Sada-e-Watan Sydney ™

Australia Pakistan Medical Association Annual Meet n Greet held at the Sofitel Wentworth Sydney

The executive committee of Australia Pakistan Medical Association held their annual MEET & GREET on 29th August 2015 at Sofitel Wentworth Sydney. The President of AMA Dr Saxon Smith was invited as keynote speaker.

The doctors were welcomed with drinks and canapés and were entertained with the melodious sitar played by Ustad Sarshar who was accompanied by Yama on

Dr Imran Kassam

the tabla. Formal event began with a Welcome note from APMA's Vice President Dr Imran Kassam

Dr. Irfan Noor

who then introduced Dr Irfan Noor APMA's General Secretary.

Dr Rabia Shaikh

Dr. Noor invited Dr Rabia Shaikh who works for IVF Australia (co sponsors of the evening) for a small introduction.

Talal Yassine

The evening proceeded with an address from our other sponsors MD of Crescent Wealth Talal Yassine.

Nadeem Sheikh

A brief thank you note from Nadeem Sheikh on behalf of Allied Health professionals for APMA to take on board and the professionals in Allied Health.

Dr Sayeed Khan

APMA’s President Dr Sayeed Khan gave a brief introduction of how the organisation was formed in 2011 and its vision and missions. The extract from this speech is outline below:

APMA NSW is an independent, not-for-profit, non-political & non-religious association of medical professionals in NSW.
- APMA supports and facilitates medical professionals of Pakistani descent to pursue education and their development to provide better healthcare services in Australia and Pakistan.

- APMA provides assistance and guidance to newly arrived medical professionals from Pakistan.
- APMA participates and support medical relief and other social activities both in Pakistan and Australia.
- And above all, APMA is bringing all medical professionals together on one platform, for one voice with the vision to provide leadership, support and guidance to pursue and enhance their academic objectives and excellence and involve the Pakistani medical community and their families in social cohesion, cultural activities and community work.

In past Century, acute illnesses have been effectively managed. There has been considerable success in preventing and treating many cancers & chronic illnesses
As our population is getting older and living longer, the incidence of chronic diseases has increased enormously. Chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, mental health, cancer and aged care are the leading cause of ill health and death in Australia. These are even bigger challenges for Aboriginal communities and other population groups.

But overall, the adverse effects of behavioural and other health risk factors, combined with an ageing population, have led to an increase in chronic illnesses and their profound impact on health costs. Indeed, chronic diseases have been termed 'Australia's biggest health challenge' - today and for the future, for 3 main reasons:
• Significant and increasing costs
• Most chronic diseases are preventable
• That many of these diseases arise from common underlying causes and risk factors.

These illnesses require long-term management – so the challenge now is how to manage these illnesses in the community, rather than in the hospital.
The formation of Medicare locals 4 years ago by Rudd Gillard Government, and now the renamed Liberal version Primary Health Networks is going to achieve these goals and is a very positive step in the direction of managing chronic diseases in the community.

In my opinion, the increase in cost of managing chronic illnesses needs to be matched by an increase in health funding. This could be best achieved by increasing the Medicare levy. |Freeze on Medicare rebates, GP Co-payments are all going to hurt most needy.

There is a need to put enormous effort to educate the community in terms of behavioural and risk factors such as diet and exercise. The crisis of obesity is creating a tsunami effect on the health care system. We must use all means to bring about positive change in the community so that people embrace healthy lifestyles.

Despite of all these issues we should be proud of the fact that Australia has one of the best Healthcare system in the word.
Healthcare issues in Pakistan are at the complete other end of the spectrum.

Our country is lagging far behind in health and education.
In Pakistan, successive governments have almost abandoned the health and education of the people. Currently, less than 3% of GDP is allocated to health and education, significant portion of this wasted in huge & corrupt system. —all this has resulted in two tier system, one is a very high-class education and health system for the elite and wealthy middle class, and an almost non-existent inadequate mess for the poor people who make up 70% of the population.

Australia is our home and we serve this community with our hearts and mind, but at the same time our heart aches for the suffering of the Pakistani people especially in healthcare. We aspire to do whatever we can to improve the miserable lives and health of those in our home country. It is not an easy task, and often we are disheartened to see the sad state of affairs in Pakistan and we question ourselves – how much difference a small group of people like us can make?
The important thing to understand is that medical professionals from a western countries like Australia cannot bring a change at a grass roots level in Pakistan. Philanthropy only make small changes. The real difference will come from the Pakistani government that must act for the benefit of the people. This miserable situation for most of the Pakistanis cannot be improved unless and until successive governments put health and education as a priority, and adequate funding is provided with good planning and governance.

In addition to providing monetary aid and assistance in Pakistan, the best thing that we can do is to pressurise the government at all levels in Pakistan to make positive changes, and give top priority to health, education and development. To achieve this, we need to make our organisations strong with a bigger voice. Dr Sayeed Khan then thanked the Executive Committee of APMA for working tirelessly in bringing all the Medical Professionals under APMA'S banner. He especially thanked Dr Irfan Noor (General Secretary) and Ghazala Khan (Deputy General Secretary) for their efforts in organising such a fabulous event.

Dr Saxon Smith

Dr Sayeed Khan then invited Dr Saxon Smith President AMA NSW as a keynote speaker to address the APMA members.

Dr Saxon Smith is a fellow of the Australasian College of Dermatologists. He graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery from the University of Otago, New Zealand and holds a Masters of Health Law from the University of Sydney. He has completed the healthcare laser safety officer certificate and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Dr Saxon Smith has practised dermatology in a number of teaching hospitals including the St Vincent’s Hospital, John Hunter Hospital, Liverpool Hospital and Royal North Shore. Currently, he is in private practice in Gosford, and a visiting dermatologist at Royal North Shore Hospital where he runs a surgical dermatology clinic.

Dr Saxon is actively involved in clinical research and has multiple publications in national and international peer-reviewed journals and presented at national and international conferences. He received the Adrian Johnson Prize from the Australasian College of Dermatologists in 2010.
He is a clinical supervisor in surgery for trainees from the Australasian College of Dermatologists.

Dr Saxon Smith is the current President of the Australian Medical Association of New South Wales. He is a spokesperson on various health issues and public health campaigns on behalf of the Australian Medical Association. He is involved in various committees and advisory boards for government, not-for-profit and private sectors.

Dr Saxon Smith is a specialist in the diagnosis and management of skin conditions and offers a broad range of general medical, surgical and cosmetic services.
The evening concluded with a question answer session with Dr Smith, dinner and entertainment.

The evening was wonderful as it had a very good representation of medical professionals from different fields of medicine. Among the doctors who attended the meet n greet were Dr Akram Hassan, Dr A Madni, Dr Surveri, Dr Habib Sheikh, Dr Akram Bangash, Dr Amanullah Khan, Dr Ishrat Ali, Dr Sarah Chaudry, Dr Summera Sehgol, Dr Rabab Rizvi, Dr Nadir Hafiz, Dr Hema Ahuja, Dr Mahmood Alam, Dr Abdullah Virk, Dr Sohaib Virk, Dr Yaseen Virani, Dr Faisal Khan, Dr Naresh Verma, Dr Mazen Khan & Dr Mushtaq Malik.

Dr Imran Kassam

Dr. Irfan Noor

Dr Rabia Shaikh

Nadeem Sheikh

Talal Yassine


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