22nd August 2013. Thursday.
22nd August marked the beginning of the Asia Pacific Pharmaceutical Symposium 2013 which was held in Tokyo, Japan. The registration process was held in the lobby of the hotel where the participants were staying throughout this event. Welcoming Party was also held on the same night which gathered all participants from different countries for the first time. There were few performances from the committees which reflect their cultures and heritage. The participants were then divided into groups and enjoyed some games which allowed everyone to get to know their group members and make new friends. Besides, we also got to know the Asia Pacific Regional Officers who have been working hard for this tenure before giving the positions to a new line up.
23rd August 2013. Friday.
The opening ceremony started at 9.30am with the speech from:
1. Ms. Marika Yamada (The President of Reception Committee)
2. Mr. Daisuke Kobayashi (President of APS-Japan),
3. Mr. Geoffrey Chai (Chairperson of IPSF-Apro)
4. Mr. Eric Soo (IPSF Chairperson of Profesional Development)
5. Mr. Akira Uehara (President of Taisho Pharmaceutical Company)
6. Mr. Takashi Kodama (President of Japan Pharmaceutical Association)
7. Mr. Yoshio Tanaka (Vice President of Toho University)
Briefly, most important point touched by each of them is the importance to form pharmaceutical alliances all over Asia in order to solve critical diseases through self medication, vaccination, home medication and community services. Then, we had coffee break and the first symposium entitled ‘Purpose and Issues of Self-Medication in an Aging Society’ presented by Mr. Akira Uehara, started at 11am. It is important for the aging society to practice self-medication at home through OTC products as it helps to prevent lifestyle related disease. Thus, consumers must be aware about their current condition through regular check-ups and balance diet. Yes, the health care providers do promote consultation on how to use the product correctly and about having healthy lifestyle. However, with self-medication the burden of health care providers will be lightened as it facilitate in early detection for genetic and lifestyle-related diseases. Lastly, most self-medication OTC products are cheaper than real treatments itself. Through consuming OTC products and right consultation, the nation health rate can be improved.
Then, we had our lunch and the first workshop which is poster session started at 1.00pm. However, there was time management problem during this workshop that we were unable to present our poster. As there were total of 6 students involved in this poster session, we divided ourselves into 2 main presenters and the rest 4 of us will remain in the longue explaining our poster at the booth. Sadly, as we were the last group and due to time constrict our 2 main presenters were unable to present the poster. Though it is quite disappointing, we already taken some actions as we made complained to the committee on duty.
At night, we faced another disappointment as the international night was being carried out at inappropriate place, which is at pub. However, the performances really make our night shines as we could enjoy numerous performances from all different countries.
24th August 2013. Saturday.
There were few workshops held from 9am till 10.30 am. Those are the Health Economics, Drug Poisoning, Diabetes, Official Clinical Skills Event, and Invitation to Drug Discovery. The Health Economics was delivered by Mr. Ataru Igarashi and the workshop was all about the concept of pharmacoeconomics, role of health economic evaluation, current issues in medication pricing and reimbursement scheme
As for the Drug Poisoning workshop, it was delivered by Mari Takashima and this workshop was held so that participants could share their ideas and opinions on the reality of drug poisoning in the health field, and the different measures that can be adopted to minimize this risk. The other workshop entitled The Role of The Pharmacist in Diabetes Management held by Mr. Isao Saito. During this workshop, participants had learnt the diagnosis criteria of diabetes and associated risk factors, current management practices of diabetics, the role of pharmacists in taking preventative action against developing diabetes, the role of pharmacists to help patients in improving their quality of life and achieving optimal health.
As for the Invitation to Drug Discovery, it was delivered by Ms. Eri Sekine and the workshop was targeted at students who were interested in pharmaceutical industry and drug regulation in government setting .In Self Management & Pharmacy workshop which revolved around the topic how pharmacists can help improve self-management by Mr. Kohei Shoji, it is mostly focused on the different types of services pharmacists can implement in improving a patient’s awareness and interest in their health.
The Official Clinical Skills Event was held for beginner and advanced. A total of 7 cases in different stations presented to be answered. In beginner level, Nur Atiqah Hasman Yusri from IIUM won the first place. In Pharmacy Profession Awareness Campaign (PPAC) workshop, it was like an outreach to the community in Japan. It aimed to increase public’s awareness of the pharmacy profession, and also highlighted the value of pharmacist in the delivery of healthcare.
25th August 2013. Sunday.
