Materia Medica Malaysiana

September 29, 2003


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:10 am

Making children aware of perils of cancer : KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 26: With a message that cancer awareness should start with the young, the National Cancer Awareness Day was launched at the Mont Kiara International
School today.

The event, organised by the National Cancer Society Malaysia, was made more poignant by having it dedicated to the memory of Madeline Sjonell, a student from the school who died of a brain tumour three years ago.

With the theme “Wear yellow for cancer day”, students, teachers and guests were in their “yellow” best as they thronged the school’s amphitheatre for the launch of the campaign by Raja Puan Seri Noora Ashikin Raja Abdullah.

Raja Noora, who is the patron for the campaign, said cancer awareness concerned all including children.

“Most children do not think about cancer. We must remember that last year, more than 1,500 children died of it,” she said.

She lauded the participation of the school, especially Niamh Walsh, a student who wrote “Chemophant”, a book explaining chemotherapy to children that was also launched today.

“The book will help children understand cancer and arm themselves with knowledge that will help them as they grow older.” The event took on a sombre note as student Joanne Richards read a letter from Madeline Sjonell’s mother, Eva, to honour the efforts of the society and thanking the school for preserving the memory of her daughter.

“By dedicating this event to her, Madeline’s spirit will live on,” the letter said.

Later, Raja Noora visited the Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia paediatric oncology ward and distributed copies of “Chemophant” to children under treatment.

Apart from this event, several booths were set up at MidValley Megamall, Metrojaya in Bukit Bintang Plaza, Ikea and Cheras Leisure Mall to answer public queries about cancer. A bazaar was also held at the Bangsar Shopping Centre. The campaign will raise funds for the society’s Resource and Wellness Centre to publish books and organise talks to inform the public about cancer.

September 28, 2003


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 3:56 pm

UM team wins physiology quiz: “UNIVERSITI Malaya’s (UM) Team B has won the university’s inaugural Inter-Medical School Physiology Quiz and the Prof A. Raman challenge trophy.
Ng Chee Yong of Team B said he and his teammates � Koay Hean Tang, See Beng Teong, Lim Lee Ling and How Ann Kee � spent more than a week preparing for the quiz. ”Physiology is a subject we studied in first year so we went over all our textbooks and notes, ” he said.
The first runner-up was UM’s Team A, while the second runner-up was a team from Universiti Putra Malaysia.
Prof Cheng Hwee Ming, of UM’s physiology department, said the quiz was aimed at generating interest in physiology, which is the study of human body functions.
Out of 11 letters of invitation sent out, seven medical schools responded, including Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Perak Medical College, Asian Institute of Medicine, Science and Technology and International Islamic University Malaysia.
Prof Cheng said the challenge trophy was named in honour of the late Prof A. Raman, who was the first Malaysian physiology professor at UM. He headed its physiology department from 1971 until his death in 1998.
Under his leadership, the department conducted undergraduate and postgraduate courses for medical, dental and paramedical students. He also rose to the challenge of teaching physiology in Bahasa Malaysia by spearheading the authorship of a series of physiology texts in the national language. “


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 3:53 pm

Doctor: Few medical errors in hospitals: “PETALING JAYA: The record of medical errors reported in Malaysia is small compared to developed nations but continuous risk management methods must be taken to improve patient safety in hospitals, Association of Private Hospitals of Malaysia (APHM) president Datuk Dr Ridzwan Bakar said.
He said based on the results of the Incident Reporting exercise conducted last year on all public hospitals, medication errors only made up 0.01% of the total number of cases surveyed.
“This meant that out of more than 10 million prescriptions, 1,637 errors are recorded.
“This is small compared to the 98,000 deaths noted yearly in the United States due to medical errors implied from two studies conducted, one in 1984 and the other in 1992.
“However, this also means 1,637 lives were affected because of these mistakes,” he said in his speech at the official launch of the International Healthcare Show 2003 yesterday.
Dr Ridzwan also said adverse drug reactions were reported in 13,319 patients out of the one million episodes of care surveyed last year.
The Incident Reporting Programme, implemented in all hospitals, presently monitors 31 types of incidents in hospital settings which includes medication errors, adverse outcomes of procedures, falls in the wards and wrong procedures performed.
“We need to consider the tools for mitigating such risks, which include quality assurance programmes, performance indicators, clinical audit and the patient safety council,” he added. “

September 27, 2003


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 6:37 am

‘Time to set up risk management protocols’ : “PETALING JAYA: Healthcare institutions need to establish an action plan in line with health risk management protocols to ensure the safety of patients, staff and visitors, said Health Minister Datuk Chua Jui Meng.
He said the action plan should not only involve the entire organisation, but also be fully backed by the related agencies, such as the police, army, fire and rescue department and voluntary organisations.
“Healthcare institutions should also know how to assess, analyse and contain these risks in order to protect their patients, staff and visitors,” he said in his opening speech at the 11th International Healthcare Show 2003, entitled Risk Management in the Healthcare Industry, here Friday. His speech was read by the Ministry’s Parliamentary Secretary S. Sothinathan.
Chua said risk management meant more than just having a safety programme, it involved a process that identified and controlled all the sources of risks and losses in a facility.
“It deals with all the areas of a facility’s operations, among others compliance with Federal and State requirements, maintenance, personnel and asset protection, fire and injury prevention, emergency preparedness, training and evaluation,” he said.
Chua added: “Healthcare risk management entails putting in place policies, processes and procedures for the prevention of risks and the averting of medical errors and facility failures which may otherwise lead to injuries, deaths and financial losses from insurance claims and lawsuits.”
He said among the risks that needed to be looked into were those related to safety of patients and healthcare staff arising from bad surroundings, poor maintenance or facility failure.
“Cases include patients or staff tripping on slippery floors, equipment failures while in use and power failure. The cases may not be reported unless causing death or severe injury,” he said.

The other aspect of risk was concerning security with the need to provide a safe environment for patients, staff, visitors and equipment, followed by natural disasters which could cause a sudden influx of victims to the facility and would jeopardise the normal operations of the organisation.

While the final risk is the weakness and errors in medical management, such as errors in procedures, mistakes in blood transfusion, diagnosis and treatment.

“Such mistakes could have undesirable or even fatal consequences,” he said.

He hoped that with the setting up of the Patient Safety Council of Malaysia last January, it could advise the Ministry on appropriate measures to be taken to improve the patients’ safety in hospitals.- Bernama

September 26, 2003


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 11:09 am

Take action against 24-hour clinics that employ HAs or MAs
: “KUALA LUMPUR Sept 25 – The Health Ministry and the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) should act against 24-hour clinics that employ hospital assistants (HAs) or medical assistants (MAs) during the ‘graveyard shift’.
The Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (Fomca) President, Datuk Hamdan Adnan, said Fomca had received numerous complaints from consumers that some 24-hour clinics were employing HAs or MAs instead of certified doctors for the late night shifts and this was a cause for concern.
‘People go around looking for these 24-hour clinics in cases of emergency in the wee hours but when they are treated by a HA or MA they feel cheated.
‘They go to these clinics seeking proper medical treatment from doctors but when a HA or MA treats them…who will bear the consequences if something goes wrong in the treatment,’ he said Thursday.
He said when a patient or his or her family realised that it was a MA or HA who was at the clinic, it causes more stress and tension to the parties involved.
‘Instead of wasting time looking for these 24-hour clinics they could have taken the patient to the nearest general hospital or private medical centre,’ he added.
He said the Health Ministry and the MMA should carry out surprise checks on 24-hour clinics to ensure that only certified doctors were employed throughout the day.
‘These clinics do not employ fulltime doctors to save costs without taking into account the lives of people. This should stop immediately before anyone dies.
‘If a 24-hour clinic is found to have employed HAs or MAs to carry out a doctor’s duties then it should be fined and its 24-hour status revoked,’ he added. “


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 11:05 am

Expert: Elderly heal better in familiar surroundings: “PETALING JAYA: Putting the elderly, who are recovering from chronic illnesses, in nursing homes after they are discharged from hospitals may slow down the healing processes, said a university lecturer.
Universiti Putra Malaysia Geriatric Unit head and senior lecturer in medicine Dr Rajbans Singh said it could cause patients to become depressed from staying in unfamiliar surroundings, as they might feel “abandoned” by their family members.
“They are sent to these homes because most families are unable to cope or provide post-hospitalisation care for their aging parents or elderly relatives as they do not know the proper methods.
“Patients will recover better if they are cared for in their own homes, as they are more familiar with the environment,” he said. “

September 25, 2003


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 6:32 am

Chua: AIDS kills more than war or terrorism: “NEW YORK: AIDS kills more people every day than any war or terrorist action, Health Minister Datuk Chua Jui Meng said.
Addressing the 26th special session themed “Implementation of the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS” at the United Nations General Assembly here, Chua said neglecting the epidemic would only cause social and economic deprivations that could fuel the condition from which other issues may arise.
“Investment in HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, care and support in developing countries now may well be an investment in the future that is equitable and peaceful,” he said.
Chua said that Malaysia and other developing countries would continue to need support.
“We hope that the commitment made by countries of the North to support the Global Fund against AIDS, TB and malaria will be met urgently.
“We regret that while some concerns have attracted large resources, HIV/AIDS still needs to fight for adequate attention,” Chua said.
The Health Minister also spoke on steps taken by the Malaysians Government to fight the scourge.
He said that Malaysia realised that any positive action depended on strong Government commitment and in the last two years had made available US$20.73mill for HIV/AIDS related work, of which US$8.32mil was for HIV prevention and US$9.81mil for clinical care and treatment.
“As about 80% of infections in Malaysia occurred among young people, aged between 20 and 35, the government placed great priority on prevention programmes for the young,” he said.
Among those who attended yesterday’s meeting was the Malaysian AIDS Council president Datuk Seri Marina Mahathir. “

September 23, 2003


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 8:23 pm > News > Malaysia to sign anti-smoking treaty today: “Malaysia will today sign the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control at the United Nations in New York. The signature of Health Minister Datuk Chua Jui Meng will mean that Malaysia will commit itself to establish stringent controls on tobacco products, including a ban on tobacco advertising.
The FIA supports the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control but Formula 1 tobacco companies are putting pressure on F1 teams to boycott countries which will not allow tobacco sponsorship.
In theory the Malaysian government has an agreement with F1 for racing until 2010 but as the contract is not a public document it is difficult to say whether it includes clauses related to tobacco sponsorship”


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 8:16 pm

Historic stem cell transplant performed at IJN: “KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s first cardiovascular stem cell transplantation surgery was successfully performed at the National Heart Institute here last Tuesday.
Institute chairman Tan Sri Mohamed Khatib Abdul Hamid said the surgery was a proud achievement for the institute and the country.
“This research is among the first few clinical trials in the world using stem cell in treating a severe heart disease.
“We are proud to be involved in this leading edge research on stem cells as this is the first phase of the clinical trial in the world,” he said at a press conference here yesterday.

