As President of Singapore Psychiatric Association, I attended the 5th World Congress of Asian Psychiatry (WCAP) in Fukuoka, Japan from 3 to 6 March 2015. The WCAP is the official biennial congress of the Asian Federation of Psychiatric Associations (AFPA) and was last held in Bangkok, Thailand in 2013.
This year the theme of the Congress is “Trends and Innovation of Psychiatry in Asia’. The keynote speaker was Professor Norman Sartorius (Switzerland) and he touched on an important topic of ‘Comorbidity of mental and physical illness; a major challenge for psychiatry in the 21st Century’.
At the Congress, Prof Dinesh Bhugra (United Kingdom) was awarded the ‘AFPA Lifetime Award’ for his distinguished achievement. He also delivered the plenary lecture on ‘Psychiatry in the 21st Century’.
I was invited by Prof Naotaka Shinfuku (Japan) to be a speaker at the symposium on ‘Gender Identity Disorder in Asia’. With the support of Prof Tsoi Wing Foo, I was able to present his past and present work in this area. The other speakers from Japan presented the epidemiology of the condition in Japan and also their interest to do genetic studies in this area.
I was also a co-chair and co-judge for the oral presentation on ‘Transcultural and Child Psychiatry’. The 5 speakers from different countries reported on different areas ranging from women mental health, disaster psychiatry to treatment of aggressive behaviour in childhood.
As President of SPA, I attended the AFPA Board Meeting as well as the Japanese Society of Psychiatry and Neurology (JSPN) Round Table Discussion. At the latter meeting, each country took turn to do a brief introduction of the current situation of psychiatry in the home country. We also discussed on how to strengthen psychiatric collaboration among Asia-Oceania countries.
The 5th WCAP was well organized and provided an opportunity for mental health workers from Asian countries, Australia, the Pacific Islands and many other parts of the world to share their experiences and also collaborate on similar/related mental health disorders. The next WCAP will be held in India in 2017.