Materia Medica Malaysiana

March 31, 2005


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 8:00 pm

TH Group invests RM40m in NCI expansion

Sabah- based TH Group Bhd has invested RM40mil in the expansion of the NCI Cancer Hospital (NCI), group general manager Angie Ang said.
She said the investment was for both the expansion of the hospital building and equipment.
“Our capacity at the moment is probably about 500 to 700 patients per year. With the expansion, we hope to increase it to several thousand,” she told reporters after the signing of a collaboration understanding between Asiaprise Biotech Sdn Bhd and Health Scan Malaysia Sdn Bhd in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
Asiaprise Biotech, a subsidiary of TH Group, is involved in pharmaceutical trading/distribution, and investment in biotech/healthcare-related activities. The expansion of NCI is expected to be completed in September.
Asiaprise Biotech executive chairman Dr Kim Tze Tan said that through the collaboration agreement, the two parties would work together to provide optimum medical care to patients from both centres, particularly in the disciplines of oncology and cardiology.
He said NCI would provide follow-up care for Health Scan Malaysia’s patients who required further diagnosis or treatment in respect of cancer.
“NCI will leverage on Health Scan Malaysia’s expertise in the area of cardiology to provide follow-up care for its patients who may be diagnosed with cardiac complications,” he said.
NCI is Malaysia’s first private cancer centre that offers cancer treatment and clinical research, while Health Scan Malaysia was conceived as a premier medical centre to offer comprehensive health screening using the most advanced technology. – Bernama


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 7:28 am

Malaysia postpones ban on small packs of cigarettes?

Malaysia’s government has postponed by one year a proposed ban on the sale of small packs of cigarettes, a senior government official said Wednesday, provoking an outcry from anti-smoking groups.
The ban on packs of less than 20 cigarettes was supposed to come into effect on July 1, 2005, but the government has decided to hold off until July 1, 2006, said Ramlee Rahmat, director of disease control at the Health Ministry.
Some cigarette manufacturers made an appeal to postpone the ban, and “the (health) minister has taken this into consideration,” Ramlee told Dow Jones Newswires.
The rationale for the proposed ban is that small packs make cigarettes affordable for teenagers, the most vulnerable group among new smokers.
S.M. Mohamad Idris, president of the Consumers Association of Penang, which had lobbied for the ban, said he was shocked by the decision.
It appears the government is “putting the interest of companies above health,” he said. “What is the point of all your anti-smoking campaigns if the tobacco companies are allowed to get away with this?”
But other anti-tobacco measures are expected to go ahead as part of Malaysia’s efforts to restrict smoking. Among the steps are a ban on point-of-sale advertisements at stores beginning June 1. Also, tobacco companies will not be allowed to sponsor events such as Formula One racing this year.
Sponsorship of soccer matches and other sports is already illegal.
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 government raised taxes on cigarettes by 40 percent in its 2005 budget. The government also has launched a US$26 million (�20 million) anti-smoking campaign.
Shares of cigarette makers British American Tobacco (Malaysia) Bhd., the industry leader in sales, and JT International Bhd. have suffered in the past few months due to steep tax and price hikes.
As a result, cigarette sales fell 3 percent in 2004 to 19.4 billion cigarettes, industry data show.

March 30, 2005


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 2:44 pm

Better health care services: New D-G

Kuala Lumpur: The public can expect better and improved health services in the country over the next few years as major efforts have been taken to enhance them.
Not only that, there would also be more locally-produced medicines with more efforts to commercialise natural products as health supplements.
This is the vision set by the newly-appointed Director-General of Health, Datuk Dr Ismail Merican, who assumed office on March 5. He was, prior to his promotion, the Deputy Director-General of Health (Research and Technical Support).
“I want to concentrate on the healthcare services and enhance the delivery system. I also want to rebrand the Health Ministry’s existing services, so that they can contribute to the national economy,” he said when contacted Monday.
Dr Ismail, better known as “Dr Sars” among the media circle, said the nation was now facing a growing threat from diseases and increasing health care cost.
In view of this, he said there was a greater need for the healthcare provider in the country to improve the healthcare delivery system.
As such, the department must inculcate a more humanitarian corporate culture, teamwork spirit, a more caring society and professionalism among the existing medical staff, he said.
“For this purpose, we are going to benchmark ourselves to the world standard,” he said, adding that public had expected better healthcare services from the Government for some time.
“We want the doctors and other medical staff to listen to what the patients have to say and to be more humane. We want the staff to take this as an opportunity to do better,” he said.
The Penang-born Dr Ismail has been dubbed “Dr Sars” because of his frequent appearances in the print and electronic media two years ago to give updates on the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) cases when there was an outbreak of the disease in Malaysia.
The appointment of Dr Ismail, a former Penang Free School student, to succeed Tan Sri Dr Mohamad Taha Arif, who retired on March 4, was announced by Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek on Monday.
Dr Ismail is an expert on hepatology and had served at the district and state levels before being assigned to the Ministry.- Bernama


