Materia Medica Malaysiana

January 26, 2005


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 10:58 am

Mentakab Hospital fined for breeding mosquitoes

KUANTAN: The state Health Department issued 142 compounds, among them a district hospital and a government rural clinic, after the premises were found to be aedes breeding ground.
Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek said the hospital was Mentakab Hospital while the clinic was in Temerloh.
“This goes to show that the Health Department does not show favouritism when carrying out its enforcement.
“The hospital and clinic are among 17,555 premises which have been inspected for the last three weeks,” he told reporters after meeting the Tengku Ampuan Afzan Hospital staff here yesterday.
When asked who would pay for the compounds issued to the hospital and clinic, Chua said it would be the responsibility of those taking care of the premises’ maintenance.
Normally, a private company would conduct maintenance works and so that company would have to pay, he added.
Chua also said that out of the 17,555 premises checked, 334 were found to be aedes-breeding ground.
Pahang also registered an increase in dengue cases with 30 cases reported each week last year, said Chua.
However, the number rose to more than 60 cases a week for the past three weeks and this included a death, he added.
On the measles outbreak in Bakun, Chua said the Sarawak Health Department had put it under control.
“They have deployed 11 medical teams to the area and they have also begun to vaccinate the Penans.
“A total of 747 have been vaccinated,” he said.
On the source of the disease, Chua said it originated from an Iban returned to her husband’s Penan village in Long Urun in Kapit Division.
“She was already sick at that time,” said Chua, adding, she has now recovered. Thirteen children and one adult who were infected died.

January 25, 2005


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 8:33 pm

Measles Outbreak Not Due To New Strain

KUCHING, Jan 25 (Bernama) — The measles outbreak which killed 13 Penan children and one adult in Long Urun in the Bakun area last month was not caused by a new strain of the disease, Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan said Tuesday.
Dr Chan, who is also state Modernisation of Agriculture Minister, said samples analysed by a team from the Sarawak Medical Department and Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) confirmed the virus was not a mutated strain.
“With this strain, the ongoing vaccination of about 700 Penans in the affected settlements takes only 72 hours to be effective. They will be protected against the disease,” he told reporters after opening Sarawak Agriculture Department’s Senior Officers’ Conference in Damai about 35km from here.
The Health Ministry in Kuala Lumpur had been expected to send an investigating team to Sarawak if the results revealed a new strain.
Dr Chan said the semi-nomadic Penans in the Bakun area had not been exposed to measles and so did not develop an immune system naturally.
Apart from the 35 Penan patients, whose conditions were improving at the Bintulu Hospital, no new cases had been reported since yesterday, he said.
Due to the difficult terrain and remoteness of their temporary settlements in Long Urun, he said the flying doctor’s service using helicopters had been deployed with 12 medical teams, comprising five personnel each, to vaccinate them.
“It is one of the unfortunate things that it is quite difficult to vaccinate them in the jungle but we have to try our best to get as many (Penans) as possible,” he said.
It takes about three hours by logging road to reach Long Urun from the Sungai Asap Resettlement Scheme at Bakun and another three hours from there to Bintulu.
The first death was reported on Dec 27 last year and the last on Jan 11.


