Fellow Counselors and members of Asian Society of Transplantation.
I am both grateful and privileged to be accorded the trust and confidence by the ASOT Council members to head this important organization and I accept this responsibility with humble awareness that there are many other more qualified members who can equally be trusted to lead our society. I will thus draw all possible support from both the senior and newer members of the Society during my time in office, to make this organization relevant and valuable to various stakeholders.
Even though current membership of ASOT is not large, the mission and importance of our society cannot be understated, as we are the only transnational organization which represents the professional interest of organ and tissue transplantation program in Asia. Furthermore, our field of coverage extends from the western most front in Turkey to the northern most end in the Russian border to Japan in the East and the islands of Indonesia and some Pacific nations in the south with a total population in excess of 4.5 billion.
There are several immediate challenges facing our organization now :
1. We need to strengthen the operation of the ASOT permanent secretariat based in Seoul to serve as an efficient, responsive and professional base for the benefit of our members, supporters and other organizations which need to deal with us.
2. The society’s account which is based in Hong Kong is planned to be shifted to Seoul to facilitate and streamline all financial administration matters in the future. One immediate challenge is to ensure a smooth and orderly transition to avoid duplication of financial administration and compliance with prevailing regulatory requirements in both places.
3. A revision in the society’s bye-law especially on the composition of the council membership and the responsibility of the society’s treasurer in account or financial management were proposed and adopted by the Council members and at the General Body Meeting recently during the 17th (Virtual) CAST. Some fine tuning of the revision and amendments will have to be worked out by the AST Executive in the near future.
In the intermediate phase ,we need to set and hopefully achieve a few targets , namely;
1. Increase ASOT membership especially from newer and larger member countries including Indonesia and China, subject to standard published criteria for membership admission especially on issues related to the compliance with Declaration of Istanbul on Organ Trafficking and Transplant Tourism.
2. Improve ASOT website to increase ASOT- member interaction, enable access to useful educational resources, encourage announcements and sharing of information on transplant related activities in member countries, make available a database on members and their institutions, and hyperlinks with other important transplant related websites.
3. Increase educational and training program and activities for the benefit of members and trainees-fellows. This will hopefully improve the value of ASOT in the eyes of existing and potential members, and supporters.
4. Strengthen ongoing useful initiatives which include ASTREG, COVID-19 registry and Women In Transplantation.
In the longer term , we will need more practical plans and concerted efforts to strengthen the transplant program in our geographical region , especially targeting countries with less developed and less successful organ donation and transplantation program.
We need to emphasize on the ASOT role in advocacy to ensure adherence to ethical standards in our drive to attain higher donation and transplantation rates in Asia. We shall work hand in hand with influential and reputable organizations like DICG, Vitallink Korea, various national transplant societies and the international umbrella body of TTS to achieve this objective.
I implore all members to play increasing role to improve networking links between transplant professionals in every member country as well as the links between national transplant societies with one another, with the hope that the future of transplant program in Asia and that of ASOT itself will be brighter and respectable.
Dr Ghazali Ahmad
Asian Society of Transplantation