder members of MSAI. While hacking at the ice Professor Johansson commented that ice breaking is a regular forced exercise around the house in Sweden because of the long winter months but he least expected to do more of it in Malaysia. The 20 course Chinese dinner followed.

More entertainment was to follow. A dance artist, Aida Reza, was invited to express the suffering of an allergy patient in art form. What followed was an unforgettable experience. The dance and music expressed the pain and suffering of the patient who go through the disease over prolonged periods. The disease flares up and then subsides to flare up again. The itch becomes unbearable and the person scratches and scratches. The music and dance expressed the twists and turns the disease takes sub-clinically and clinically. many of the spectators were left speechless at the end of the show.

The evening ended in the song 'Allergies'. Paul Simon composed and performed this piece of song in 1982. In this heart-rendering song he expresses, 'My hand can't touch a guitar string. My fingers just burn and ache. - Something's living on my skin' and much more. Paul Simon suffered from allergies and thus he could pour out his feelings aptly on the disease. We thank Mr Tony Fernandez of Warner Music (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd for permission to play the song. The participants were amazed that MSAI managed to find a song about our favorite topic. The launch ended with a vote of thanks for the individuals involved in the organization of the event and participants for making the evening a success.

Aims and Objectives of MSAI

The humble beginnings of the Malaysian Society of Allergy and Immunology can be traced back to a small but dedicated group of doctors and healthcare personnel. They gathered at the Royal Lake Club on several occasions in the 1996 to formulate a plan.

The group shared the view that whilst Malaysia had undergone rapid and remarkable economic development and advances in the medical field, we remained lacking in a conjoint inter-disciplinary fraternity dealing with Allergy and Immunology.

Allergy presents a multi speciality problem - both, on global and regional levels. In many other parts of the world, societies/academies and even colleges of Allergy and Immunology have been in existence for decades.

These founders drafted the constitution and formed the Malaysian Society of Allergy and Immunology, which was officially registered on May 5, 1997 to provide better patient care and Quality of Life (QOL) to the sufferers of allergic diseases and their families.

The next milestone was to be its most auspicious - on December 13, 1998, the President of the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Prof S. G. O. Johansson, officially launched the Society at the Palace of the Golden Horses, Kuala Lumpur.

Since that memorable night, the Society has been working to get involved globally, to disseminate information on allergy and to keep abreast at regional and international levels.

After a very successful First Malaysian Congress of Allergy and Immunology as well as the many Allergy Road Shows in Malaysia, the society has now embarked on organizing its' Second Congress. This is indeed an important activity. With allergic diseases becoming a global epidemic, to assimilate rapid advances in this field has become imperative.


 
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