ISA Series: Activities in Sabah
14 February 2023
In the first blog of our ISA Series and in celebration of the 5-year anniversary of the College's Kuala Lumpur office, Kugan Raman, who has been enrolled as an ISA since October 2021, reflects on recent ISA activities in Sabah.
RCSEd has established its connection to Malaysia very well through various platforms, especially since the formation of the RCSEd Kuala Lumpur office. Activities in this region were mainly concentrated in Kuala Lumpur, with Sabah (a big part of East Malaysia) lacking in connection to the College, mainly due to logistics and geographical reasons. Now, by having an ISA in Sabah, RCSEd has expanded its roots to Borneo to reach out to local health care professionals and health institutions.
In 2022, the focus was to engage with RCSEd activities in this region and apprise the local needs to RCSEd. RCSEd International Activities Manager Catherine Thwaites, and International Office Manager Shidah Abd Lah from the RCSEd Office in Kuala Lumpur, have been very supportive and helpful in involving me in RCSEd network meetings and activities. This includes a College Diploma Ceremony in Kuala Lumpur, and the MoU Signing Ceremony between RCSEd and the Academy For Silent Mentor.
RCSEd’s activities are currently being shared to surgical residents and trainees through local consultants and hospital directors. A survey was conducted with local surgeons and surgical residents in Sabah and Sarawak on their eagerness to take up RCSEd exams – especially MRCS and FRCS – and the response was great. This was conveyed in the ISA meetings, and we are looking into hosting the MRCS examination in Borneo again after the pandemic.
In 2022, the recipient of RCSEd’s Tuanku Muhriz Fellowship Professor Andrew Kent, a consultant trauma and orthopedic surgeon from Scotland, spent about two weeks travelling around Sabah to experience the delivery of rural healthcare, particularly trauma management, in Sabah. His visit was facilitated by a team of local surgeons and professors from University Malaysia Sabah (UMS), Mercy Malaysia and the Andante International Foundation. They coordinated his travel and accompanied him to visit hospitals in remote areas of Sabah like Maliau Basin, Kudat (Tip of Borneo), Kinabatangan, and Semporna. He also had the chance to visit a rural research and education center RMEC, in Sabah.
The AFSM Tripartite Conference, co-hosted by RCSEd and the Ministry of Health of Malaysia, was held in Borneo Convention Centre, Kuching, Sarawak. The conference provided an excellent platform to learn and share experience regarding rural healthcare. Many doctors from Sabah participated in this conference, notably from Keningau Hospital, where they sent in some interesting posters on experiences and difficulties in managing patients from rural areas of Sabah. In addition, I was given an opportunity by RCSEd to deliver a talk on challenges in establishing a surgical service in Sabah. In this talk, I shared my personal experience in setting up an otorhinolaryngology service in Labuan, a remote island in Borneo.
As an ISA, I am delighted that 2022 has been a great year for me; with a good lineup of networking sessions with RCSEd, Sabah has already established a great foundation to build a bilateral relationship with the College. In 2023 and the years ahead, I am looking forward to more exciting activities and news from RCSEd for Sabah.