Materia Medica Malaysiana

December 30, 2004


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 7:17 am

Self-examination way to beat breast cancer

Despite strong evidence that women in the initial stages of breast cancer can be saved, many still don’t practise regular breast self-examination.
Only three to five per cent of Malaysian women do.
Pantai Medical Centre (PMC) consultant general surgeon Dr M. Devanand said the chance of recovery from breast cancer could be significantly improved if the disease is detected early.
“We have all the equipment needed. What we lack is awareness,” he said.
Most Malaysian women are said to be suffering breast cancer at an earlier age than women in the West, and they succumb to it as they don’t seek early treatment.
Dr Devanand advised women above 20 years old to perform breast self-examination regularly while those above 40 should go for an annual examination by healthcare providers.
He was talking to reporters after a cheque presentation ceremony to Hospis Malaysia yesterday. The mock cheque, amounting to RM6,378.29, was handed over to Hospis vice-chairman Peter Loh. Also present was its honorary treasurer James Menezes.

December 29, 2004


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 7:49 am

MRCS Contributes US$10,000 To Indonesian Red Cross

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 28 (Bernama) — The Malaysian Red Crescent Society (MRCS), Tuesday contributed US$10,000 (RM38,000) from its Relief Fund to the Indonesian Red Cross now in urgent need of financial assistance as it scrambles to help thousands of victims of Sunday’s earthquake and tsunami in Acheh.
MRCS national vice-chairman Wan Azhar Wan Ali said the society was responding to an appeal by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies for funds to support international relief operations in Southeast Asian countries affected by the tidal waves.
“The appeal for 7.5 million Swiss Francs is to assist some 500,000 people affected in the region,” Wan Azhar said at a news conference and cheque presentation here.
The cheque was presented by Wan Azhar to the deputy Indonesian ambassador here, A.M.Fachir.
Wan Azhar said MRCS’s first relief team left for Acheh at 9.30am,Tuesday.
The five-member medical and relief team comprising a doctor and four relief and reporting officers was sent to Acheh to work with the Indonesian Red Cross Society to bring relief and assistance to the victims, he said.
A second five-member team would leave for Acheh, Tuesday afternoon.
He said that at home, the MRCS had mobilised teams in the affected states of Penang, Perlis, Kedah and Perak to assist the local authorities in search and rescue, relief and tracing operations.
The MRCS is also appealing to members of the public, private companies and organisations for contributions towards the MRCS Relief Fund set up to provide financial and relief assistance to victims.
Direct contributions, which are tax-exempted, to the campaign jointly organised with the National Press Club, can be sent to the MRCS National Headquarters at 32, Jalan Nipah Off Jalan Ampang, 55000 Kuala Lumpur.
Those wishing to contribute through the Media Appeal are requested to send their cheque, money order or postal order, marked “Tidal Waves Appeal” at the back of the cheque to be directed accordingly.
Further information and assistance can be obtained by calling MRCS at 03-4257 8122.


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 7:43 am

Ministry Takes Steps To Prevent Epidemic After Tsunami

PUTRAJAYA, Dec 28 (Bernama) — The Health Ministry has taken measures to prevent any epidemic in the areas hit by the tsunami last Sunday.
Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek said the states and districts concerned had set up health teams to advise people in those areas about consuming safe water and food as well as proper sanitation.
“The ministry fears water-borne diseases like cholera, food-borne ones like typhoid or diarrhoea and others like pneumonia could break out if controls are not put in place quickly, while stagnant water could breed mosquitoes and cause a dengue fever outbreak,” he told reporters at his office, here Tuesday.
Dr Chua said the teams would closely monitor the relief centres housing between 4,000 and 5,000 victims of the disaster.
The tsunami tidal waves, unleashed by a 9.0 magnitude undersea earthquake off Sumatra in Indonesia on Sunday, slammed into coastal areas from Perlis to Selangor, killing at least 63 people and displacing 5,000 others from their homes.
Dr Chua said the ministry also set up a national operations room to coordinate medical and health assistance. It can be contacted at 03-8883 4100.
He said the country is capable of handling the aftermath of the disaster without outside help because it has enough trained personnel, equipment and medicines.
“We have 9,000 doctors and 50,000 nurses and support staff. Our manpower is more than enough,” he said.


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 7:36 am

`Lifestyle’ Diseases a Concern

HEALTH: THE average Malaysian is healthier compared to some 30 to 40 years ago. What is worrying though is acute and infectious diseases are being replaced by chronic, non-infectious diseases mainly due to a lifestyle closely related to social and economic changes.
Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s Professor Dr Syed Mohamed Aljunid, said the main chronic diseases were cardiovascular diseases such as ischaemic heart diseases, hypertension and stroke.
Together with diabetes and cancers, they make up the main causes of hospital admissions, he told the New Straits Times.
Cardiovascular diseases are also the principal causes of deaths in government hospitals, accounting for 23 to 26 per cent of deaths from 1994 to 2001 followed by cancers 9.34 per cent.
Syed Mohamed, who is the hospital’s Professor of Health Economics and Head of the Community Health Department, says almost 30 per cent of Malaysians now suffer from hypertension.
However, he says more than half of them “are unaware they have hypertension. Only one third of them are on treatment”.
As for diabetes, Deputy Director of Disease Control, Dr Zainal Ariffin Omar says it is no longer an ailment affecting those above 30 years. It is also hitting the young.
Many above the age of 20 are diabetic because of their eating habits. They consume far too much drinks with high sugar content and high calorie foods which had less fibre.
Twelve per cent of the Malaysian population are diabetic, and Zainal said more than 50 per cent of complications were linked to the ailment which was one of the leading causes of deaths.
Diabetes, which can cause blindness, renal diseases, organ loss, ulcers and impotency in men, is also a main cause of End State Renal Disease (ESRD) in the country.
The National Renal Registry statistics show that 44 per cent of the ESRD in need of dialysis are diabetic patients.
“Management of diabetes has become a great challenge in the 21st century,” says Zainal.
Syed Mohamed says one main reason why Malaysians suffer from these diseases is because an estimated 70 per cent never exercised.
The focus, he adds, should be on primary prevention, health promotion, encouraging healthy lifestyles through proper diet, exercise and stress management.
People should also, he says, go for regular check-ups to enable early detection of diseases.

December 28, 2004


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 8:24 pm

Health Minister: Tsunami survivors face risk of diseases

PUTRAJAYA: About 5,000 Malaysian survivors of the tsunami are at risk of food and water-borne diseases like cholera and typhoid, Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek said Tuesday.
He said health teams had been sent to relief centres to educate them on preventive measures.
The ministry had also set up a command centre to co-ordinate medical services provided. The centre’s contact number is 03-8883 4100.
Dr Chua said counselling would also be provided for the survivors in the hospitals where many were still found to be in a state of shock.
At 11.30am Tuesday, there were 60 people warded – 30 in the Penang Hospital, four in the Langkawi Hospital and 26 In the Sungai Petani Hospital.


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 8:59 am

Docs ‘avoiding transfers’

Some government doctors are using their political connections to avoid being transferred to rural areas and this has annoyed the Health Ministry.
Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek said the doctors, both seniors and juniors, would write to the politicians asking them to use their position to have transfer orders withdrawn.
“They would give all sorts of excuses like their parents are aging or that their family won’t be able to join them at the new place.
“The politicians, afraid of being labelled as powerless, would pressure the directors to cancel the order,” he said at the Benut Health Centre near here yesterday.
Dr Chua said this would disrupt the health department’s planning, especially in matters related to services in rural areas.
“That is why in most places, we have one doctor who is responsible for five health centres.
“With that ratio, the doctor will only be able to serve one centre each day,” he said.
Dr Chua hoped that health department staff would give their cooperation regarding transfers.

December 27, 2004


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 6:50 am

MRCS Appeals For Assistance To Tidal Waves Victims

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 26 (Bernama) — The Malaysian Red Crescent Society (MRCS) has appealed to the public to extend all possible assistance to victims of the tidal waves in Penang, Kedah, Perlis and other affected areas in the country.
The tidal waves were set off by a powerful earthquake in northern Sumatra Sunday morning.
“Together with the National Press Club (NPC), the MRCS welcomes all forms of assistance, in cash or kind, to help victims during this difficult time,” MRCS Media Committee chairman Datuk Ahmad A.Talib told Bernama Sunday evening.
Cheques can be made out to the Malaysian Red Crescent Society and marked Tidal Waves Victims at the back of the cheques to be forwarded to the NPC or to any of the MRCS offices.
Ahmad said that any inquiries can be directed to 03-42578122.
Two weeks ago, the MRCS and the NPC launched a fund for flood victims.


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 6:32 am

Round The Clock Search And Rescue Operations For Tsunami Victims

PENANG, Dec 27 (Bernama) — Search and rescue operations for victims of the tidal waves (tsunami) which hit Penang, Kedah and Perlis Sunday afternoon is continuing until Monday.
State Deputy Police Chief SAC II Mohd Ali Mohd Yusuf said police and emergency aid units were carrying out 24-hour operations with about 200 members of search and rescue teams being deployed at two locations namely Batu Feringghi and Balik Pulau.
So far police have recovered 31 bodies at the two locations but have yet to locate two children who were reported missing.
The two missing children are siblings Nurul Nazirah Mohd Hassan, 13 and Mohamad Ferdaus Mohd Hassan, from Guar Chempedak Kedah, who were reported missing in Batu Feringghi.
“A troop from the Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) with 120 ordinary policemen have been stationed at Batu Feringghi while 10 officers and 80 lower rank policemen are being assigned to Balik Pulau,” he said when contacted by Bernama here.
Mohd Ali said leave for all police personnel in the North East and South West districts had been frozen to assist in the rescue operations.
He said hundreds of residents living in the coastal areas in the two districts had also moved out of their homes temporarily.
Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Abdul Rashid Abdullah said the state government had given out immediate aid to the victims of the tragedy.
“We will disburse the allocation from the ‘Tabung Yang Dipertua Negeri’ from Monday after the Social Welfare Department had carried out a survey on the families requiring aid,” he said.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who is also Chairman of the National Disaster Management and Relief Committee, is scheduled to visit the sites of the tragedy in Penang and Kedah Monday morning.
He will also be given a briefing at the State Operations Room.
Meanwhile, the five victims reported missing in Kuala Muda, Kedah have yet to be found and search and rescue operations are still ongoing.
Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Syed Razak Syed Zain, when visiting the 24 victims admitted to Hospital Sungai Petani Sunday night, said the state government would give out aid to the tidal wave victims.

December 23, 2004


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 8:11 pm

Demonstrators Greet Health Minister On First Day In New Office

PUTRAJAYA, Dec 23 (Bernama) — Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek moved into his new office, here Thursday, greeted by about 200 demonstrators protesting what they felt was a government move to privatise dispensaries in government hospitals.
Chua, whose new office is located in Parcel E here, met with seven representatives of the demonstrators comprising members of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to clarify the government’s move on the matter.
The noisy protestors, carrying placards with slogans reading, among others, “The people’s health is the government’s responsibility”, had gathered in front of the ministry building.
Speaking to reporters after his dialogue with the NGO representatives, Chua said the government had no plans to privatise hospital dispensaries but wanted to start private pharmacies in the Putrajaya and Selayang hospitals to enable those who could afford to buy their medicines.
However, the dispensing of medicines to those who could not afford to buy them would continue, he said.
According to him, the health delivery system was good but there were areas that could be improved so that the government and the poor were not unnecessarily burdened.
“I think what has happened is that there are attempts to politicise the issue by certain groups, especially the opposition,” he said.
The issue came about after Deputy Health Minister Datuk Dr Abdul Latiff Ahmad said on Dec 10 that the government was proposing to stop issuing certain low-cost medicines for free and patients would have to buy them from medicine shops or private pharmacies.
On the “full-paying patient” concept, the minister said a detailed study on its mechanism was being carried out.
He said the concept, to be introduced at the Putrajaya and Selayang hospitals, was to prevent government hospital facilities from being abused by people in the higher income groups.
“For example, a patient who can well afford it, only has to pay RM3,000 for surgery as has been set now in government hospitals whereas he is capable of paying up to RM15,000,” he said.
This will affect the chances of lower income groups from obtaining similar surgery or treatment,” he added.

December 22, 2004


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 1:26 pm

Mercy assists typhoon victims

INFANTA (Quezon, Philippines): The five-member Malaysian medical team has started helping Filipino children in typhoon battered Luzon where 1,500 people have died or are still missing.
Headed by Mercy Malaysia’s Sarawak chapter chairman Benjamin Chai, the team consisting of a general surgeon, two medical officers and a psychiatrist have been moving around mud-filled villages to provide assistance.
They also brought cheer to the children, many of whom had been orphaned and displaced by typhoons and floods.
“Stripped off their possessions and homes, the holiday season had a bitter twist,” said Mercy Malaysia team member Dr Cheah Phee Kheng.
The Mercy Malaysia team has set up a base camp at the Claro M Recto Memorial District here for the next two weeks to provide medical assistance and other immediate needs to the typhoon victims.

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