◊ EARLY MEETINGS…
The Asia Pacific Hospice Palliative Care Network (APHN) is the realisation of the vision and generosity of Dr Shigeaki Hinohara, Chairman of the Life Planning Centre in Tokyo.
The APHN evolved over a series of meetings from March 1995 until May 2001. The first of these was hosted in Japan by the Life Planning Centre at the invitation of Dr Hinohara. Delegates involved in palliative care programmes were invited from Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and Taiwan. The aim of this forum was to provide an opportunity to share experiences, frustrations, knowledge and concerns for the future.
Some of these concerns included the need to gain medical and public acceptance for the concept of a hospice, problems related to the availability of appropriate analgesic drugs, and issues relating to funding of services. More specific issues included the need for culturally relevant education, and the maintenance of voluntary and community involvement in the implementation of hospice programmes.
Delegates expressed a sense of isolation and agreed that, if better communication could be established within the region, they could do much to help each other by sharing educational resources and offering support. The concept of the Network was born from these discussions.
The second APHN meeting was held in Japan in February 1997. In addition to delegates from the eight original countries, delegates from Korea and Philippines were included. Later that year in November, the third meeting was held in Hong Kong. Discussions now took place as to whether the organisation should be formalised. It was suggested that issues such as establishing a constitution, registration and funding for the new organisation should be raised at the third meeting.
The fourth meeting of the APHN was held in Japan in October 1998. Delegates attended from 13 countries. Thailand, Vietnam and India were invited for the first time. Discussions centered on the need for APHN to be a legally registered organisation with a secretariat. After three days of discussion it was agreed that a pro tem committee be established and that Dr Rosalie Shaw be invited to take up the position of Executive Director from May 1999.
◊ DECISION TO REGISTER THE ORGANISATION
Thirteen delegates attended the fifth meeting of the APHN in Hong Kong in May 1999 prior to the Third Asia Pacific Hospice Conference. At this meeting, it was decided that the name of the organisation would be the Asia Pacific Hospice Palliative Care Network but that APHN would continue to be used as the abbreviated form.
At that time, organisations in Singapore (the Singapore Hospice Council and the National Cancer Centre), Japan (Life Planning Centre), Hong Kong (Society for the Promotion of Hospice Care Ltd) and Taiwan (Hospice Foundation of Taiwan) committed generous donations to allow the APHN to be established.
In May 1999 the Secretariat was set up in Singapore in the Department of Palliative Medicine at the National Cancer Centre and work proceeded on drawing up the Constitution. The pro tem committee met again in Singapore in October 2000 prior to the APHN being registered with the Registrar of Societies in Singapore in March 1, 2001.
◊ INAUGURAL GENERAL MEETING
The first Annual General Meeting was held in Taipei on May 1, 2001 just before the Fourth Asia Pacific Hospice Conference. At that meeting the First Council of 20 members was appointed with Professor Tetsuo Kashiwagi as the Inaugural Chairman. Dr Shigeaki Hinohara was invited to be the Patron of the APHN. There were fourteen Founding Sectors of the APHN: Australia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. A Sector is a geographic region which may include one or more countries, or part of a country. More Sectors will be invited to join the APHN in the future as hospice services are established in other countries.