Brief History of the AOA

Dato' John David Cardosa
President, Asian Ostomy Association

“The following document on the brief history of the Asian Ostomy Association (AOA) was written by past president of AOA, Dato John Cardosa for the programme book of the 6th AOA Conference in Tokyo in 2008. His dedication to the AOA and welfare of the Asian ostometes is highly praised."

       In 1991, at the IOA World Congress held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, IOA only had three Regional Groups. They were the European Ostomy Association (EOA), North and Central American and Caribbean Ostomy Association (NCACOA), and South American Ostomy Association, had been formed. There wereas yet no formal regional groupings in Asia and the South Pacific.

       During the Congress, delegates from the Asian and the South Pacific countries present had two informal meetings. The South Pacific delegates from Australia and New Zealand said they were ready to form a Regional Association for the South Pacific Region covering Australia, New Zealand, Papua/New Guinea, Fiji, and other South Pacific Island countries.

       The delegates from Asian countries present, namely Japan, Hong Kong, China, Thailand, India and Malaysia also felt that Asia was ready to form a Regional Association. These six countries were already full members of IOA, as well as South Korea and Singapore. It was also known that there were support groups in Taiwan, the Philippines, and possibly other Asian countries as well.

       Accordingly, a consensus was arrived at that there was a genuine and urgent need to create a cohesive and effective bond among these countries and linked with the IOA, so that the welfare of ostomates would be looked after, and that ostomy standards and care would be improved wherever possible. This was a commendable aim, but it was realized that it was a formidable task which must be undertaken urgently for the mutual benefit of the Asian and the South Pacific ostomates.

       A decision was made to have a meeting in Hobart, Australia, in May 1992 in conjunction with the Australian Council of Stoma Associations (ACSA), of representatives from the various Asian countries and from Australia and New Zealand in order to discuss the needs of the Asian and Pacific countries in a formal conference atmosphere. It was further proposed that the discussions be chaired by the Immediate Past President of IOA, Mr. Howard Jones. A letter to this effect was sent to all the Asian and Pacific countries concerned by Mr. John O'Neill, the incumbent president of the Federation of New Zealand Ostomy Associations. Mr. O'Neill had earlier been appointed by the IOA to coordinate this initiative to form Regional Associations for the Asian as well as the South Pacific Regions. The same letter asked for all the countries concerned to make a survey and report on the situation and conditions in the respective countries, with emphasis on shortcomings. problems, difficulties and inadequacies, and all other areas which might benefit by assistance from the regional group. The letter also asked that the report should cover medical/surgical standards for ostomates. It was stressed that the report should be as comprehensive as possible, and that, preferably, it be submitted to the coordinator, John O'Neill, by the 30th of September 1991.

       The meeting in Hobart in May 1992 discussed in detail the needs of Ostomates in Asia, and the benefits of having an Asian Regional Group. They finally decided that an Inaugural Meeting to form an Asian Regional Ostomy Group be held in Hong Kong, organized and hosted by the Hong Kong Stoma Association (HKSA), in September 1993.

This Inaugural Meeting of the Asian Ostomy Association was accordingly held from the 23rd to the 29th September 1993, in the Royal Park Hotel, Shatin, Hong Kong, with the theme: We Help Each Other"

Present were:

IOA Representatives Mr. John O'NEILL Chairman, Mr. Howard JONES, Dr. Clive YOUNG

CHINA Dr De-Hong Yu, Dr. Ping-Zhi WANG

HONG KONG Miss. Anita WONG, Dr. Samuel KWOK, Mr. Kwok-Hung LEUNG,

INDIA Mr. Surinder Singh CHADHA, Mrs. Kamaljit Kaur CHADHA

JAPAN Mr. Suketoki OKADA, Miss. Noriko TAKAHASHI

Mr. Kwok-Wah POON, Mr. Kwan LAI, Mr. Fook-Cheung WONG,

Mdm. Pui-Man CHEUNG, Mr. Chor LING, Mdm. Ambar LAM,

Mdm. Millie YAM, Mdm. Helen SIU, Miss Susan LEE, Mr. Chi-Chuen LEE


MALAYSIA Miss. Gian KAUR, Mr. Zainuddin TAHIR


Recorder Miss. Dora YEUNG (Hong Kong)

Also in attendance: Representatives from the following pharmaceutical companies BIOTROL, COLOPLAST, CONVATEC, HOLLISTER

        Brief Summary of the proceedings at the Inaugural Meeting of the Asian Ostomy Association, held on 27th to 29th September 1993 at the Royal Park Hotel, Shatin, Hong Kong

       The meeting began at 9.30 a.m. with opening remarks, announcements and greetings by Miss Anita Wong, Advisor, Hong Kong Stoma Association. She also presented greetings from the President of IOA, Dr Gerhard Englert, who was unable to be present, but was represented by Mr. Howard Jones Immediate Past President IOA and IOA Rep for non-regional ostomy associations, Mr. John O' Neill IOA Treasurer and President of Federation of New Zealand Ostomy Associations, and Dr Clive Young Consultant Urologist and R & D Director of the British Colostomy Association.

