The 17th AFCMA (Asian Federation of Catholic Medical Associations ) VIRTUAL Congress was held recently from 16th Sept -19th Sept 2021.This was the first time in AFCMA history that its Congress was held VIRTUALLY. Due to the COVID 19 pandemic we were forced to cancel our initial plans to have the PHYSICAL Congress at the ARMADA HOTEL, Petaling Jaya and to change it to the present VIRTUAL Congress.In fact up to the Congress Date we were not sure what the response would be like from the Delegates as we were all busy in our own countries  battlingthe COVID 19 Virus. At that time Malaysia was seeing about 20,000 new cases of active COVID 19 daily.

Our Organising Committee prayed very hard to keep the COVID 19 Virus at bay.Goa has answered our prayers because we had 240 Delegates Registered for the AFCMA Congress ( 130Overseas and 110 Local plus 19 students)!This number far exceeded our target of 150 Delegates!

Opening Mass: 
The Congress started with the Opening Mass presided by His Grace Archbishop Julian Leow Archbishop of the Diocese of Kuala Lumpur.
Opening Ceremony: There was an interesting opening gambit produced by the son of one of our Committee Members.The flags of the 15 Member Countries of AFCMA were flown with a welcome message spoken in the language of the different Member Countriesamidst background drums and music.This was followed by showing the places of interest in Malaysia like the Twin Towers, Petaling Street Market, Famous Churches of Malaysia,etc.

Welcome Speeches; 
Recorded Welcome Speeches were heard from:                                 
a. Patron of the Congress Archbishop Julian Leow                                 
b. Organising Chairman Dr. Freddie Loh                                 
c. President of AFCMA Dr. Manuel Po                                 
d. President of CDAM Dr. Juliet Mathew and                                 
e. President of FIAMC Dr. Berrnard Ars.

Theme of the Congress: “Building Bridges through Healing and Spirituality”was the Theme chosen by us and it has proven to be so appropriate during this Covid 19 pandemic.

Alimurung Lecture:   
This is the Talk given by the best Speaker or Scientist from the Host Country. It is named after Prof. Alimurungthe Founder Member of AFCMA and a prominent cardiologist from the Phillipines.
This time Prof Christopher Ng Kwan Hoong was given the privilege to deliver it.”Healing the Heart of Humanity in Times of Adversity” was the title of his Talk. In my opinion this was one of the best presentation of the Congress!
The other two talks that created a lot of excitement and interest were

Keynote Lectures 1 and 2. Keynote
Lecture 1:
Title: Cures, Miracles and Serving the Sick – a Bridge between Healing and Spirituality
The Speaker Dr. Alessandro  de Franciscis spoke about the Miracles that happened in Lourdes by drinking the Holy Water of the spring of Massabielle that was discovered by St. Bernadette at the corner of the Grotto. Lourdes has built a College called Bureau des Constatations Medicales to study the alleged cures reported tothe Sanctuary. A Healing can be considered unexplained if it satisfies seven criteria via the disease had a precise diagnosis and a severe prognosis, the alleged cure was unexpected, instantaneous, complete, lasting in time with no possible explanation. Up to date only 70 cures has been confirmed as Miraculous Cures!
Keynote Lecture 2: 
Withdrawing Ventilator Care during Covid 19 by Father Joseph Tham, Father Louis Melahn and Father Michael Baggy from the Vatican.
Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostorolum. 
They talked about the Ethics of Witholding versus Withdrawing Treatment and gave us a theoretical case of having four Patients called A, B, C, and D., and there was only 1 ventilator. A has the best chance of surviving followed by B, C, and D. Patient D is already intubated on that one ventilator
Question: May we withdraw care for Patient D who is benefitting from treatment given to him and give the treatment to patient A who would benefit more?
The Principle Of Double Effect was discussed and here is their conclusion regarding withdrawing ventilator support:
a. OK to triage when 2 patients come in with need of ventilator for best outcome
b. Withdraw life support to when beneficial (to give to someone else) is direct killing
c. May stop life support when futile, burdensome or disproportionate.
d. Patient may opt out of disproportionate care, or for altruistic reasons.

In fact all the other 29 Talks were also good but due to space constraint it is not possible to discuss them here. However I must mention NAPRO TECHNOLOGY presented by Dr. Arlene Te from Taiwan. This Technology is recognised by the Church as a form of Natural Family Planning’. It can also be used to achieve pregnancy even in cases of infertility.

Country Report:
The Final Day 19/09/2021c started with the Country Reports presented by all the Asian Countries about the work each country has done in the past four years for their own community and their Outreach Programs.

Scientific Congress Resolutions:  
Dr. Julian Wang Scientific Chairman of the Congress  presented the Resolutions made at the 17th AFCMA Congress 2021 to everyone.

AGM Election Results: 
At the AFCMA  AGM on 16th Sept 2021 the following Officers of AFCMA  for 2021-2024 Term were elected.
(1) President : Dr. Shigeyuki Kano < shigeyuki_kano@ybb.ne.jp>
(2) 1st Vice President : Dr. Ambrose Leung (Hong Kong)
(3) 2nd Vice President :Dr. Juliet Mathew (Malaysia)(4)Secretary : Dr. Masamivhi Goto (Japan) <masagoto@po4.synapse.ne.jp>
(5) Hon. Treasurer : Dr. Bum-Soo Kim ( S.Korea) <bumrad@catholic.ac.kr>(6) FIAMC Representatives : Dr. Valentinus Yudy (Indonesia) and Prof. Stephano Seung-Kew Yoon (S. Korea)

Election for the host country for 18th AFCMA Congress:
South Korea was selected as the host Country  for the 18th AFCMA Congress in 2024. Congratulations to Dr. Kano Newly Elected President of AFCMA and his Team and also to South Korea for being the next Host Country!

Closing Mass 
The 17th AFCMA Congress came to a close via the Closing Mass which was aired on YOU TUBE. It was presided by Rev Father Phillip Chua who gave a farewell note to the Delegates.

The 17th AFCMA Congress 2021 finally came to a close on 19th Sept 2021. From the feedback that we got from the Delegates and Speakers, the Congresswas a huge success. Thanks to them for their participation and also to my hard working Congress Organising Committee. We must also thank Jesus who had helped us to ensure that the AFCMA Congress would go on in spite of the many challenges that we had to face with during this Covid 19 pandemic. See you all in South Korea in 2024 for the 18th AFCMA Congress. TERIMA  KASIH!

Dr. Freddie Loh

Organising Chairman 17th AFCMA Congress 2021 Malaysia.
Chairman FIAMC Membership Committee.