Materia Medica Malaysiana

January 28, 2005


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 6:52 pm

‘Malaysia on alert over re-emergence of bird flu’, Dr Chua

The re-emergence of the bird flu in Vietnam and Thailand has prompted the Health Ministry to put its medical staff on 24-hour alert.
Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek said all medical staff had been put on alert in the 135 government hospitals and more than 4,000 health clinics nationwide to look out for patients with the avian flu symptoms – flu, sore throat, fever, cough or running nose.
“If they notice a sudden increase in people showing these symptoms, they are to immediately check if there has been an unusual number of deaths of birds in the area the victims come from,” he added.
It is a must for all hospitals and health clinics to immediately alert the State Health Departments if they came across suspected avian flu cases, Chua said after presenting the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) and Halal certification to Sime Oleandar Sdn Bhd for its mineral water plant in Kuching.
He added that it was mandatory for all State Health Departments, private hospitals and clinics to notify the ministry’s Communicable Disease Control Division in Putrajaya of suspected bird flu cases.
“Even a one per cent increase in the number of people seeking treatment for influenza in a particular centre needs to be investigated.”



Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 1:16 pm

EDITORIAL: One year is too long

IT is no longer news that many foreign workers are a health hazard because they suffer from communicable diseases.
More than 10 years ago, the Health authorities were already ringing the alarm bells because migrant labour had been identified as a major factor for the rising incidence of infectious diseases such as TB and leprosy which had once been brought under control and almost eradicated.
The fact that the health of foreign workers – or rather, their lack of health – has made the news again and again since then shows the lack of progress in efforts to ensure that only healthy workers enter the country.
Fomema reported in 1998 that more than 16,000 foreign workers were found to be unfit compared to more than 18,500 last year. Admittedly, the percentage had dropped from 3.8 per cent of the migrant labour population in 1998 to 2.6 per cent in 2004.
Nevertheless, the undiminished size of the foreign worker population which has been certified unfit for work every year was worrying enough for the Cabinet Committee on Health and Cleanliness to decide in October last year that a more stringent health screening in the form of a mandatory medical check-up a month after their arrival was needed.
However, it was clear from what was said by the Health Ministry parliamentary secretary on Tuesday that this has turned out to be nothing more than a “proposal” that needed to be “studied” before a decision was made. In the meantime, Fomema has suggested a medical examination “upon arrival” rather than after one month.
It is hoped that the Government does not allow these ideas to incubate for too long. Whether it is one month after arrival or upon arrival, it is clear that the present compulsory medical check-up one year after entry is unsatisfactory and inadequate and has to be changed.


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 1:15 pm

15,000 HIV, TB foreign workers deported

More than 15,000 foreign workers were sent home last year after being found afflicted with tuberculosis (TB) and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).
This was detected in medical tests carried out after they had worked for a year.
Pantai Holdings Berhad chairman Datuk Dr Ridzwan Bakar said this was worrying as the foreign workers could have spread the diseases to Malaysians during their one-year stay.
Furthermore, he added, studies showed there had been an increase in Malaysians suffering from TB and other infectious diseases, believed to have been transmitted by foreign workers.


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 7:12 am

Baby-For-Sale Racket: Private clinic in Sentul under probe, say police

A clinic in Sentul is under investigation for links to a syndicate involved in the sale of babies.
City police chief Deputy Commissioner Datuk Mustaffa Abdullah said yesterday the private clinic delivered the baby which was rescued on Dec 12 by Sentul police.
“We are keen to know why it was easy for the clinic to issue a birth card for the baby’s mother,” Mustaffa said.
On the involvement of National Registration Department (NRD) staff in the issuing of birth certificates for the babies, he said investigations so far have not implicated any one from the department.
Mustaffa said police have identified some suspects but no arrest has been made. He added that police were also tracking down 27 babies believed to have been sold by the syndicate since June last year.

January 27, 2005


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 5:47 pm

Board cannot query medical methods

KUANTAN: Members of the Tengku Ampuan Afzan Hospital (HTAA) board of visitors were reminded that they could not question medical procedures carried out at the hospital.
Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek said it had never been the Government’s intention for the board to do so.
Replying to a board member during a dialogue with HTAA staff here on Tuesday, he said that if board members were allowed to question the medical procedures, it would put to question the professionalism of the medical officers.
However, the board could question the medical officers if a patient had to wait hours before being treated, he added.
“The board is the link between the hospital and the private sector,” he said.
Dr Chua also said that doctors should not be choosy.
“I do not agree when you say that the pasture is always greener on the other side, but I do agree that there is a disparity in the salary of a doctor in a private hospital and one who works in a public hospital,” he said.