       This was followed by a roll call of the delegates, speakers and observers, following which the sponsor representatives of the ostomy supply manufacturers introduced themselves. The companies present were: BIOTROL, COLOPLAST, CONVATEC and HOLLISTER.

       Then the Chairman of the Hong Kong Stoma Association, Mr. K. H. Leung, made his welcoming address followed by the manufacturers' representatives introducing their companies. After the coffee break, Mr Howard Jones proposed Mr. John O'Neill as Chairman of the Conference. This was unanimously agreed to by all present.

       John O'Neill then made a welcome address as the IOA's Acting Coordinator for Asia and South Pacific Regions. This was followed by addresses by Howard Jones, and by Dr Clive Young. After lunch, the afternoon session was fully occupied with addresses by the following Ostomy Associations: Hong Kong, India, Japan, Malaysia, before closing for the day at 4.30 p.m. Immediately afterwards, all participants were treated to a sponsored evening Function followed by dinner.

Tuesday 28th September 1993

       The Meeting continued with addresses by the Ostomy Associations of People's Republic of China and this was followed by a two- hour discussion on the Formation and Constitution of the new Asian Ostomy Association. Participants had a general discussion on the draft constitution which had been previously prepared. Several amendments and clarifications were made, including House of Delegates, Frequency of General Meetings etc. Finally, all participants agreed on the final Constitution. After lunch, there was an Election of Acting Officers to serve on the AOA Coordination Committee until the 8th IOA World Congress in Adelaide in 1994.

       Three countries – Japan, Hong Kong, and Malaysia, were elected to form the AOA Coordination Committee. The Malaysian delegates proposed that Hong Kong be the President, Japan the Vice-President, and Malaysia the Committee Member. This was agreed to by Hong Kong and Japan, and the three Acting Officers of the AOA Coordination Committee were welcomed by the participants. Participants then discussed at length the common concerns of ostomates in Asian countries. Several focuses were identified as follows:

1. Any duty and local taxes charged on ostomy appliances in the various countries of Asia.

2. Any assistance by the governments.

3. Privileges that ostomates may be enjoying.

4. Whether or not ostomates are registered as handicapped persons.

5. Are there Enterostomal Therapy Nurses in the respective countries?

6. Is there ETN Training available in the respective countries?

The meeting closed for the day at 4.00 p.m., while the Coordination Committee continued to discuss joint projects concerning the above focuses.

       That evening there was another Sponsored Evening Function and Dinner. Souvenirs were presented tothe volunteers who were involved in organizing the Meeting.

29th September 1993

       Miss Anita Wong started the meeting by reporting that the Coordination Committee had designed a questionnaire for all Asian Member Associations to collect information concerning the focuses agreed to previously. The aim of the questionnaire was to have a general picture of the situation of ostomates in Asan countries. Participants were given a draft copy of the questionnaire. The draft was discussed, and amendments made. Finally a work schedule was agreed upon. The Hong Kong Stoma Association would undertake to refine the questionnaire, and then to distribute it to all Asian Associations by early November 1993. Completed questionnaires were expected to be returned to HKSA by the end of December 1993. HKSA would then compile the information to be ready by the end of February 1994.

       Representatives from ConvaTec and Hollister agreed to provide information on import duty in Asiancountries, and distribute this to all Asian country Associations. The rest of the morning session was spent in informal discussions about the future directions of AOA. Japan expressed a desire to bid for the 9th IOA Congress in 1997, and requested support from all AOA members. Japan pointed out that Asia had never hosted an IOA World Congress. The participants promised support to their bid, and made valuable suggestions for their bid. The Meeting came to a close with a farewell lunch.

Subsequent AOA Conferences and House of Delegates Meetings

1994 Adelaide, Australia 8th IOA World Congress 2nd HOD

1996 Bangkok, Thailand 2nd AOA Conference 3rd HOD

1997 Calgary, Canada 9th IOA World Congress 4th HOD

1999 Penang, Malaysia 3rd AOA Conference 5th HOD

2000 Amsterdam, Holland 10th IOA World Congress 6th HOD

2002 Manila, Philippines 4th AOA Conference 7th HOD

2004 Porto, Portugal 11th IOA World Congress 8th HOD

2005 Bangkok, Thailand 5th AOA Conference 9th HOD

2007 Puerto Rico, USA 12th IOA World Congress 10th HOD

(Compiled with assistance from Mr. John O'Neill, Miss. Noriko Takahashi, and Haji Zainuddin Tahirby Dato' John David Cardosa.)