Materia Medica Malaysiana

November 30, 2004


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 2:34 pm

Free AIDS drug therapy next year

All those infected with HIV will be given free life-prolonging drugs next year, as soon as the drugs can be locally produced.
This puts Malaysia among the few countries in the world to provide the drugs, used in the Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART), for free.
The drugs are already free for a limited number of HIV-infected people, among them mothers and babies, said Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek.
Currently, the three generic drugs cost from about RM290 to RM525 a month. Making the drugs here will reduce the cost to less than RM200 a month, he said.
Fully subsidising the drugs would cost the Government between RM15 million and RM26 million a year.
“We are currently waiting for the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry to approve the matter before we can proceed to produce the three drugs locally,” Chua said.
It is a sign the Government was “serious in fighting this epidemic”, he said.
“There are 20 new cases of HIV cases reported daily of which three are confirmed cases of AIDS, while two people die of the disease on a daily basis,” he said Malaysian AIDS Council president Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir said the move meant the country was “very much in the forefront” of the global battle against HIV/AIDS.
Some 58,000 Malaysians are infected with HIV. Of these, 6,545 have died of full-blown AIDS, Chua said today.
Some 1,500 HIV sufferers currently get the HAART free. Aside from mothers and babies, it extends to those infected through tainted blood or blood products, health workers infected through occupational exposure, and Government servants.
Chua estimated that next year, another 4,000 people will be infected with HIV.
In 2003 alone, 6,756 cases were detected. Three-quarters of these were aged between 13 and 39 years. Some 869 of these sufferers have died. Eighty per cent of them contract AIDS through intravenous drug use, and 13 per cent by heterosexual transmission.
Roughly 0.7 per cent were due to mother to child transmission.
“Since we started HIV screening at our antenatal clinics in 1998, almost 1.8 million mothers have been screened whereby 619 mothers were found infected with the disease up to the end of last year, ” he said.


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 1:19 pm

No Plan For Mandatory HIV Screening

TUMPAT, Nov 29 (Bernama) — Deputy Health Minister Datuk Dr Abdul Latiff Ahmad has dismissed suggestions for mandatory screening of pregnant mothers for HIV, saying the present tests at maternity clinics can adequately screen all diseases.
“These preliminary tests can detect whether a pregnant mother is infected with HIV, and we can then take the necessary steps including medication to reduce the risk of transmission to the baby,” he told reporters.
A total of 1.8 million mothers nationwide have undergone these tests, he said.
Official figures show some 58,000 HIV patients in Malaysia, mostly male drug addicts aged 20-39, but the number of sexually transmitted HIV patients is on the rise.
Dr Abdul Latiff was asked to comment on the reported plan by the Singapore government to make HIV screening for pregnant mothers compulsory following a rise in HIV cases in the republic.
The Sunday Times reported that if a woman is tested positive and receives medication, the risk of transmission can be reduced from 25 percent to two percent.


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 1:17 pm

Private Hospitals May Pay More For Blood

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 29 (Bernama) — Private hospitals may have to pay more than the current RM20 for a pack of blood bought from government hospitals.
Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek said the price of blood sold to private hospitals would be revised as the government currently bore the handling cost of RM80 for a pack of blood, which includes screening it for infectious diseases like syphilis, hepatitis and HIV/AIDS, labelling it and storing it.
The government was suffering losses by selling blood at RM20 a pack to private hospitals, he told reporters today after launching the HIV/AIDS HV-7 screening kit created by local researchers with the research cost bourne by the TH Koid Foundation.
Dr Chua said the government would review the Fees (Medical) Order 1982 which sets the price of blood sold by government hospitals to private ones at RM20 a pack.
Besides that, the ministry’s Parliamentary Secretary Lee Kah Choon would also discuss with private hospitals their practice of re-selling a pack of blood which they bought at RM20 for RM200, he said.
“They should not be profiting from the blood. We understand the cost to be borne for testing and storage but to increase the price manifold is just unreasonable,” he said.
Dr Chua reminded private hospitals that their actions might discourage the public from donating blood.
He suggested that private hospitals create their own resources to get blood supply to meet their patients’ needs instead of depending on government hospitals and the National Blood Centre.
“Every year in the Klang Valley, 40,000 units of blood (from government hospitals and the National Blood Centre) are given to private hospitals.
“Although there are no legal provisions to prevent the private sector from over-charging, they should have been more considerate,” he said.


