13th APPS in Malaysia

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Asia Pacific Pharmaceutical Symposium or commonly abbreviated as APPS is an annual Asia Pacific level conference that is held by pharmaceutical students from Asia Pacific region. In addition to APPS, there is the IPSF World Congress which is a global pharmacy students annual conference (read: 59th IPSF World Congress in the Netherlands). APPS is one of the IPSF (International Pharmaceutical Student’s Federation) regional conferences from 5 regions that are covered by IPSF.

In 2014, APPS was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It was the 13th Asia Pacific regional conference. Indonesia itself had hosted the 2011 APPS in Yogyakarta. In addition, Indonesia, through the ITB Pharmacy Student Association ‘Ars Praeparandi’, also already hosted the World Congress in Bali. However, the proudest thing was the election of my senior at ITB, Audrey Clarissa, to lead the IPSF organization whose head office was in The Hague, Netherlands. Audrey Clarissa was the first person from Asia to become president of IPSF. Usually, the president of IPSF are from Europe. The reason may be due to the location of the office in The Hague, the Netherlands. During her time as president of IPSF, Audrey Clarissa had to stay in the Netherlands for a year. What a proud achievement for Indonesia. Because by becoming president of IPSF, it automatically leads 350,000 pharmacy students worldwide. Because of Audrey’s achievements too, Indonesia can get enough seats to attend the IPSF conferences.

Okay, come back to APPS. 🙂

This year, APPS lasts for 6 days. The first day was full of registration, though at night there was a welcoming party for delegates from various countries. Anyway, APPS can not only be attended by Asia Pacific students, students outside of Asia Pacific region are also allowed to participate, but not as official delegates.

The second day was the official opening of the APPS by the committee and the introduction of APRO as a pharmaceutical student organization in the Asia Pacific region, followed by regional meetings for official delegates, and introduction of competitions for participants. At night, there was an international night where each country displayed performances from their respective countries.

The third day was very full packed. Official delegates had to attend regional meetings, while participants could participated in competitions or workshops. At night, there was auction for IPSF development fund.

The fourth day was full of pharmazing race. We were grouped with different countries. We had to complete the games made by the committee, while visited tourist attractions in Kuala Lumpur to complete the game.

13th APPS in Malaysia

The fifth day consisted of symposiums related to development pharmacy and there was a public health campaign. As the name implied, the public health campaign, several groups of delegations were merged and told to carry out anti-smoking campaigns in crowded places in Kuala Lumpur. One of the highlights was the campaign on the highway. If the person agreed not to smoke, then he or she had to beep the horn. Our target was 100 horns. In fact, we got more. Thank you God.^^

13th APPS in Malaysia

Together After the Public Health Campaign

The sixth day consisted of regional meetings and final competitions. For the final pharmaceutical competitions, everyone could freely watch. The competitions included Patient Counseling Event (PCE), Clinical Skill Event (CSE), and Scientific and Public Health Poster Contest. At night, there was Gala Night, which was a farewell night, because the next morning we had to check out from the hotel.

At this APPS event, I had the opportunity to be a participant or non-official delegate. I really wanted to experience attending workshops freely and participated in competitions. Because in the previous year, when I attended the World Congress in the Netherlands, I had to be official delegate. Mostly I had to attend general assemblies (meetings to determine IPSF policies, accountability reports, and choose new IPSF executives), so there were not many workshops that I could follow.

One of the interesting workshops for me at the APPS was “Halal Pharmaceutical for Pharmacists”. I got a lot of enlightenment related to halal medicines. What was unique, many participants who attended this workshop were non-Muslims, some of countries that were enthusiastic about this workshop were Taiwan and Japan. They were really curious about what halal is. Because of the increasing population of Muslims around the world and the higher number of Muslim tourists, many Muslim-minority countries are interested in learning about halal.  For example Japan. Japan is one of the favorite tourist destination for Indonesians and Malaysians. Japan is also busy boosting halal restaurants, setting up prayer rooms in public spaces, and paying attention to foods for Muslim tourists, including the export of medicines to a Muslim-majority country.

By the way, I want to discuss part of the workshop related to alcohol. Actually fruits contain little alcohol, but why isn’t it forbidden? Because these fruits are not intentionally made as alcoholic drinks.

The lecturer also explained that Malaysian government along with the Saudi Arabian government is developing a meningitis vaccine which is not using swine as catalyst, because the meningitis vaccine that is currently circulating does use a catalyst from swine. However, when it becomes a finished product, the vaccine is said to be free of swine. Yes, meningitis vaccine is one of the requirements for obtaining Umrah and Hajj visa. Although the vaccine is free from swine, it will be better if Muslims do not use catalyst from swine at all in order to guarantee halal. Unfortunately, Indonesia, with the world’s largest Umrah and Hajj pilgrims, did not even get the opportunity to be involved in the research. Hopefully in the future Indonesia can become better, and the target of Indonesia Gold 2045 (100 years of Indonesia independece anniversary) will be truly achieved.

Never stop learning, because life never stop teaching. 🙂

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