KOTA KINABALU – A band of Catholic doctors in Sabah recently came together to form the Sabah Chapter of Catholic Doctors Association Malaysia (CDAM). CDAM which was conceived in 1982 with the mission to uphold the principles of Catholic morality in its application to the practice of Medicine has since witnessed an expansion to 150 members. In Kuala Lumpur, the CDAM activities include charity clinics and free immunization programmes for the refugees.
The installation of this group took place at Sacred Heart Cathedral here on 17 Oct 2015 in conjunction with the feast day of St Luke, the Patron Saint of Doctors. At the Sunset Mass 20 Catholic doctors from Sabah recited the Physician’s Prayer as part of the commissioning. Also present at the inauguration was the current CDAM president, Dato Dr Anthonysamy Saravinathan, and a team of five members from CDAM. The purpose and mission of the Sabah Chapter of CDAM are very much aligned with its mother organization, but with a special attention to programmes which will address the issue of poverty and health care inaccessibility in many rural areas in the state of Sabah.
Dato Anthony had expressed his delight at the successful installation of the Sabah Chapter of CDAM as he had always envisioned of bringing this organization to Sabah. He also applauded the efforts of the Sabah team which had made efforts to hold outreach programmes on a regular basis to the remote district of Gosusu.
As a build-up to this event, a 2-day retreat was held in BunduTuhan Oct 16. Fr Cosmas Lee, who facilitated for the retreat, discussed on matters and challenges faced by the medical fraternity in upholding the Catholic principles and beliefs. Attendees of the retreat also had group sessions where they exchanged ideas and shared experiences from their day to day practices.
The retreatants were reminded of Pope Francis’ words addressed to the Association of Catholic Doctors in 2014: “The dominant thinking sometimes suggests a ‘false compassion’, that which believes that it is: helpful to women to promote abortion; an act of dignity to obtain euthanasia; a scientific breakthrough to “produce” a child and to consider it to be a right rather than a gift to welcome; or to use human lives as guinea pigs presumably to save others.”
The pope further added that it’s the duty of Catholic doctors to “live your profession as a human and spiritual mission, as a real lay apostolate, giving attention to human life, especially that which is in greatest difficulty, that is, to the sick, the elderly, children”.
The next focus of the group would be to recruit new members and expand its services to more districts in the state. Its members remain optimistic that this group would be able to deliver its objective of assisting poverty stricken rural areas and with the help of other NGOs provide some measure of economical support. – CDAM-Sabah, Dr James Emmanuel