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 2:43 pm

System to detect blindness early

KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry is drawing up a system to help medical practitioners and nurses detect complications in the early stages of diabetes and hypertension.
This is because medical practitioners do not have a satisfactory control and monitoring system, causing patients to suffer complications like blindness, said Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek.
“We have observed that although the patients are receiving treatment, whether at private or government hospitals, they are referred to the ophthalmologist only at the end stages.
“And at this stage, the treatment is more complicated and not very effective,” he told reporters yesterday after opening the 20th Asia Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology Congress.
Diabetics can suffer from diabetic retinopathy, which can cause decreased vision and blindness.
Dr Chua also said that the practitioners would simply “repeat” medication when the patient goes for follow-up sessions.
“We are in the early stages of discussions on how to make sure complications such as visual impairment or blindness can be controlled,” he said.


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 2:41 pm

200 ‘unrecognised’ docs get chance to enter govt service

KUALA SELANGOR: The 200 medical graduates from non-government accredited universities abroad have been given a chance to practise medicine in the country.
Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek said they would be absorbed into the medical fraternity after undergoing a six-month attachment and passing an examination prepared by the ministry.
The Cabinet approved the recommendation by the ministry to allow the 200 graduates to be attached with government hospitals, he said.
They would be paid a monthly allowance of RM500 during the six-month stint, Dr Chua said during a visit to the Tanjung Karang Hospital near here yesterday.
He said a committee made up of experts from Universiti Malaya, Universiti Sains Malaysia and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia would co-ordinate the examination.
“If they pass the exam, the graduates would be offered a housemanship,” said Dr Chua.
He added that they would be allowed to take the examination a second time if they failed.
With regard to a recent report that 30 medical graduates from universities not recognised by the Government were taking the Malaysian Medical Council to court, he said that those who initiated a legal case against the Government would not be given this alternative.
Dr Chua advised students wanting to pursue a medical degree not to enrol with universities that were not recognised by the council.
“We feel it’s a waste of money to pursue a medical degree at non-recognised universities as they would end up jobless. Check with us. We have 300 universities in our list which are recognised,” he said.

March 29, 2005


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 8:47 am

Mobile clinic to provide treatment for rural folk

KUALA LUMPUR: Medical advice and treatment will be made available to disabled people in rural areas through the Semai Bakti Pusat Pemulihan Dalam Komuniti (PDK) programme.
Bakti (Association of Wives of Ministers and Deputy Ministers) yesterday received a van which would be converted into a mobile clinic to service the rural areas.
DRB-HICOM group chairman Tan Sri Saleh Sulong handed over the van to Bakti president Datin Paduka Seri Endon Mahmood.
The programme, conducted by Bakti and Gabungan Wawasan Generasi Felda, hopes to train, guide and aid the disabled, especially those in rural areas.

March 28, 2005


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 8:44 am

New Salary Scheme For Nurses With Higher Qualifications Approved

LANGKAWI, March 27 (Bernama) — The government has approved a new pay scheme for nurses in government hospitals who have taken further courses or have degrees.
Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek, who announced this Sunday, said he hoped the new scheme would motivate nurses to upgrade their knowledge and seek higher qualifications.
The date of implementation had not been decided, he said during a visit to Langkawi Hospital.
At present, nurses who wish to specialise are required to take further courses after which they will receive the same salary as ordinary nurses despite shouldering more duties.
Nurses who are degree holders are also paid the same as those who pass out from the basic nursing course.
On another matter, Dr Chua said the ministry would reveal the findings of a survey on waiting time for patients at government hospitals next month.
He said the ministry was sorting out the data from the survey which would include information on the hospitals with the longest and shortest waiting time for patients.

March 27, 2005


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 8:51 am

Malaysian Medical Students Find Australia Exciting

MELBOURNE, March 26 (Bernama) — Fifty-two medical students from Monash University’s Malaysia campus have arrived in Australia to begin their studies.
The students, from Malaysia and Singapore, will be the first group to graduate from Malaysia with the newly created Bachelor of Medicine/ Bachelor of Surgery degree.
Dean of Medicine Professor Ed Byrne said the undergraduate students would spend the next two years studying with their Australian counterparts before heading home to complete the remaining three years of their degrees in Malaysia.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for the students,” he said.
“They will follow exactly the same curriculum as Australian students and gain valuable practical experience.”
Malaysian student Hakimah Yusop, from Serdang, Selangor, said she was excited to be studying in Australia.
“This course is much more hands-on than those in Malaysia.
“It will give us a lot more practical experience than other students back home.
“Studying abroad is attractive to me because I think it will give me a wider range of experience and ultimately make me a better doctor,” she said.
Afif Jamaludin, from Gombak, Selangor, agreed that the strong clinical emphasis was an attractive element of the Monash course.
“In Malaysia, there is a more traditional method of teaching so here in Australia we will gain an enormous amount of experience in just two years, which is great,” he said.
“My first week has been very enjoyable, I have particularly enjoyed group discussions which are quite different from the predominantly lecture format of teaching in Malaysia. I look forward to the next two years in Australia.”
Hawa Yasir, 21, from Ipoh, Perak, said she was lucky to be studying in Melbourne.
“The lecturers and Australian students are very helpful and friendly,” she said.
Hawa said the lectures were easy to follow, but the tutorials were more difficult because the supervisors spoke too fast and she was still not used to the Aussie accent.
She said she was making every effort to improve her spoken English and get a better understanding of Australian traditions and culture.


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 8:46 am

Dialysis centres to be audited to ensure quality of service

KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry will start conducting audits on dialysis centres mushrooming in the country to ensure the quality of their services.
Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek said the technical and medical audit checks were part of the measures being considered by a new committee set up to ensure that the over 300 such centres in the country maintained the highest standards of dialysis care.
“Our officials have already conducted inspections on three dialysis centres in Sri Manjung and one in Seremban this month and found several deficiencies, although they complied with most of the requirements under the ministry’s guidelines,” he said at the 3rd Annual Dialysis Meeting on Nutrition in End Stage Renal Disease here yesterday.
The deficiencies included inadequate floor space for patients undergoing dialysis, the required three-monthly blood screen on patients with HIV and hepatitis not being done and lack of emergency trolleys and treatment rooms on each floor to cater for emergencies.
“Specific machines for the use of HIV, hepatitis and infectious patients were also not set aside on the excuse that there are no such patients under treatment,” Dr Chua added.
The audit, based on the ministry’s “Guidelines on Standards for Haemodialysis Treatment” would cover the centres’ physical facilities and equipment, professional staffing, monitoring of dialysis patients, adequacy of haemodialysis treatment and cross-infection control measures, among others.
He said it was important for dialysis centres to provide proper rehabilitation, including nutritional considerations, as patients could return to gainful employment and to normal and gratifying lifestyles.
He said the National Renal Registry recorded 316 dialysis centres last year of which 112 were Government-owned, 91 were run by non-governmental organisations and the remaining by the private sector.
Meanwhile, Dr Chua said a state-of-the-art scanner that enables early detection of cancer will be available next week at the Penang Hospital Nuclear Medicine Services Unit.
The hospital will be the first hospital in the country to be equipped with a PET-CT (positron emission tomography – computed tomography) scanner.
PET-CT scan is a sophisticated diagnostic technique using radioactive material or isotopes that have a short lifespan which transmits very low radiation effects.
“It is able to detect diseases especially growth or cancers at an early stage, even before there is any structural changes in the cells,” he said.


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 8:40 am

MPharm in Malaysia

THE University of Nottingham Malaysia campus will be offering a four-year pharmacy programme leading to the honours degree of Master of Pharmacy (MPharm).
The MPharm degree is offered under a 2+2 arrangement, with students taking the first two years at the Malaysia campus after which they will transfer to Nottingham to complete their third and fourth year. The first intake will be based at the new purpose-built campus in Semenyih.
The modular course aims to inculcate core pharmacy skills and knowledge as well as look into the clinical and legal aspects of the profession. In their final year, students will have the opportunity to engage in pharmaceutical research and work under the supervision of an academic staff member.
Originally established in Nottingham in 1925, the School of Pharmacy is one of the latest additions to the Malaysia campus. It is also the first school in the newly-created Health and Biological Sciences faculty.

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