History of the CMAAO

Currently comprised of 18 member National Medical Associations (NMAs), the Confederation of Medical Associations in Asia and Oceania (CMAAO) has more than 50 years of history. Its establishment was proposed in 1956 by Dr. Rodolfo P. Gonzalez, then President of the Philippine Medical Association at the third meeting of the Southeast Asian Medical Confederation. In 1959, CMAAO was inaugurated at the first Congress and Council Meeting held at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo. There were 11 member NMAs at the time of inauguration, of which 6 were present at the first meeting; Japan, Australia, Burma (now Myanmar), Republic of China (Taiwan), Indonesia, and Philippines. The remaining 5 which could not be present were the Republic of Korea, Iran, Pakistan, Thailand, and India. In the Congress, Dr. Taro Takemi, then President of the Japan Medical Association, was appointed as the next President of CMAAO. The official CMAAO Secretariat was established in Manila, Philippines. The second CMAAO Congress was held in Queson, Philippines in 1961.

Dr. Takemi subsequently served for 4 successive terms and contributed actively to the organization. In homage to the contributions made by Dr. Takemi in CMAAO and his achievements in global health care, the 16th CMAAO Congress (Indonesia, 1989) decided to establish the academic lecture called Taro Takemi Memorial Oration. At the 17th CMAAO Congress (Hong Kong, 1991) the Takemi family and the Japan Medical Association each donated about 10,000 US dollars to establish the Takemi Memorial Fund. The first oration was presented by Dr. Haruto Haneda, then President of the Japan Medical Association on ”Health Insurance Trends in the 1990s”. Subsequent speakers have been selected from the country hosting the CMAAO Congress. In addition to the Taro Takemi Memorial Oration, an academic symposium is held during the congressional and council meetings. A relevant and appropriate theme for the symposium is selected and information is exchanged between member medical associations.

In the 20th CMAAO Congress (Thailand, 1997) the offices of Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, and Treasurer were newly created and the Secretariat was moved to the Medical Association of Thailand. The Secretariat, which was originally in the Philippine Medical Association, moved to Malaysia (1993), Thailand (1997), New Zealand (1999), and since 2000 it has been in Japan. The role of CMAAO Secretary General was also passed to the JMA Executive Board Member in charge of international affairs. Also the Takemi Memorial Fund was removed from CMAAO’s Secretariat and placed under the management of the Japan Medical Association in 1997.

Since its establishment, the objective of CMAAO activities as stated in its constitution has been to promote academic exchange and cultivate ties of friendship between member medical associations. The CMAAO Congress and Midterm Council Meetings were held in alternate years until 2012. Following the revision of its Articles and Bylaws in 2011, the General Assembly, formerly called “Congress”, is held annually starting from 2013.

Related articles
1) Asian Medical Journal Vol.2 No.3 March, 1959. https://www.med.or.jp/english/journal/amj/0203/0203.pdf
2) CMAAO 50th Anniversary Special Edition, JMAJ.2008;51(6). https://www.med.or.jp/english/journal/pdf/jmaj/v51no06.pdf
3) Ishii M, Tsuruoka, H. CMAAO, Over Fifty Years of History and Future Outlook. WMJ. 2010;56(2):70-73.