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 6:47 am

Spiritual healers still in demand

Malaysians strongly prefer modern medicine, but will turn unhesitatingly to spiritual healers for severe or inexplicable ailments.
In a nationwide survey carried out late last year, 90 per cent of respondents said they would readily turn to doctors and specialists – but one in eight also said they trusted spiritual healers.
Malays registered the highest level of such trust on spiritual healers, at 82 per cent, while the Chinese were the lowest at 42 per cent.
The poll, conducted by Merdeka Centre for Opinion Research, also revealed that a third of Malaysians have tried spiritual healing methods in the past, seeking help from the bomoh, monks or priests.
Interestingly, those who seek spiritual help cut across all divides of ethnicity, age, gender, education and rural/urban areas.
The only significant difference is that those in higher income groups do not trust faith healers as much as those who earn less.
Prof Shamsul Amri Baharuddin of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia said the decision to turn to spiritual healers was not irrational. It made political and economic sense, because such help could be friendlier and more accessible.
There is no bureaucracy separating the sick person and the healer.
Hence, it would be natural for the poor to seek traditional or alternative help.
People in the higher income bracket, he said, would go to doctors because they lived in urban areas and would be covered by medical insurance.
Shamsul said he was not surprised that Malaysian society was comfortable with both modern and traditional healers.
“It is a demonstration of our tolerance and acceptance of different world views,” he said; “of our ability to operate in two different systems.”
“Each healing method has its strong points.
” Our problem is, when we discuss and compare them, the negative elements are usually highlighted.
“Yes, we read and hear about bomohs raping young and unsuspecting women, but there are also doctors facing malpractice suits.”
The modern medicine man, Shamsul added, could not handle everything.
When there are different healing systems, people can seek refuge in the one that gives them most comfort and meaning.
The poll of over 800 respondents, supported by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, is the second in a series tailored for the New Straits Times. The first, last November, looked at how Malaysians managed daily work and other pressures.
In the second survey, which focused on lifestyle and health issues, it was revealed that two-thirds of Malaysians had no medical insurance coverage.
Malays were least likely to have coverage (76 per cent), as compared to the Indians (48 per cent) and the Chinese (41 per cent).
Coverage was expectedly lowest among the young, but also worrisomely absent among those 50 and above.
Of those with insurance coverage, 80 per cent acquired it themselves while 10 per cent were covered by employers.
This data tallies with the high percentage of Malays (74 per cent) and Indians (54 per cent) who favoured public healthcare.
Two-thirds of those in rural areas opt for public hospitals, against fewer than half – 42 per cent -who live in urban centres.
Despite the constant complaints and letters to newspapers about the quality of care in public hospitals, 69 per cent reported that they were satisfied with service from such hospitals.
Malays (38 per cent) and Indians (51 per cent) were more satisfied with public medical facilities, compared to only five per cent of Chinese respondents expressing such sentiments.
On areas needing improvement, waiting time was cited as the most critical.
The poll also found that two-thirds of Malaysians visit the doctor at least once a year.
Less than one in 10 did not go to a doctor at all, while Malays and Indians tended to report the highest number of visits.
The Chinese tend to self-medicate or take home remedies.
Finally, the poll noted that cancer invoked the greatest concern among most Malaysians (31 per cent), followed by heart problems (15 per cent) and diabetes (11 per cent).
Almost half of the Chinese respondents were not at all concerned about this, perhaps indicating how health is seen as an integral part of one’s luck and fortune.
Compared to the Chinese, the Malays and Indians were inordinately concerned about illnesses.
Overall, the poll found that despite the concerns of respective ethnic groups, nearly two-thirds of Malaysians felt they were in “good” or “extremely good” health.

January 23, 2005


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 11:15 am

14 Penans die in measles outbreak

MIRI: Thirteen children and an adult from a Penan community have died in a measles outbreak in the Bakun region.
Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan Hong Nam said a total of 66 measles cases had been recorded, with 14 deaths and some other cases which were “quite serious”.
“We are trying to find out whether this is a new strain of the virus and why the outbreak is so serious,” he added.
Dr Chan said those who died were from a longhouse in Sungai Urun in Belaga, located near the Bakun project site and 150km inland from Bintulu.
“Quite a number of cases have been rushed to Bintulu Hospital, some of them from the Sungai Asap resettlement scheme,” he told reporters here yesterday.
The dead were 13 children, aged three months to five years, and a man.
According to Dr Chan, who received the latest report on the outbreak from the state Health and Medical Services Department last night, the Penan community in Sungai Urun had never been exposed to measles.
However, one of them married an Iban woman from outside Belaga and the couple returned to the settlement recently.
The outbreak started some three weeks ago, with the last death recorded just a few days ago.
“From the report received, the deaths are due to complications, possibly pneumonia,” Dr Chan said.
He said there was a danger that the outbreak could be more widespread then initially expected as the native communities in the region were dispersed over a large area.
“The department has sent teams of medical personnel into the region to ascertain how many communities are actually affected by the outbreak,” he added.
When contacted, Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek said the outbreak started on Dec 27, and there were still 17 cases in Bintulu Hospital as of Friday.
The ministry’s disease control director, Dr Ramlee Rahmat, said measles outbreaks occurred from time to time and could lead to deaths if there was no immunisation.
If not treated early, he noted, a measles infection could lead to complications such as bacterial infection or pneumonia, which might be fatal in young children.


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 11:14 am

Private doctors earn up to RM30,000

KUALA LUMPUR: About 95% of the private specialists in the country earn between RM20,000 and RM30,000 a month – three times their counterparts in the government sector, Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) president Datuk Dr N. Arumugam said.
According to the Health Ministry’s estimate on the gross monthly pay of its doctors and specialists, the majority of government specialists earn a gross monthly salary of between RM7,300 and RM10,900.
“Gross pay for government specialists include overtime and all other allowances and is far below that of their private counterparts,” a ministry official told The Star in Putrajaya.
The official said there was also a very small number of government specialists who earned between RM13,800 and RM20,000 a month, adding that many were very senior, including heads of department or hospital directors.
“There are one or two in the top earning bracket, including the health director-general whose estimated monthly pay is anything between RM20,000 and RM25,000,” said the official.
The huge disparity in pay has often been blamed for the exodus of government specialists to the private sector.
The monthly pay for government doctors ranges between RM2,900 and RM6,700.
The disparity between government doctors and locums (doctors working in private clinics) is smaller, with MMA putting the locum’s monthly pay at RM5,000 to RM6,000.

However, sources in the pharmaceutical industry said the income for specialists and general practitioners with their own private clinics was higher than estimated, pointing out that they earned a lot from dispensing medicine.