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 1:15 pm

Sibu Kidney Foundation Embarks On A-ringgit-a-month Donation Drive

SIBU, Nov 30 (Bernama) — The Sibu Kidney Foundation has embarked on a- ringgit-a-month donation campaign to raise funds for its 47 patients and to meet operational costs.
State Urban Development and Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh appealed to the town’s population of 221,000 people to donate a ringgit a month.
“The amount is small and very affordable. If our people can generously pass the hat around, we can come up with something,” he said when launching the campaign here last night.
Wong said the foundation, a voluntary organisation, heavily relied on public donations for its operations.
He said 41 organisations out of 200 had responded to the campaign so far and he expected more to come forward soon.
Earlier, its manager Ivy Lau said the foundation planned to buy five more new dialysis machines costing RM250,000 as soon as the fund was available to replace the old ones.
She said the foundation spent about RM1 million every year for treatment and public health awareness campaigns.
“From next year, we will have to spend RM1.2 million annually,” she said.
She said the foundation had to subsidise poor patients heavily for the three-times-a-week dialysis treatment.
“A normal treatment costs RM750 per week or RM250 per visit but we can only charge them RM50,” she said
Donors willing to contribute to the foundation can call 084-343500 or 084-346500 or e-mail:, she added


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 1:13 pm

Probe into safety of jelly products

PETALING JAYA: The Health Ministry will be taking a closer look at jelly products following the death of a three-year-old girl who choked on a piece of the sweet recently.
Deputy Health Minister Datuk Dr Abdul Latiff Ahmad said the ministry was in the midst of finding out the actual type of jelly little Wong Poh Yan choked on.
Clarifying the ministry’s position on mini-cup jelly, he said the Food Quality Control Division had issued a ban on the import of ‘konjac mini-cup jelly’ in 2002, stressing that the ban still stood.
“We’ve also learnt that the European Union has banned konjac as an ingredient in making jelly and other countries have banned a multitude of additives used in mini-cup jellies like sodium alginate, potassium alginate, agar and carregenan, among others,” he said in a statement yesterday.
Konjac, also known as konnyaku, conjac, yam flour or glucomannan, is an additive used in making jelly.
According to the Food and Drug Administration in the United States, jelly made with konjac is firm, does not dissolve easily and with the way it is shaped, it can result in the jelly being stuck in the throat.


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 5:53 am

Two HIV-Infected Patients Die Daily

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 29 (Bernama) — Daily, two infected HIV patients die while 20 new HIV cases and three AIDS carriers are reported to the Health Ministry.

If this figure continues on the upward trend, it will be a new epidemic for Malaysia, Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek said Monday.
He said currently there were more than 58,000 HIV-infected cases in the country, and 80 per cent comprised young people aged 13-39 years.
“Three-quarters of the reported cases were infected through intravenous drug use, 13 per cent by heterosexual transmission, and 0.69 per cent from mother-to-child transmission,” he said at the launching of HV-7, a seventh generation rapid test kit for HIV/AIDS developed by Malaysian researchers funded by TH Koid Foundation.


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 5:40 am

Young Malaysians the biggest group to pledge organs

KUALA LUMPUR: Young Malaysians aged 21 to 30 are the biggest group of donors for organ transplants, which have been done in local hospitals since the 70s.
Stating this, Health Ministry parliamentary secretary Lee Kah Choon said organ donation pledges had increased in the last seven years.
The number of pledges in 1997 was 2,056 but this had increased to 81,379 by October this year, he told reporters after launching an organ donation campaign organised by a group of graduates at Sunway Pyramid here yesterday.
The Chinese made up 66% of those who had pledged to donate their organs, followed by the Indians (22%), the Malays (9%) and other communities (3%). Penang and Selangor each contributed 18% of the donors while Perak had 11.4%, which is the lowest.
The organisers of the campaign, among others, submitted a petition to the ministry proposing that Malaysians be given an option to pledge their organs via their MyKad or driving licences.
Lee said there had been 7,730 transplants carried out in the country since such surgery started in Malaysia in the 70s.
He warned that it was illegal to sell organs, adding that he assumed all pledges were made by relatives of the patients and individual donors.
“We have high ethical rules and assess and counsel the donor and recipient before we allow a transplant to go ahead if they are not related,” Lee said, adding that this prevented organ-selling.

November 29, 2004


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 5:28 am

MRCS To Send A Team To Iraq

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 28 (Bernama) — The Malaysian Red Crescent Society will send a team to Iraq early next year to assist in the redevelopment of the Baghdad Hospital complex damaged in the Iraq War.
Its Deputy Chairman Hisham Harun Hashim said the team, comprising four or five members, including a specialist, would be at the war-torn country between two and six months.
“We are awaiting security clearance from the Malaysian Government and Iraqi authorities. If everything goes on smoothly as planned, the team will leave for Iraq in February,” he told reporters after attending a Hari Raya Aidilfitri function hosted by the society here Sunday.
Hisham said sending the team to Iraq was an initial step of the society’s long-term plan to assist in the rebuilding of Iraq, including providing training to nurses and health workers of the Iraqi Red Crescent Society.
“We are not only sending representatives to Iraq but staff of the Iraq Red Crescent Society are also invited to Malaysia for training,” he said.
This is the third time a team is being sent to Iraq after the Iraq War. The first and second teams focused their activities outside Baghdad.
For a start, the team would help revive the midwifery and paediatric sections of the hospital, the main requirement in Iraq, he said.
The society had allocated RM3 million for the mission, he said.
Asked on the MRCS’ planning for the next five years, Hisham said it aimed to collect between RM50 and RM60 million for its fund.
He said the society spent between RM5 and RM6 million a year from the fund, much of it raised through public donations and contributions.
“Our five-year plan is divided into four main activities — disaster management, healthcare planning, community service and promoting human values and development of MRCS.
“We also planned to hold first-aid training programmes in government offices and companies,” he added.

November 28, 2004


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 8:13 pm

Herbs to help increase income of Felda settlers

Felda plans to develop 20,000ha of marginal land in its schemes to cultivate herbs.
The land mainly located in deep valleys and swamps had been left idle for many years as it was unsuitable for oil palm.
Felda chairman Tan Sri Dr Mohd Yusof Noor said Felda hoped to tap the big money in the industry which was estimated to be worth RM20 million.
“If the land is found suitable for herbs then it will provide a new source of income for Felda settlers,” he said at a Hari Raya function here today.
A pilot project on herbs is being carried out in Felda Tekam, Jerantut in Pahang since early this year.
Around 200 herbal species, including the Tongkat Ali, Kacip Fatimah and Dokong Anak were planted on the 80ha land at the Felda scheme.
Another 120ha of marginal land at other Felda schemes in Pahang have also been identified as suitable for herbs.
A factory will also be set up soon at Felda Tekam to process the herbs into herbal remedies and fragrances.


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 8:09 pm

1,200 Benefit From Free Cataract Operations In Sarawak

SIBU, Nov 28 (Bernama) — More than 1,200 people in Sarawak have benefited from free cataract operations sponsored by the Sarawak Society for the Blind.
The service, introduced in 1990, complimented the efforts of the government, said Deputy Minister of Housing and Local Government Datuk Robert Lau Hoi Chew.
He said the society had also screened more than 11,000 people in the state’s central region for glaucoma, an eye disease that can cause partial or complete loss of vision.
Opening the society’s Sibu Division branch annual open house cum food fair today, Lau advised people not to treat their local centre for the blind as another old folk home.
He said such centres were established to provide temporary accommodation for the blind and help them acquire skills to earn a decent living on their own.
Upon the successful completion of their training, their relatives should take them back and help them to adjust to living among normal people, he said.
The food fair’s organising chairman, Clarence Ting Ing Horh, said RM124,000 was collected from the sale of coupons.

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