Malaysian Society of parasitology and tropical medicine
Old wooden colonial building of IMR, built in 1900 (viewed from the right/east end. This part housed the malaria and filariasis research
The Biomedical Museum is located in one of the historical heritage building in IMR that was constructed in 1928. It provides an introduction to the IMR and enables visitors to acquaint themselves with the historical background and research activities of the Institute since its establishment in 1900
HISTORY AND ACTIVITIES OF THE MSPTMThe formation of the Society was conceived in 1962 at the UNECSO-sponsored Regional Meeting on “ Scientific Knowledge on Tropical Parasites” hosted by the Government of Singapore in November 1962. Professor R.S. Desowitz and his collegues from the Department of Parasitology, University of Singapore, were responsible for its organization. A small committee was set up to draft a constitution for the formation of a local society of parasitologists.
Professor R.S. Desowitz
The inaugural meeting of the Malaysian Society of Parasitologists (as it was then called), was convened at the Institute for Medical Research, Kuala Lumpur on the 10th of January 1964. The constitution was approved and the first Council was elected. Dr. A. A. Sandosham was elected as the first President of the Society. The Scientific programmes at the beginning consisted of laboratory demonstrations in parasitology which was set up at 6-monthly intervals alternating between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur held under the auspices of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, London and later undertaken solely by our Society.
Dr. A. A. Sandosham
The scope and range of activities of the Society gradually expanded and its membership increased. Along with the laboratory demonstrations meetings, talks on various aspects of parasitology were introduced. These were enlarged in scope and range of interest to half-yearly seminars with several papers being presented and discussed over a 2-day or even a 3-day period. On occasions, seminars were devoted to specific topics such as “Zoonoses”, “Rural Health Problems” and “Malaria”.
Members of MSPTM involved with community programmes in Orang Asli villages
MSPTM activities involves collaborating with community and other governmental agencies to promote health and create awareness among rural communities
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETINGS
The Annual General Meetings of the Society were held in conjunction with the seminars organized during the first quarter of the year. The venues of these meetings are the Institute for Medical Research, Kuala Lumpur, University of Malaya, University Kebangsaan Malaysia, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Univeristi Putra Malaysia and the Veterinary Research Institute, Ipoh. Another regular feature are the talks held under the auspices of the Society by visitors and local scientists eminent in various fields of Parasitology and Tropical Medicine.
Taken during the regional seminar that was organized by Prof. Dato CP Ramachandran and our 1st Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj officiated the seminar.
It was a proud moment for the Society.
The earliest committee for MSPTM had the blessings of Prime Ministers and Ministers
With the formation of the Central Coordinating Board for Tropical Medicine (CCBTM) of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Council, the Society became associated with the Regional meetings on Parasitology and Tropical Medicine organized by CCBTM in various capitals of SEA and our Society jointly sponsored the third such seminar held in Singapore in June 1968 on “ Filariasis and Immunology of Parasitic Infections”. With the growing interest in the applied aspects of parasitology in medicine and veterinary practice in the tropics, the name of our Society was changed to the “ Malaysian Society of Parasitology and Tropical Medicine”. With enlarged international representation at our meetings it became possible to attract distinguished men like our late Prime Minister, Tungku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj and Tun Abdul Razak, the Honourable Minister of Science and Technology, Singapore Dr Toh Chin Chye and the various Health Ministers to declare open our seminars.
The notes on demonstrations set up at the laboratory meetings were nitially published in the Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and later selectively published in the Southeast Asian Journal of tropical Medicine and Public Health. Subsequently, abstracts were published in the Medical Journal of Malaya, the Singapore Medica l Journal, the Malaysian Veterinary Journal, the Thai Medical Journal and in the Proceedings of the Third Seminar of CCBTM.
Many have helped to establish the Society on a firm footing but it will be too lengthy to emulate them all here. A special mention of the services rendered by professor R. S. Desowitz in the initial stages and Dr Ming M Wong, Dr. C.P. Ramachandran and Dr. S. Ramalingam during their period as Hon. Secretaries contributed to the Society’s rapid advancement. The Society also owes much to the impetus given by the Secretary-General of CCBTM, Professor Chamlong Harinasuta in widening our scope and bringing us in contact with parasitologists of Southeast Asian Region.
Pictures of MSPTM senior members during annual conferences and seminars
For the 30th year Anniversary, the Society hosted an International Congress of Parasitology and Tropical Medicine with the theme “Trends in the Management and Control of Tropical Diseases”. Professor B. Sinniah was the Chairman of the Organising Committee. Twenty five consultants from the World Health Organisation attended the congress. In addition, several prominent researchers and scientists from different parts of the world presented papers or chaired scientific sessions. A total of 170 papers were presented at the 3-day Congress.
The Second International Congress was organized under the Chairmanship of Prof. Dato’ Khairul Anuar in 2001. The theme ”New Frontiers and Challenges“ attracted an international and local participation of 250 scientists including 37 invited speakers.
For the 40th year Anniversary, The Society organized the 1st ASEAN Congress of Parasitology and Tropical Medicine with the theme “Tropical diseases and vectors: management and control” under the chairmanship of Dr Indra Vythilingam. His Royal Highness the Regent of Perak Raja Dr Nazrin Shah officiated the Congress which was attended by 380 delegates from 28 countries. A total of 156 oral and 54 posters were presented during the 3-day congress.
Welcoming The Regent of Perak by Dr Indra Vythilingam
Great support and commitment shown by the Regent of Perak towards the upliftment of Parasitology and Tropical medicine in Malaysia
Veterinary Parasitologists in Ipoh VRI
Scientific seminar was also held in Ipoh to engage with researchers and scientists from other related departments such as the Veterinary Research Institute of the Department of Veterinary Services.
Wildlife parasites are also studied as they can transmit zoonotic diseases
Psoroptes mites in animals are common in the tropical environment
Parasitic infections in goats are also reported in studies done by UPM and DVS
Stained smear of poultry blood with filarial parasites are diagnosed. Significant findings by the laboratories of the Ministry of Health ( MOH) at IMR and DVS, UPM , USM and University Malaya are recorded in the official journal of the society : Tropical Biomedicine which has successfully been publishing regularly achieving and impact factor and registered with ISI and Scopus.
The MSPTM also awards the Sandosham and Natchatram medals to deserving candidates and members of the society.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak (third from right), Regent of Perak Raja Dr Nazrin Shah (second from right) and Petronas chief executive officer Tan Sri Shamsul Azhar Abbas (right) with Merdeka Awards 2013 recipients at Philharmonic Hall Petronas in Kuala Lumpur. They are (from left) Emeritus Professor Datuk Dr Lam Sai Kit (Outstanding Scholastic Achievement category), Tan Sri Dr Yahya Awang (Health, Science and Technology category), Dr Lim Boo Liat (Environment category), Raja Tan Sri Muhammad Alias Raja Muhammad Ali (Education and Community category) and Tan Sri Arshad Ayub (Education and Community category). (Pic by Aizuddin Saad NST 06 February 2014)
Prof. Mak Joon Wah receiving his Merdeka Award 2011 from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak