IASP Hosts First Meeting to Create Tool Kit for Multidisciplinary Pain Clinics in Southeast Asia

Apr 30, 2018

Members of the IASP Developing Countries Working Group met in March with pain leaders from Vietnam, Indonesia, and Myanmar to create a practical tool kit to help pain professionals in Southeast Asian countries set up much-needed multidisciplinary pain clinics.

The meeting, held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, was part of the first phase of a three-year IASP project funded by a grant from Pfizer. Core components of the project include establishing (1) a framework for successful multidisciplinary pain clinics, (2) a vetted tool kit and other resources to support clinic development, (3) a related training program for multidisciplinary health-care team members, and (4) a pilot program to test and customize the tool kit for each targeted country.

“This gathering of the project advisory group and additional local and regional pain leaders allowed us to obtain on-the-ground expertise to ensure the tool kit is relevant and realistic,” says IASP Councilor Mary Cardosa, the working group chair and a meeting organizer. “We came away not only with an excellent first framework but also a better understanding of the challenges and exciting opportunities that exist in these countries for more effective, accessible, and interdisciplinary pain management.” 

The group identified key elements of the tool kit, including the following:

  • a compelling case for multidisciplinary clinics
  • a stakeholder list for pain clinic entrepreneurs to engage
  • a resource list
  • a facilities description
  • a summary of the operating environment and context of any new multidisciplinary pain clinic
  • a list of key personnel with the requisite competencies
  • a curriculum for interdisciplinary training of pain clinic personnel
  • program audit and outcome goals
  • broader collaborative research
  • a content dissemination plan

Prior to developing the tool kit framework and timeline, the group studied briefing materials and then discussed presentations affecting multidisciplinary pain clinics. The presenters included Fiona Blyth on the global burden of disease, Pongparadee Chaudakshektrin on the current state of pain services and training in Southeast Asia, and Michael Nicholas on terminology and definitions.

In addition, Cardosa and IASP Executive Director Matthew D’Uva offered details about the project, and country representatives Nguyen Thi Hung and Nguyen Thi Thanh Huyen (Vietnam), Myint Thaung and Khin Myo Hla (Myanmar), and Jimmy Barus and Andi Muhammad Takdir Musba (Indonesia) presented perspectives from their countries. Local pain specialists from Malaysia also contributed important insights and ideas.

Next steps in the tool kit project include materials development, advisory group meetings in Boston in conjunction with the World Congress on Pain and in Malaysia at the 8th ASEAPS Congress, and continued partnering and project work with ocal pain societies in Vietnam, Indonesia, and Myanmar.