During the First National and Regional Conference on Diabetic Foot Problems (DFPs) hosted in the National University of Singapore in November 2004, there were 220 participants from 4 countries – Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Singapore. The stage was set to form a Regional Association with the 4 member countries. The Asia Pacific Association of Diabetic Foot Problems (APADFP) was set up with Dr. Aziz Nather as Founding President, Dr. R. Ramanathan from Malaysia as the President Elect, Dr. Mulyono Soedirman from Indonesia as the First Vice-President and Dr. Josephine Ip from Hong Kong as the Second Vice-President (Fig. 1).
Fig. 1: Founding committee members of the APADFP
The 1st regional conference on DFPs (Fig. 2, 3, 4) was an outstanding success with about 220 participants. The Guest-of-Honour was Dr. Balaji Sadasivan, Senior Minister of State for Health (Fig. 5).
The following year, a 2nd regional conference, known as the Asia Pacific Conference on Diabetic Foot Problems (APCDFP) was held in Putrajaya, Malaysia in 2005 (Fig. 6), with Dr. R. Ramanathan from Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia as the Chairperson in collaboration with Dr. Amara Naicker, Rehabilitation Physician of the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This attracted about 200 participants.
Fig. 6: Poster for the 2nd APCDFP
At the business meeting, the Board Members decided to change the name of the association from APADFP to the Asia Pacific Association of Diabetic Limb Problems (APADLP). This was because diabetes involves upper limbs in 10% of cases.
The 3rd Asia Pacific Conference on Diabetic Limb Problems (APCDLP) was held in Ancor, Jakarta, Indonesia in November 2006 (Fig. 7) with Dr. Mulyono Soedirman as the Organising Chairman (Fig. 8). It attracted about 200 participants.
With each year, the momentum of the Regional Association grew stronger. The 4th APCDLP was held in Hong Kong in November 2007 (Fig. 9), with Dr. Josephine Ip Wing-Yuk and Dr. Joseph Wong Wing Cheung as Co-Chairpersons from the University of Hong Kong and from Kwong Wah Hospital respectively. The National University Hospital (NUH) DFP Team participated in 2 out of the 3 Pre-conference Workshops that were run during the Conference in Hong Kong. The Conference also attracted about 200 participants.
Fig. 9: Poster for the 4th APCDLP
In 2008, the Conference returned to Singapore. The 5th APCDLP was held in NUH in October (Fig. 10). It was a great success with more than 250 participants.
Fig. 10: Poster for the 5th APCDLP
The Guest-of-Honour for the 5th Conference was Professor K. Satku, Director of Medical Services in Singapore (Fig. 11). This was very appropriate as he was the man who had inspired us to set up a Diabetic Foot Team back in 2003. The team had actually spent 2 years writing a book on DFPs titled “Diabetic Foot Problems” (Fig. 12) with our experience over the last 5 years of running the Diabetic Foot Service. This book was dedicated to Professor K. Satku.
This book was launched with great joy during the Opening Ceremony of the 5th APCDLP. The following year, this book became a best seller. It was the top, best selling medicine healthcare book for the month of May and June 2009, in the list of World Scientific. It was also one of the best sellers for podiatry and diabetic foot problems on Barnes and Nobles in 2009. The book was also in the best selling list on amazon.com in 2009, holding 2 positions – 42nd for the soft copy edition and 53rd for the hard copy.
We received good publicity from the press including The Straits Times, TODAY English newspaper, radio 94.2 FM and Berita Harian (Fig. 13).
Fig. 13: Newspaper articles: The Straits Times, TODAY and Berita Minggu
One of the highlights of the APADLP was the opportunity to hold the 6th APCDLP in Beijing, China in August 2009 (Fig. 14). There, we met the leaders of the Diabetic Foot World – Dr. Benjamin Lipsky, Dr. David Armstrong, Dr. Andrew Boulton and Dr. R.G. Frykberg (Fig. 15). They were Guest Speakers who were invited by Dr. Xu Zhangrong, the Organising Chairman (Fig. 16). This Conference also attracted more than 220 participants.
The 7th APCDLP followed in Kuantan, Malaysia in October 2010. This Conference was organised by Dr. Ahmad Hafiz Zulkifly from the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM). The NUH DFP Team ran one workshop at this Conference. There were 150 participants.
Finally, the 8th APCDLP was recently held in Bandung, Indonesia in December 2011 (Fig. 17). The NUH DFP Team ran 2 workshops during this Conference. The Bandung Conference was also well-attended, with about 200 participants.
Fig. 17: Poster for the 8th APCDLP
The future is bright for APADLP. The 9th APCDLP will be held in October 2012 in Hong Kong with Dr. Samson Chan as the Organising Chairman.
The 10th APCDLP will be held in Singapore in October 2013. This will be a significant event in our association’s history. Our 10th anniversary will be held in the very place that this association was founded!
For this meeting, a big conference is being organised, with 3 workshops – 1 to be run by Hong Kong, 1 to be run by Malaysia and 1 to be run by the NUH Diabetic Foot Team. A new book titled “The Diabetic Foot” edited by Dr. Nather, to be published by World Scientific, will be launched during the Opening Ceremony of this Conference. It will be a great joy to see a second book launched on our 10th birthday and presented to the same man, Professor K. Satku, the man who inspired me to develop a diabetic foot service.
The development of the NUH DFP Team has catalysed the development of diabetic foot programmes throughout the country. It has also inspired the formation of Asia-Pacific Association for Diabetic Limb Problems. This led to the formation of DFP Teams in Malaysia (Trengganu, Kuala Lumpur, and Kelantan), Indonesia (Bandung and Makassar) and in Hong Kong.