The Neurosurgical Association of Malaysia (NAM) is currently the sole official organization representing all neurosurgeons in Malaysia. Our members comprise of practicing neurosurgeons from the Ministry of Health, public universities, as well as neurosurgeons practicing in the private sector. Our main purpose is to protect the interest of both the Neurosurgeons of the country as well and make sure that the standards of Neurosurgery in Malaysia is maintained at the highest standards that it is currently, so that the people of Malaysia will always be provided with the best Neurosurgical services all the time. Today we have a total of 64 life members and another 30 ordinary members and 108 associate members.
Neurosurgery by definition involves the surgery of the brain, spine and peripheral nerves. The history of Neurosurgery began thousands of years and is really undated but can be credited to those who probably did bone trepanation going back to 6000 BC based on the oldest skull discovered. Neurosurgery per say however can be dated by to the late 19thcentury and most credit Dr. Harvery Williams Cushing as the father of Neurosurgery.
Dato’ Dr. Kantha Rasalingam
President Neurosurgical Association of Malaysia (NAM)
Neurosurgery in Malaysia however is still rather young and started on the 12thof August 1963 in Kuala Lumpur General Hospital by Dr. Roy Selby, an American Neurosurgeon. He was instrumental in development of Neurosurgical services and also founded the Neurosurgical Foundation of Malaysia in1967. He also helps in the training of the first Malaysian Neurosurgeon, Dato Dr. Nadason Arumugasamy. The services expanded and the first Neuroscience center was opened in 1975 and called the Tuanku Abdul Rahman Neuroscience Institute which housed three disciplines, Neurosurgery, Neurology and Psychiatry. This was the first center in the country and remained the only one for many years to come.
To come with the growing needs of the country and lack of Neurosurgeon, the masters of Neurosurgery Program was established in the year 2001 by Professor Dato’ Dr. Jafri Malin Abdullah in the Department of Neurosciences, School of Medical Services University Sains Malaysia. This provided the avenue of training for many budding Neurosurgeon including the undersigned who is proud to be the first Malaysian trained Neurosurgeon to be the President of NAM.
Neurosurgeon are a unique breed of surgeons who work in very critical areas of the body mainly the Central Nervous System, a system which does not forgive and no really room for errors as this is the only system in the body that does not regenerate. This makes brain and spine surgery very tedious and very stressful hence doing this without passion and dedication is almost impossible. Every single Neurosurgeon out there will be gone through much hardship and still will throughout his or her careers. For this I salute every one of you.
The current cohort of Neurosurgeons are quite diverse in terms of experience and training backgrounds, locally and internationally. Despite this diversity, we are pleased to be united under one association with a common interest and goal; to promote the fraternity amongst all neurosurgeons in Malaysia whilst providing excellent healthcare to our patients.
We believe that building an avenue for our members to participate in continuous education with our peers will create a generation of neurosurgeons who are dynamic, but more importantly, provides a safe and competent platform for contributing to the growth of neurosurgical services to the Malaysian public with the continuous updates and training so that we at breast with the rest of the world. Malaysia, despite being very young in the field of Neurosurgery have been given much recognition by our peers and mainly the World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies who gave us the honor of hosting the WFNS Symposia 2018 which to date stands out as one on the most successful Conferences held in the Neurosurgical fraternity. WFNS recognized our success and development of Neurosurgery in Malaysia and our Immediate Past President Professor Dato’Dr. Hari Chandran Thambinayagam was recently elected as the 2ndVice President of WFNS, the first for Malaysia.
NAMs main focus for the next few years would be to focus and concentrate of education and development of Young Neurosurgeons. Together with a rather new and dynamic team, the NAMEXCO committee for the year 2019-2021 will strive to help bring Malaysian Neurosurgery to greater heights. With the current COVID-19 pandemic going on, I on behalf of the NAM EXCO would like to wish all of you and your families the best and hope you will always remain safe.
Dato’ Dr. Kantha Rasalingam
Neurosurgical Association Malaysia