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 4:18 am

Malaysia free from Coxsackie virus

KUALA LUMPUR: Health Ministry disease control director Dr Ramlee Rahmat has given his assurance that the country is free from Coxsackie virus.
He said there were several cases in Penang about two weeks ago that were classified as suffering from the virus.
“But they were not. Those were hand, foot and mouth (HFM) cases. So, we are cleared of Coxsackie,” said Dr Ramlee when contacted yesterday.
Asked if he had heard that Coxsackie was making a comeback in some parts of the country, he said: “I did not.”
It was reported earlier this month that 37 children in Penang had come down with the hand-foot-mouth disease since Jan 1.
Dr Ramlee had said there were 67 enteroviruses known to have caused HFM disease.
It is believed that the enterovirus 71, the most dangerous of the enterovirus family, killed many of the 31 children during an outbreak in 1997.
Since 2000, Penang recorded many HFM cases. In 2000, there were 459 cases followed by 776 in 2001, 1,384 in 2002, 436 in 2003 and 364 last year.
Many children below five years old in Penang could have come down with HFM because of poor personal hygiene and improper sanitation.
Dr Ramlee said the 334 sentinel centres – 106 private and 119 Government health clinics and 109 treatment centres nationwide – were closely monitoring the situation.
He said specimens taken from HFM disease victims had been sent for analysis.


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 4:14 am

Mentakab Hospital Conducts Dengue Checks Every Three Days

KUANTAN, Jan 26 (Bernama) — The Mentakab Hospital, which was among 142 premises issued compound notices for breeding the Aedes mosquito, has taken the initiative to conduct dengue checks every three days.
Its director, Dr Bahari Che Awang Ngah, told Bernama here Wednesday that apart from conducting regular checks, the surrounding areas and drains would also be cleaned.
He said that since the Aedes mosquito can breed in just three days, it is important to carry out checks every three days to ensure an Aedes-free environment.
“Previously, we conducted checks twice a week but since the number of dengue cases had increased we need to be more alert,” he said.
Dr Bahari said the hospital had been issued a compound notice by the Pahang Health Department and the hospital had been taking various initiatives to avoid a similar occurrence.
Tuesday, Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek said 17,555 premises in Pahang were inspected and the Mentakab Hospital was among the 142 issued compound notices carrying a RM500 fine.
Dr Chua had said that the action to compound even a hospital shows that the ministry would not favour any government department or agency.


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 4:12 am

Pigs Died Of Fever And Poisoning, Not Japanese Encephalitis

MELAKA, Jan 26 (Bernama) — Early reports indicate the cause of death of more than 100 pigs in Kampung Paya Mengkuang in Alor Gajah to be due to acute swine fever and suspected poisoning.
State Chairman for Human Resources, Health and Consumer Affairs Datuk Seah Kwi Tong urged the people not to panic, as the deaths had nothing to do with the Japanese Encephalitis (JE) virus.
“The deaths occurred in a single shed and did not spread to surrounding sheds or to humans,” he told reporters here Wednesday.
He was commenting on reports by several newspapers on the deaths of 120 pigs in a farm in the village over the last five days.
He said the initial reports were based on post-mortem conducted on two carcasses by a private doctor from Shah Alam, Selangor.
According to Seah, as a precautionary measure, the movement of the pigs in the farm had been restricted since last Sunday.
“We also contacted the Veterinary Laboratory in Petaling Jaya last Monday to investigate the disease affecting the pigs,” he said.

January 26, 2005


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 8:47 pm

Pantai to panel for more international insurers

Pantai Holdings Bhd, which has been appointed to the panel of two UK-based health insurance companies, is seeking more such appointments by international insurance firms for the seven Pantai hospitals to boost the group’s health tourism business.
The hospital group was appointed by global healthcare organisation BUPA International in June 2004, while the appointment by AXA PPP came in a month ago.
Pantai chairman Datuk Ridzwan Abu Bakar said BUPA International had four million members in nearly 190 countries and was one of the most reputable and leading third-party administrators. Its clients include multinational companies such as Shell.
He said since its appointment by BUPA International, at least 12 foreign patients covered by the insurer had been treated in Pantai hospitals.
AXA PPP is one of UK’s leading medical insurers. It has been providing international medical insurance for over 30 years.
“This is a strategic move for Pantai to attract foreign patients to seek treatment in Malaysia. Not only can valid cardholders obtain services without paying cash upfront, they will also be obtaining internationally recognised healthcare,” said Ridzwan.
Speaking to reporters after a media luncheon in Petaling Jaya on Jan 26, he said the group expected to ink another agreement with a Belgium-based insurance company in the next few weeks.


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 11:03 am

Houseman’s salary scale being revised

It was an embarrassing admission, but Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek managed to keep a straight face when he said a fast food outlet worker may actually earn more than a houseman.
Fielding questions during a dialogue with staff of the Tengku Ampuan Afzan Hospital here today, Dr Chua said the Government realised the low allowance paid to trainee doctors doing their housemanship in a government hospitals.
He said his Ministry is in the process of revising its scale.
“Please be patient, it may take some time but we are trying our best in this matter,” he added.
A trainee doctor currently receives an allowance of RM25 when assigned to a round-the-clock on-call duty.
In contrast, a staff nurse is paid RM7 per hour when on such duty.

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