Materia Medica Malaysiana

February 28, 2005


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 8:09 pm

Medical tourism boost

Private hospitals in the country raked in a whopping RM56 million from medical tourism in the first nine months of last year.
However, the figure could be much higher as some hospitals do not disclose their income from medical tourism though they are encouraged to do so by the Health Ministry, according to its parliamentary secretary, Lee Kah Choon.
There are 35 private hospitals involved in the promotion of health tourism with 14 of them having obtained the MS ISO 9001 accreditation. Another six have been awarded the Malaysia Standard Quality Hospital certification.
Seeing the potential in this field for hospitals as well as the nation, the Health Ministry is soon to set up a Malaysia Health Tourism Promotion Council, a corporatised body with highly specialised staff to promote Malaysia as a centre of excellence in medical tourism.
Lee said: “In order to promote medical tourism in a more active and co-ordinated manner, we need to set up the council with full-time staff to solely handle medical health promotions.”
It is learnt that 80 per cent of the groundwork for the formation of the council has been completed and the staff appointed. An official announcement is expected anytime now.
At present, the National Health Tourism Promotion committee, headed by the Health Ministry’s Director-General, Tan Sri Dr Mohd Taha Arif, handles all matters pertaining to health tourism with the assistance of five sub-committees to handle promotion, advertising, tax incentives, accreditation and fees.
Lee said the council hoped to enlist the support of the Association of Private Hospitals of Malaysia (APHM) in obtaining details on the number of foreigners seeking treatment at their hospitals and the revenue derived to help it plan its projects and programmes to further boost medical tourism.


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 8:07 pm

IJN seeks to attract more foreign patients

Institut Jantung Negara (IJN) plans to expand its role in medical tourism by attracting more than the average of 2,300 foreigners who come to it annually for a variety of procedures.
Its chief executive officer, Mohd Radzif Mohd Yunus (picture), said a concerted effort would be made over the next few years to attract foreigners to the comprehensive facilities and treatment at the hospital.
“We want to go into medical tourism (in a bigger way). We want to raise the number of foreign patients from three to five per cent of our total patient load.”
He said IJN wanted to support the Government’s proposal to woo foreigners to Malaysia for medical treatment.
“Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi wants to see an increase in medical tourism. The market is huge and we can tap it.”
He said Thailand had made substantial gains in the field.
Radzif said most foreigners came to know of IJN through “word of mouth”. Some foreign patients came to know of IJN through foreign doctors who had been on attachment as fellows at the hospital.
Nearly 80 per cent of patients are government servants. The majority of the rest are private Malaysian patients.

February 27, 2005


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:35 pm

Specialised training for teaching the disabled

The Education Ministry plans to introduce specialised training so that teachers will be qualified to teach and deal with those with specific disabilities.
Dr Haniz Ibrahim (picture), planning and research director at the Education Ministry’s Special Education Department, said currently the teachers are trained on very general terms.
“They are trained to teach those with Down Syndrome and other learning disabilities, but it’s not specific.
“Now we want to train them on specific areas so they would understand the different types of disabilities,” he said.
Speaking to reporters after the launch of a seminar organised by the Bar Council, he said the ministry was currently training 200 teachers to become experts in specific disabilities.


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:29 pm

Umno helps Penang Hospital overcome blood shortage

PENANG Umno’s Complaints Bureau will be organising blood donation campaigns in the State once every three months to help the Penang Hospital’s blood bank overcome its shortage.
Yesterday, the bureau conducted a campaign from 8am to noon at the Robina Park Recreation area in Teluk Air Tawar near Butterworth, and collected about 40 pints of blood from donors.
Bureau chief Azlina Mehtab Mohd Ishaq, who is also the Penang State Puteri Umno chief, said: “The public’s response has been very good and we will carry out similar campaigns once every three months.”
Azlina said the campaign was carried out with the help of 20 medical staff from the Seberang Jaya Hospital and Butterworth Health Clinic led by Dr Teoh Kean Hooi.
“The blood level at the Penang Hospital’s blood bank has apparently reached a critical level and we are glad to help boost their supply,” said Azlina.