On the third day, the workshops and symposiums continued. The Global Health workshop, which was the workshop with the longest duration in APPS Japan, was highly anticipated by the participants. The workshop was about the diseases around the world and the problem faced in treating those diseases. The volunteerism was highly stressed on in this workshop. The participants were not only given knowledge related to the diseases, we, too, were taught on the project cycle method. This method is a theory that can be used widely in conducting projects and solving problems in large scale. The second symposium was divided into two parts. The first part of the symposium focused on how we, as the pharmacists, can play a role in making the world a better place. It is widely known that many deadly disease are still incurable, thus, it is our job to deal with this problem. The role of pharmacists as researchers is very crucial in order to make better drugs. The second part of the symposium discussed on the research in neuropathic pain and neuralgia which currently conducted in Japan. The researchers found the new concept on how neuropathic pain happens which may give a strong impact in diagnosis and management of neuropathic pain.
26th August 2013. Monday.
Finally the day that we most longing for had come. It was the forth day of the symposium. It was the Explore Japan time! The field trip was a time for everyone to relax and enjoy the busy schedule of APPS programme. Participants were divided into 3 divisions based on the groups that had been given earlier during the welcoming night. Groups A-D visited in one of the most outstanding pharmaceutical company known as FANCL, the second place where group E-K were assigned for was at the Earthquake and lifesaving centre in Ikebukuro while the rest were given a chance to visit a high technology medicine museum that is Daiichi Sankyo Kusuri Museum.
We departed from the APA Hotel at 8.30am to the set place. For FANCL Company, it is located at the rural side in the Chiba city away from the Tokyo metropolitan area. With the tagline “nothing but beauty”, it captured anyone’s heart carelessly especially the women. After a short introduction by the manager, we were then given a tour inside the factory. We were so mesmerized with how the company step one level up in pharmaceutical production. FANCL is a leading company that produced the product based on preservatives free. They maintain their quality by making sure that all of the productions were in the best environment that is free from bacteria. After the tour, we had a demonstration on how to use cleansing powder and experienced the softness and the tenderness of the powder when we apply it to the face. We even got them as a souvenir from the factory. It is indeed was a very meaningful yet educational trip to the factory.
After spending about 2 hours in the factory, we then precede our next visit to the Tokyo University of Sciences. We had lunch and tour around the university that had been established for about 132 years. It is one of the renowned universities in Japan. Next, we went to Asakusa where Sensoji Temple, the most famous temple in Japan is situated. There were lines of small booths that were set up in front of the temple yard selling all sorts of ornaments, foods and souvenir that could be bought by tourists as a keepsakes as well as a token from Japan.
Later that day, we end our day with a marvelous auction night. The auctions material comes from each country participating in the APPS. The collection from the auction night will be contributed to the foundation for the poor people. Beside the auction, there were also the finale of miss contest and booth set up from each country to introduce their country to the participant. We could taste different type of local food from different countries. It did felt like we had been travelling the whole Asia Pacific just in one night. It was very awesome! As for the miss contest, the participants from Indonesian had been crowned as the most beautiful pharmacy students in Asia Pacific region and then were exempted from the APPS fees.
Overall, the field trip had given us a lot of information as well as great experience in Japan. Besides meeting new friends from the different countries with different languages, we were also able to get a closer look the life of people in Japan as well as to experience for ourselves something that we may not get in other places even in our country.
27h August 2013. Tuesday.
Last day arrived. Today, those participants get ahead for final Patient Counseling Event (PCE) might feel nervous and knowledge-lover might feel eager to gain more for knowledge at the last symposium session. The last symposium session entitle Development of New Treatment for Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) was presented by Fumiko Hirabayashi. Issues on NTD were explained more and we’ve got to know University Sains Malaysia is one of the development partners and study sites for NTD. She also mentioned about R&D by Product Development Partnership (PDP), challenges faced, the future, and several contributions made by Japan.
Closing ceremony ended with a simple event for price giving ceremony for competitions held along this APPS. We enjoyed the moment and Nur Atiqah Hasman Yusri, representative from IIUM won Clinical Skills Event (CSE) competition. However, no decoration and sound effect prepared to make this event alive.
Lastly, Gala Night was held at The New Otani, Tokyo Bay Makuhari. It started at 6pm and ended at 9pm. Everyone enjoys their food and it is one of the most precious times for networking. Several chairs were located for those who preferred to seat while eating, but most participants preferred to stand while eating. Muslim participants were very lucky as two rows of halal food were specially prepared! However, the condition is different from Malaysia. No food or drink will be add on if they are finished. Different countries, different rules and different cultures. It was truly a remarkable experiences and memories. We truly fall in love with the warm and kindness of Japanese people and we almost refused to come back home.
credit to: Nur Raihanah Rx9, Nurul Amira Rx11, Siti Hanisah Rx10, Nur Khairunnisa’ Rx11, Che Fadhilah Rx9, Nur Liyana Rx11