January 22, 2005


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 10:22 pm

3 million young M’sians suffer from hypertension

A staggering three million Malaysians, mostly young men, have become victims of hypertension — all due to their unhealthy lifestyle and eating habits.
And Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek has described it as “a major disease but badly controlled”.
This, he said, was due a lack of commitment by people to get proper medication.
He pointed out that young adults were now dying prematurely or and becoming disabled because of the silent killer.
If preventive measures were not put in place the figure would double in 30 years, with the disease killing many young people, Chua said.
He added that said studies had revealed that 30 per cent of Malaysian adults above the age of 30 were now possibly hypertensive.
“We believe that 53 per cent of them are were possibly undiagnosed and unaware of their disease,” he said after opening the second scientific meeting of the Malaysian Society of Hypertension themed ‘Confronting Hypertension: An Integrated Approach” at the KL Hilton.
“Our study also indicated a higher prevalence of possible hypertension in the rural population, especially among women aged 50 years and above.”
He added said, adding that two-thirds of known hypertensive sought treatment at utilised government health facilities.
“There is a need for us to intensify our educational interventions, not only among patients in the clinics and hospitals, but also out there in the community.
“We also need to more vigorously promote the adoption of a healthy lifestyle.”
In Malaysia more than 10,000 die annually due to various diseases linked to hypertension, like strokes, heart attacks and renal failure.


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 10:03 pm

M’sian Hospital An Instant Hit With 200 Patients Daily

BANDA ACEH, Jan 22 (Bernama) — The temporary hospital set up two days ago by the Malaysian Armed Forces on humanitarian tour-of-duty has become an instant hit with the villagers of Gue Gajah here, with an average of 200 patients being treated daily.
The hospital has been the first choice among communities around the area which was devastated by the Dec 26 tsunami.
Lt. Col. Dr Mohamed Zakariah Mohamed Ali, the commanding officer at the Armed Forces Hospital here, is expecting an even bigger turnout in due time.
He said Acehnese preferred the service of the Malaysian Armed Forces because of the similarity in language and culture as well as the extra care shown by this high-spirited health team.
“Acehnese are quite similar to Malaysians due to the same culture, language, and our excellent services and they feel closer to us. Moreoever, we understand them deeper,” he said.
Dr Zakariah, who heads a team of nine doctors and 44 paramedics, including health technicians, also said that a mobile clinic would be set up soon to extend their health services.


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:22 am

Surge in dengue cases due to public apathy, says Abdullah

KEPALA BATAS: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi says public apathy in keeping their surroundings clean has led to the recent surge in dengue cases in the country.
He said the people still clog their drains with rubbish and dirty their surroundings, making these places ideal for the aedes mosquito to breed.
“We have organised numerous cleanliness campaigns, urging people to keep their environment clean at all times.
“But, if they still do not listen and keep on asking what to do when plagued by such diseases, I do not know what else can be done,” he said after performing Friday prayers at Masjid Kampung Permatang Bendahari in Penaga here yesterday.

January 20, 2005


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 8:08 pm

Malaysia to set up relief centre and hospital in Aceh

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia will be setting up a relief centre and a 50-bed hospital to cater to injured victims in the tsunami-devastated region of Aceh.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said efforts were underway to identify the best site for the centre while the hospital plan was expected to be operational over the next few days.
He said the National Security Division with the help of the Indonesian authority was actively looking into the matter to facilitate Malaysian relief efforts in the region.
Najib said this to reporters after receiving a total of RM2.65mil donations in cash and kind for the National Tsunami Fund and meeting US military commander in the Asia-Pacific region, Admiral Thomas Fargo, at his office yesterday.


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 7:55 pm

Dengue Cases Rising Rapidly

PUTRAJAYA, Jan 20 (Bernama) — The number of dengue cases is rising fast, hitting 1,415 cases in the second week of this year from 1,054 the previous week or up 34.9 per cent.
Health Ministry disease control division director Dr Ramlee Rahmat said Selangor recorded the most number of cases, increasing by 153 cases to 654 in the Jan 9 to 15 period.
It was followed by Kuala Lumpur which saw 39 new cases to 246 and Pahang from 40 to 69 cases, he told reporters, here Thursday.
He said the total number of cases in other states also rose except in Terengganu which declined from 21 cases in the first week to 17 in the second.
Dr Ramlee said the ministry’s enforcement officers have stepped up checks for potential breeding places of aedes mosquitoes, the carrier of the dengue virus, by inspecting 65,073 premises in the second week compared to 54,508 before.
The premises included shophouses, construction sites, schools, factories, government offices, abandoned houses, places of worship, cemeteries, garbage dumps, vacant land, road dividers and recreational parks.
“We found 685 premises breeding aedes mosquitoes and construction sites remained the worst culprit at 13.1 per cent followed by factories (8.1 per cent) and vacant land (7.1 per cent),” he said.
He said the owners of 267 premises were fined while three premises were ordered closed.
Fogging was carried out in areas with dengue cases while anti-larvae chemical was dropped into water containers in 6,269 premises.

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