Monday, February 16, 2009


We have just completed " Weekend Seminar in Cardiology 2009 ". This was held over the weekend ( 14th-15th Feb. ) at the Sunway Convention Center. It was very well attended. I was told that about 950 registered to attend. On day 1, about 600 were in the room to listen to the lectures, and on 15th Feb right up to 1pm on a sunday, there were 400+ in the room. On " Valentines " night, in the Bayer sponsored talk, we had 25 tables filled, and on Sunday afternoon at the Pfizer lunch, we had 40+ tables filled. This is amazing, in my experience, running CMEs. The scientific program over the 2 half days covered critical management issues in " Lipid lowering ", BP lowering and sugar lowering, essentially dealing with issues of control and " how low can you go ?" There were also a debate about the management of atrial fibrillation, ECG and Xray tutorials, and management of heart failure and also strokes. The Pharmas were out in full to support. There were 19 supporting pharmas and device companies. Their booths were like a "pasar malam" during the coffee-breaks. Full of funfare and I was told also direct sales of medical equipment at discounted prices.
About the only hiccup during the seminar was dealing with Sunway Convention Center. The organizers had a torrid time dealing with the convention center management team as they were most unreasonable, making demands at the last moment and threatening cancelling the meeting should their demands not be met. There was no understanding that this event was for the common good of educating doctors, and obviously, there was no attempt at corporate social responsibility, to help doctors learn so that they can better help the public. For example, after all the bills were paid ( final payment was made 1 day before the seminar ) they demanded extra. I suppose Malaysian corporations still lack social graces and an understanding of social responsibility. The doctors organizing the meeting and the NGO hosting the meeting ( in this case PMPASKL ) were not paid. They were doing it out of the goodness of their heart. The lecturers and chairperson who came to help were helping " gratis ", and the businessmen ( convention managers ) were not willing to be " flexible ". What is worse, we have been dealing with the Sunway convention center for the last 5 years, except one. They know us and what we are doing, and our good track record. Looks like a new team " hungry " has come in, and they want their pound of flesh, come what may. Well we will be looking for alternatives next year, as Sunway Convention Center has proven to be " unfriendly " to social responsibility. And mind you, it is not cheap to hold meetings in Sunway CC. The other issue with Sunway CC is the parking. For the session on Sat afternoon, the delegates complained bitterly about severe lack of parking. They had to circle many times and end up parking " illegally " . I can only conclude through both these issues that Sunway CC is doing well and that their management team has no need for a " customer-friendly, customer retention " policy. Basically, they are just " cocky ".
Anyway, all things said and done, the meeting when well ( thank God ), and all the feedback so far, was excellent. I even had one doctor ( GP ) holidaying here from USA who came up to thank and congratulate me for an excellent meeting.
Well, " syabas" to the organising committee, the lectures, chairpersons, secretariat, and all involved. " Syabas " for a job well-done.
For those interested, lookout for the next one in yr 2010. I am quite sure that despite the challenging economic times, the NGO will still want to hold the seminar, as it was obviously serving a need.

No comments: