Materia Medica Malaysiana

May 26, 2004

108555325283260073

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 2:33 pm

Compulsory service plan

UTRAJAYA: Allied Health Science graduates like optometrists, dieticians, pharmacists, speech therapists and physiotherapists may have to sign up for compulsory service with the Government to reduce the shortage of professionals in their respective fields.

Higher Education Minister Datuk Dr Shafie Mohd Salleh said serious measures had to be taken as Health Ministry statistics showed that by next year, there would be a shortage of 49,000 health service professionals in 13 fields.

“As research in this area of health and allied sciences continues to intensify, so does the demand for human resource.

However, it is estimated that by 2005, the country will see a deficit of 49,000 health science professionals that are integral for our health services sector,” he told reporters after opening the fifth Symposium on Health Sciences, organised by Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, yesterday.

“Local university dons have come up with a list of proposals which my ministry is scrutinising. Among the main propositions are that graduates in these areas do a compulsory service stint and be offered a better pay scheme and incentives. There is a suggestion for the creation of a professional body for health service professionals,” said Dr Shafie at the Marriott Hotel here yesterday.

Courses in allied health sciences include Biomedicine, Optometry, Food Science, Dietetics, Pharmacy, Audiology, Speech Therapy, Diagnostic Imaging and Radiotherapy, Physiotherapy, Environmental Health, Occupational Therapy and Psychology.

Dr Shafie said that although allied health sciences were relatively new in Malaysia, it was becoming increasingly popular and relevant not just locally but internationally.

“Health delivery now is not dependent on the doctor alone but is very much a team effort. We do not want Malaysia to be left behind in this area; we have to intensify our research in allied health sciences. Public universities must also offer courses that are relevant and build partnerships with private companies and agencies,” he said.

The minister also urged universities to use traditional plants and herbs in their research in the health and allied health sciences.

“Researchers should make use of our traditional herbs and plants which have a lot of natural healing properties. We should use them and patent them before they either become extinct or are used by foreign researchers,” he said.

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