Asian Pacific Federation of Societies for Surgery of the Hand APFSSH
The discussions which finally led to the formation of the Asian-Pacific Federation of Societies for Surgery of the Hand (APFSSH) were conducted in Hong Kong on the 30th April and 1st May, 1994.
Representatives of all founding societies, except India, were present at these meetings during which the name of the Federation and its objectives were established.
A tentative structure was established with a Delegates' Council, consisting of representatives from each prospective member society, and an acting Executive Committee, with appointments to be confirmed at a the next official Council meeting after individual member societies had accepted a formal invitation to join the Federation.
The decision to establish the Federation and the recommendations of the discussion group in Hong Kong were born of a prolonged gestational period.
As early as 1979, Dr BB Joshi from India organised an "Afro-Asian Hand Meeting" and advocated the development of a regional hand surgery group. He may not have been the first to suggest this.
Regrettably, APFSSH archives do not provide a detailed and precise history of all those who contributed to the development of a regional Federation.
The Western Pacific Orthopaedic Association was established in 1962, changing its name to the Asia-Pacific Orthopaedic Association in 2000. Within this association was a hand surgery group.
This could be considered as the forerunner of the current Federation. In late 1990, Michael Tonkin from Australia wrote to Asian-Pacific member societies of the International Federation of Societies for Surgery of the Hand (IFSSH), advocating the formation of a regional Federation.
By this time the European Federation of Societies for Surgery of the Hand (FESSH) had been established, following preliminary meetings in 1989 when a draft constitution was agreed upon and subsequently adopted in Paris on the 11th February, 1990.
The largest of the IFSSH member societies was the American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH), which was closely aligned geographically with Canada and the South American countries.
It appeared appropriate for the Asian-Pacific countries to align as they formed a natural geographic region.
Some considered that the effective function of such a Federation would be very difficult because of budgetary, geographical and cultural differences amongst the probable constituent societies.
These were also problems which confronted the European societies when establishing the European Federation.