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Harmonisation of Asian Dietetics. (Editorial).

This is the theme for our third Asian Congress in Dietetics being held at the Shangri-La Hotel, Kuala Lumpur from 18 to 21 August 2002. The first Asian Congress was held in Jakarta from 2 to 5 October 1994. Asian dietitians were then looking beyond nutrition for professional dietetics. The second Asian Congress held in Seoul, South Korea from 9 to 12 August 1998 aspired to look into networks and new ventures for Asian dietetics.

We are now in the new millennium where with Harmonisation of Asian Dietetics we have a new platform to witness growth and maturity of Asian dietitians. This new platform allows us to exchange mutually our achievements and ideas and together to chart new routes in the practice of dietetics. The areas requiring harmonisation include basic dietetic training and education, evaluating quality of practice, continued quality and audit improvement, evidence-based practice of dietetics and sub-speciality dietetics training. We have to come to a consensus on education and training as to what basic requirements are necessary to become a dietitian in the Asian region. Meanwhile professional improvements for dietitians have to be considered. Ongoing training in specialised areas in dietetics namely renal, enteral and parenteral nutrition, paediatrics, diabetes and others can be focused in certain regions where the expertise is present. This is to update and upgrade the knowledge and practice of Asian dietitians. Harmonisa tion in clinical practice involves sharing the same guidelines or consensus regarding patient management, for example lipid lowering guidelines, diabetes management, cancer, enteral nutrition and others. This is to ensure uniformity in the conduct of practice and dietary management of patients all over Asia. Now we are faced with standardisation of practice and quality assurance. We have to audit ourselves in the Asian region to ensure quality of practice. Initially each country has to establish its own dietetic association. Once established the professional organisation can network with the Asian Federation of Dietetic Associations (AFDA). Through networking we can consult with each other and have forums or discuss any topic pertaining to professional development from member countries. This committee can have a forum in the electronic media on current issues and come to a consensus on certain aspects.

Let me briefly introduce AFDA to those who are not familiar with this term. The Asian Federation of Dietetic Associations was officially launched in 1994 during the first Asian Congress. The aim of AFDA is to pursue the advancement of dietetic science and practice in order to achieve better nutritional status for the population in Asia. Therefore a group of dietetics pioneers set out the specific roles and objectives of AFDA:

1. To promote the development of the dietetics professions by keeping abreast of the knowledge in the area of dietetics and nutrition.

2. To set up international collaboration for dietetic research and educational activities in Asia.

3. To establish a network of scientific information in dietetics and nutrition by sharing resources and expertise.

4. To enhance a network of scientific information in dietetics and nutrition and to strengthen the communication between member associations by sharing resources and expertise.

5. To organise meetings, workshops, conferences and congresses.

6. To link with international dietetics, nutrition and health related organisations.

Any Asian national dietetics association that represents its country or area may become a full member of the federation. However, when a national dietetic association is not available, a leading association, group or club of dietitians may take its position instead, subject to the approval of the executive council.

It is also important for dietitians to equip themselves with some research skills and conduct research with other professionals. Research in new areas like functional foods, micronutrients, chronic and acute illnesses are still lacking. Harmonisation in the true sense is to emphasise oneness and sense of belonging and family spirit to achieve common goals towards excellence.

Dr Fatimah Arshad


Department of Nutrition and Dietetics

Faculty of Allied Health Sciences

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
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Article Details
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Author:Dr. Arshad, Fatimah
Publication:Nutrition & Dietetics: The Journal of the Dietitians Association of Australia
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:90ASI
Date:Jun 1, 2002
Previous Article:Corrections.
Next Article:Nutrition transition in China--a challenge in the new millennium. (Editorial).

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