Thirty years ago, a group of medical students led by Dr. Kenneth Hartigan-Go and Pancho Flores came to my office soliciting sponsorship to be able to host the first AMDA-AMSA Conference . I agreed to to be the sole sponsor of the event. Upon attendance to the opening ceremonies of the conference, I was introduced to the founding president of AMDA-AMSA, a youthful and dynamic Japanese doctor in the person of Dr. Shigeru Suganami. That meeting was the best thing that ever happened to my life. Dr. Suganami was full of enthusiasm, great ideas and hoping to unite the young doctors of Asia into a cohesive body that could help fill the needs of the young medical professionals and the poor people that they served.
I have met with Dr. Suganami several times and he told me about what inspired him to create AMDA to lead all young doctors to work for world peace through healing the sick and wounded victims of atrocities. He also started talking about the “Sogo-Fujo” Doctrine as the ember of AMDA to greater service to mankind.
Okayama City became our headquarters and where there are disasters around Asia and even outside Asia, AMDA members wearing the Blue Arm Band will be there to do medical missions. A lot of people joined this humane undertaking. More senior doctors including the world’s leading Japan Medical Association found the opportunity to collaborate with AMDA. Soon, other medical associations wanted to be a part of AMDA and Dr. Suganami could not refuse them.
Thirty years later, after so many worldwide conferences were held and so many lives were saved by the AMDA VOLUNTEER TASK FORCE, I had the occasion to bring Dr. Suganami to visit the World War II island of Corregidor in the Philippines. We planted together some “Peace Trees” and prayed to have “no more wars” anywhere.
The AMDA Soul and Medicine Program (ASMP) was also created in different countries. This is a sacred ritual where all religious leaders including the Japanese Monks pray for the victims of war and disasters.
And now, thrity years later, we can all look back to our beginning, how Dr. Suganami bought us together to work as doctors committed to World Peace and to deter all evils of war. When Dr. Suganami visited me in my home last year, I looked at him and noted graying of his hair but looking more dignified, handsome and authoritative. As far as I am concerned, in my capacity as the International Adviser, Dr. Suganami, who brought all of us from around the world into one AMDA FAMILY is one of the Greater Peace Maker. For this, he was awarded the GUSI PEACE PRIZE in the company of world leaders whose advocacy is to promote PEACE.
I salute this man and will forever thank our Lord for giving me the opportunity to have met and worked with him. Dr. Suganami, may you be blessed with more years of service and leadership.
BY DR. PRIMITIVO D. CHUA, MD, Ed.D
Former President, Philippine Medical Association
Past President, Philippine Academy of Family Physicians