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 5:39 pm

Health Ministry Urged To Issue Guidelines On Health Care For City Folk

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 27 (Bernama) — The Health Ministry has been urged to issue guidelines on health care for city folk if the air quality index in the Klang Valley deteriorates.
The guidelines were important to ensure the good health of the residents, Deputy Federal Territories Minister Datuk Zulhasnan Rafique said Sunday.
“If the air quality drops to a fretful level, we want the Health Ministry to give views and encouragement to the rakyat to do something so that the rakyat are healthy,” he told reporters after opening a seminar organised by the Setiawangsa Umno division, here.
The air quality in the Klang Valley has registered an unhealthy level since last Friday.


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 8:36 am

Drink a lot and stay out of heat

JOHOR BARU: Drink lots of water and refrain from working under the heat for a long period – these are some of the tips for those in the high-risk group of getting heat-related illnesses during the current dry spell.
Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek said farmers, labourers, athletes, fishermen, and those below the age of five and above 40 were prone to contracting illnesses resulting from the hot weather.
Those suffering from hypertension, diabetes and asthma should also take extra care under the present condition, he said after attending Johor MCA Youth Chinese New Year dinner on Friday night.
They were advised to drink more than six glasses of water a day, take frequent rest and avoid working under the heat for a long period.
If the air quality reached very unhealthy levels, he said people should limit their outdoor activities, stop smoking and wear a mask.
“It can cause heat rash and in certain cases affect one’s concentration. One can also get heat cramps and exhaustion followed by heat stroke,” he said.
“If our body temperature is too high it can affect our organs especially the brain, heart, kidneys, and in some cases, it can lead to death,” he added.
Dr Chua said the mortality rate was between 20% and 50% for those suffering from heat exhaustion and if they failed to obtain treatment, they could go into convulsions.
He also noted that accidents in factories could increase because workers could get tired easily.

He said studies also revealed that those below the age of five and above 40 were 10 times more susceptible than others in getting heat-related illnesses.

At a press conference in Kuala Lumpur yesterday, Dr Chua revealed that the number of patients who suffered from asthma, respiratory problems and conjunctivitis had tripled from last December to January.

He said a ministry’s survey showed 4,297 people, mostly children, visited the clinics in Port Klang last month compared with 1,412 in December.

“A ministry’s survey shows cases of respiratory tract infection have increased from 419 last December to 1,322 cases this January while the survey shows an increase of 92 asthma cases to 124 while conjunctivitis cases have increased from seven to 32,” he added.


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 8:34 am

Aussie Surgeons To Teach In M’sia

MELBOURNE, Feb 26 (Bernama) — South Australian craniofacial surgeons will help train doctors in Malaysia as part of a new research and teaching programme.
Prof David David from the Adelaide-based Australian Craniofacial Institute will finalise the arrangements with Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) in Penang.
Under the memorandum of understanding, the institute will provide clinical support, education and training on the treatment of patients with craniofacial disorders to the medical team and students at its university hospital in Kubang Kerian, Kota Baharu.
Both organisations will also undertake collaborative research on Malaysian patients with craniofacial disorders.
The agreement consolidated Adelaide’s reputation as a centre of excellence, Prof David told the Australian Associated Press (APP).

“I firmly believe that we should be spreading this knowledge to our neighbours and I am very pleased that this agreement is now being formalised,” he said.

“We have been working with the university informally over the past four years and I believe we have all benefited from the sharing of information and knowledge,” he added.


February 26, 2005


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 11:01 pm

Hospital for rehabilitative care

The Government will build a hospital for rehabilitative care for patients suffering from chronic illnesses and those requiring long-term care.
Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek said the hospital, to be built under the Ninth Malaysia Plan, would be in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur.
“Taking into account the higher life expectancy in the country, which leads to a higher incidence of chronic diseases and also the higher number of road accidents, there is a need for such a hospital,” he said after visiting the Columbia Asia Medical Centre in the Oakland Commercial Centre here today.
The country does not have a designated hospital for patients recovering from illnesses such as stroke or car accidents, which needs specialised care over a longer period of time.
Dr Chua said keeping these patients in normal hospitals for emergency care would be costly.
The Cheras Hospital will also become a training centre to equip staff with skills in dealing with rehabilitative care.
Besides the rehabilitative hospital, the Government is also expected to set up more smaller hospitals with 20 to 30 beds in low density areas such as the rural areas of Sabah and Sarawak, Pahang, Kelantan and Terengganu.
These hospitals would be tailored to the needs of the community.
The ministry will also set up a daycare centre in each State which will enable patients to come in for treatment and leave by the end of the day.


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 7:50 pm

Malaysia takes steps to stem tobacco use

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Next month’s Malaysian Formula One Grand Prix will be the last time cigarette companies will be able to use the romance of racing to sell their tobacco products in Malaysia.
Health activists here can at least in part thank the World Health Organization’s treaty on tobacco control, which goes into effect Sunday in 40 countries, for prompting the new limits on advertising.
Malaysia is joining a growing list of nations that severely restrict tobacco sponsorship of sporting events – long a favorite publicity playground of cigarette sellers – for public health reasons.
The new anti-tobacco rules are among a slew of steps Malaysia is taking to ban promotion of cigarettes and other products as it prepares to join the WHO treaty.
About 3.6 million of Malaysia’s 25 million people are smokers, and nearly half of adult men light up regularly, according to Health Ministry statistics. About 10,000 people die every year from smoking-related ailments.
“The burden of disease and the economic loss borne by the government all this while was tremendous,” Health Minister Chua Soi Lek said. “If the situation is allowed to continue it will only grow worse in the near future. We must act.”
A ban on most cigarette advertisements has been in place for years, but point-of-sale advertising at neighborhood coffee shops, grocery stores and supermarkets was allowed.
These ads, along with sponsorship of events such as auto racing that Malaysia hosts every year, will become illegal June 1 under amendments to the law approved by parliament in September.
Also, shops won’t be allowed to sell smaller packs or single sticks of cigarettes, sales that authorities say make cigarettes affordable for teenagers.
Still, activists say Malaysia has done too little to control tobacco.
In neighboring Singapore and Thailand, some cigarette packs carry images of diseased wombs and rotting brain and heart, with slogans like “Tobacco Smoke can Kill Babies” or “Smoking Harms your Family.” Nothing like that exists in Malaysia.
“The efforts against smoking is not achieving much,” said Mohamed Idris of the Consumers Association of Penang. “The smoking habit is being successfully promoted and new smokers are being recruited everyday.”
Idris and other activists here want a complete ban on tobacco products. No way, says the government, aware of the tax revenue the industry fetches.
Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi raised taxes on cigarettes by 40 percent in his 2005 budget. The government also has launched a $26 million anti-smoking campaign.
Anti-tobacco activists say the government should also close tobacco farms – a government-supported business in some Malaysian states.
“It is ridiculous to see the health ministry fighting against tobacco while other ministries in the government encourage tobacco planting,” said Idris.

February 25, 2005


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 11:01 pm

Closure for schools with HFM cases

Schools and kindergartens affected by the hand, foot and mouth disease will be closed temporarily to enable health authorities to conduct remedial measures to contain the virus.
Health Ministry Disease Control Division director Dr Ramlee Rahmat said the move was necessary to prevent the disease from reaching epidemic proportions.
According to the ministry, 412 HFM cases were reported nationwide till Saturday.
Dr Ramlee said Penang had 309 cases, followed by Kedah (24), Pahang and Perak (15 each), Selangor (13) and Johor and Malacca (12 each).
“The virus is contagious. So, parents must monitor their children and send them to clinics if they suspect any symptoms of the ailment,” he said.
Dr Ramlee said the virus could be transmitted by air, saliva and personal contact.
Among the symptoms are high fever, rashes, ulcers and blisters. – Bernama

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