Old friends greeted each other warmly, introducing new acquaintances to one another. Photographs were snapped as traditional outfits mingled with religious robes, colourful designer dresses and business suits.
The Thai Minister of Public Health attended the opening ceremony.
Professor Cynthia Goh, chairperson of the Asia Pacific Hospice Network, said: “This is an opportunity for all workers in the field to be together to share knowledge and to build new collaborations.
“I congratulate the Thai Palliative Care Society for presenting us with this wonderful conference today. The society has used this opportunity to reach out to colleagues in the community health and related fields… I hope the outcome of this conference will spur you on to greater achievements in the future.”
She remided delegates of the reason that they were all here: To improve the lot of patients and families, by improving knowledge to help relieve their suffering .
Assistant Professor Laksamee Chanjev, speaking on behalf of the scientific committee said: “We hope that countries for whom palliative care is in the beginning phase, such as Thailand, will be able to update their knowledge.”
She commented on the massive reach of this conference, with 905 delegates registered, over 200 poster and 70 oral presentations.
Associate Professor Srivieng Pairojkul welcomed all the delegates to Bangkok, saying: “I truly believe that one thing we all have in common is that we give value to meaningful life and because of this value we see the importance of taking this life journey to the end with dignity, sophistication and wisdom.”
Professor Jim Cleary made the opening plenary, speaking about Thai wisdom and its integration into palliative care.
The Thai Minister of Health lent his voice to the support of palliative care in Thailand, commenting on the importance of public awareness and social awareness of palliative care. He said: “It is really important for the public to be informed about this concept.”
The honourable Minister declared the conference open, saying: “It is my honour to be invited to the Asia Pacific Hospice Conference 2013. I wish it a great success and future achievement of the network. “
Following the opening ceremony, the VIPs attended a: ‘Before I die’ awareness-raising exhibition in Central World, a nearby shopping centre.
Closing plenaries were given by Tetsuo Kashiwagi from Japan, talking about finding strength and meaning after the Fukushima tsunami, and the Venerable Paisal Visalo, Buddhist Abbot, on a spiritual response to personal tragedy.