The idea of establishment of AMDA came from a young medical student from Okayama named Shigeru Suganami. In the 70s, when Dr.Suganami was a medical student, he went to Cambodia and saw many refugees because there was a war there. At that time he was shocked at the sight of the bad situation. He really wanted to help them but he couldn’t. Then, he started dreaming to establish a humanitarian organization to help the people who were affected due to wars or disasters. After he became a doctor, he established The Association of Medical Doctors for Asia (AMDA) in 1984. The aim in establishing AMDA is to help people who are marginalized due to wars or disasters.
When I met him for the first time, I was 38 years old. A friend of mine who was a member of AMSA (Asian Medical Students’ Association) Indonesia introduced me to Dr. Suganami at Okayama Station in 1981. At that time, AMDA had not been established yet. Dr. Suganami explained to me what he would like to achieve by establishing AMDA. I was so inspired by his idea and I agreed his offer to become a future chapter chairperson of AMDA in Indonesia. This is how I met Dr. Suganami and how I became a chapter chairperson of AMDA Indonesia.
The basic philosophy of AMDA is called “Open Sogo-Fujo”. Sogo-Fujo is a Japanese tradition concept that is used to refer to mutual assistance among members of a community. This concept is put into action by building true partnership under local initiative. Sogo-Fujo is not sponsorship but partnership lead by respect and trust of each other. The concept of Sogo-Fujo is not only in Japan but in most ASIAN countries including Indonesia, which is called “Gotong-Royong”.
Here I would like to introduce one good practice of “Gotong-Royong” initiated by AMDA Indonesia. When a magnitude 7.5 earthquake occurred in the Flores in Indonesia on 12 December 1992, the earthquake together with tsunami caused at least 2,080 deaths tall including 1,490 in Maurnere, Flores and 700 on Babi island. With a spirit of “Sogo-Fujo”, AMDA Indonesia dispatched an emergency medical team to Flores on 14 December 1992. The team provided free medical service to the affected people at a local hospital (Ende General Hospital) where partially damaged by the disaster, and examined more than 10,000 patients in total.
Since AMDA was born and began the humanitarian activities, there are so many people who have been helped by AMDA. AMDA has dedicated to humanitarian aids in medical, including emergency medical assistance in communities affected by natural disasters in more than 50 countries in Asia, Middle East, Latin America and Europe. Such as Philippine, Bangladesh, Iran, Afghanistan, China, Haiti and the most visited place, Indonesia. AMDA has helped millions of people from various countries which got disaster with humanitarian basis and universal value that can be shared by everyone, everywhere and anytime. All these happened from the dream of Dr. Suganami 30 years ago and I am truly proud to be a part in the realization of his dream - the great achievement of AMDA in humanitarian relief for the past 30 years.
As a chapter chairperson of AMDA Indonesia as well as a chairperson for the Standing Committee on Emergency Relief of AMDA International, I do hope that AMDA will grow up bigger and give more contributions to continue the sustainable peace and human life prosperity. It is not only in emergency point of view but also in another field such as providing more scholarship programs for better life and brighter future for the young generation and also providing food programs for the health life.
(Chairman of AMDA Indonesia Chapter)