RECOVERING: Allagara, with the help of a nurse, showing where doctors operated on his body.
On Sept 16, a collaborative effort between the institute, Kansai Medical University of Osaka and Kuala Lumpur Hospital saw 20 medical experts performing a six-hour operation on 60-year-old Allagara Arumugam, who has been suffering from recurring chest pains since a coronary artery bypass surgery in 1997.
Allagara, who had been admitted 31 times for chest pains, was declared unsuitable for other operations to rectify the problem.
He said at the press conference yesterday that he was “very comfortable now compared to before”.
“It doesn’t hurt to breathe anymore,” said the retired defence ministry storekeeper.
The operation was led by Datuk Dr Mohd Azhari Yakub from the institute. It involved the harvesting of bone marrow from Arumugam’s hipbone, which was then processed before being injected into his heart.
Dr Mohd Azhari explained that new blood vessels were expected to form within the next two to three weeks.
“Stem cell therapy offers a great opportunity for these patients to have an effective treatment and better quality of life. ”
“It holds enormous potential for heart disease treatment and may one day be an alternative to heart transplants,” he added.
Two more patients have been lined up to undergo the same surgery in the next few months.
Stem cells are embryonic cells that have the potential to cure many human diseases as they are akin to blank cells that can develop into almost any of 216 different cells in the human body.
Found in embryos, foetal tissues, umbilical cords, adults and children, embryonic stem cells can be obtained from unneeded embryos for infertility treatment or those created specifically for research as well as in cloned embryos.
Blood stem cells in adults and children, acquired from the bone marrow during surgery, continuously replenish the body’s red and white blood cells, and platelets.
Scientists today are making use of stem cells as a means to substitute dead or diseased cells in a number of organs.
Tissues derived from stem cells are potential treatment, for among others, heart attacks, congestive heart failure, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, and cancer.


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:51 am

Home care connection: “There’s a void that exists in caring for patients, especially elderly patients, in the time immediately after their discharge from hospital and before they fully recover from illness. Now there’s a home care service that provides care for such patients at home while updating and giving feedback on the patient’s recovery to the health care provider.”

According to Dr Rajbans Singh, senior lecturer in medicine and head of the Geriatric Unit at University Putra Malaysia, who was speaking at a media conference on home health care, there’s an urgent need for home medical care, especially for patients after their discharge.

Dr Rajbans, who has had extensive involvement in health care of the elderly, was pivotal in setting up the first geriatric unit in the Ministry of Health and subsequently, the Institute of Gerontology in Malaysia.

In the hospital, trained staff care for the patients. Once these patients are discharged, such care falls on the shoulders of the family members, many of whom are busy juggling careers and duties at home.
He observes that the world is ageing, and rapidly. This is inevitably a result of advances in medical science through the years.” The average global lifespan in 1927 was 45 years,” he said. “This increased to 58 in 1950, and to 80 in 1999. Life has been prolonged, but acute disease is not anymore the major cause of death. Today one dies from chronic diseases, metastatic cancer, immune deficiencies and other diseases, with prolonged disability, immobility and dependency,” he notes.

According to Dr Rajbans, the elderly usually have multiple problems and these problems may present differently compared to a younger patient. In addition, the elderly generally are slower to respond to treatment. They also require more extensive social support and early rehabilitation to get them back on their feet.

Hence, the availability of a home health care plan or system can be very useful, not only to the elderly, but also to the family support system. That’s where Home Care Connection (HCC) will make an impact on the lives of many Malaysians.

It’s a service provider that offers comprehensive home care services and medical nutritional products to its members. To achieve this end, it currently has a core group of 12 doctors, 80 nurses and 11 physical therapists for support.

According to Siah Chee Teck, one of the innovators behind HCC, “HCC was developed based on the premise of making home care simple, accessible and reliable. It takes into consideration the comfort and peace of mind of all parties. We believe that good medical care can be available to all in the comfort of their own homes.”

Siah says that at the core of HCC is the referral relationship between the patient, health care provider and HCC itself. As the patient is getting ready to be discharged from the hospital, the health care provider will refer that patient to HCC and subsequently, the patient will receive follow-up care at home through HCC. Through this referral process, HCC serves as an important link for the patient and health care provider as it provides care for the patients at home while updating and giving feedback on the patient’s recovery to the healthcare provider. This is a smart partnership to enhance the recovery process of the patient.

Siah reveals that the services of HCC include specially tailored short or long-term home care by doctors and nurses; delivery of medical nutritional products/medication or medical consumables and home nursing care; 24-hour emergency monitoring systems and ambulance services. Discounts on a range of medical and nutritional products, services and equipment are also available.

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