Materia Medica Malaysiana

March 25, 2005

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Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 5:48 pm

Action plan for healthy living

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysians tend to overeat, don’t exercise enough and become fat and unhealthy.
This has prompted the Government to draw up a National Plan of Action for Nutrition.
In its plan to control obesity and its related diseases, the Government will outline several 10-year targets beginning this year.
The aim is to encourage breastfeeding, healthier eating habits and reducing child obesity through educational activities and healthy lifestyle campaigns, Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek said.
Speaking at a press conference after the launch of the Nutrition Society of Malaysia’s scientific conference here yesterday, Dr Chua said Malaysians were eating out more often and were skipping meals due to their busy schedules.
“Malaysians could eat up to 24 hours,” he said.
The lack of physical activity was evident as the ministry’s survey in 1996 showed that only 11.6% Malaysians exercised adequately,” he said, adding that the figures would not have changed much today.
He said the data also showed that the prevalence of overweight and obese adolescents in urban areas was high at about 40%, while about 8% of urban primary schoolchildren could be overweight.
Dr Chua said being overweight and obese were major risk factors for diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.
He also said that strategies under the action plan included educating the public on the new Recommended Nutrient Intakes for Malaysia (RNI), which was launched at the same function.
The new RNI was drawn up based on local research and data.
Nutrition Society vice-president Prof Dr Mohd Ismail Noor said the information from the RNI, which was a revision of the 1975 Recommended Dietary Intake, would be made available to the public through pamphlets and consultations by the country’s 450 nutritionists and dieticians.
“In the new RNI, Malaysians are encouraged to eat more dietary fibre and reduce calories intake through fatty foods and oils.
“The RNI also gives guidelines on recommended nutrient intake based on the degree of physical activities,” he said.

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Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 5:44 pm

Malaysia looks for new approach to reduce AIDS cases

KUALA LUMPUR, March 24 (Xinhuanet) — Malaysia is looking for a more effective approach to reduce the AIDS infection rate in the country as the number of AIDS cases continues to escalate, a health official said here Thursday.
Health Minister Dr Chua Soi Lek said that his ministry would have a dialogue with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and relevant government agencies next month to find a new approach to tackle the problem.
“Compared to Australia, which has nearly the same population asMalaysia, the number of people infected with HIV/AIDS in this country is thrice theirs,” he told reporters after opening the 20th Scientific Conference of the Nutrition Society Malaysia here.
He said the number of people infected with HIV and AIDS in Malaysia now stood at 60,000, compared with only 20,000 in Australia, a developed nation that had a wider network to detect the disease.
He also said that presently the ministry did not propose to make it compulsory for couples who intend to get married to undergo HIV/AIDS tests.
The ministry preferred to look at the prevention aspects as such tests were not so effective in ascertaining that a person wasreally free from HIV and AIDS, he said.
“This is because each patient has a ‘window period’ where HIV and AIDS cannot be detected if his antibodies don’t reach a certain level,” he said.
A total of 7.9 billion ringgit (2.08 billion US dollars) were allocated in 2005 budget to upgrade health services to the Malaysians.

March 23, 2005

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Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 6:56 pm

Malaysians neglect their teeth

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysians generally neglect their teeth until it is too late.
This carelessness prevails although good dental care is widely available, said Malaysian Dental Association (MDA) president Dr Teo Choo Kum.
He regretted that Malaysians did not take preventive action to avoid cavities and gum diseases.
According to Dr Teo, Malaysians between 35 and 44 years old have the worst teeth, with more than 90% suffering from tooth decay, as they neglect dental health due to their hectic lifestyle.
“These people are busy with work and do not spend time on dental check-ups. Time and financial constraints, as well as fear of pain, are also some of the factors Malaysians hardly visit dental clinics,” he said.
Dr Teo said although the DMFT (decayed, missing and filled teeth) index showed that Malaysia is ranked fourth after Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand, Malaysians should not ignore their dental health.
He said that three-quarters of 16-year-olds in Malaysia have tooth decay. It was worse among 12-year-old schoolchildren with more than 80% affected.
However, dental health in Malaysia has improved slowly in the last three decades due to increasing awareness and easy access to dental clinics.
Dr Teo was speaking at a conference yesterday while briefing the media on a large-scale free dental check-up programme to be launched at 1 Utama Shopping Complex on April 1 here.

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Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:59 am

Some IJN staff losing heart

PETALING JAYA: The plan to make the National Heart Institute (IJN) a world-renowned heart specialist centre could hit a roadblock following a disagreement between its new management and long-serving clinical consultants.
The plan, which included raising bonds to form a special purposed vehicle (SPV), restructuring IJN into several new subsidiaries and initiating changes to its non-medical management and clinical structure, has ruffled feathers among IJN staff.
It is understood that several long serving senior consultants are planning to leave and this has caught the attention of the Government as IJN consultants have long been associated with monitoring the health of the country’s leaders.
The recent resignation of one of IJN’s top consultants has also raised questions.
IJN personnel, who spoke to The Star on condition of anonymity, said they were not consulted on most management decisions affecting the running and direction of the heart centre.
They feared that the some of the new developments could change the core objective of IJN, which was to help the public get quality cardiac treatment at an affordable price.
“We are concerned about the social aspect of IJN, which may take a backseat should IJN become too commercialised,” one consultant said.
Staff members had also queried the management over the “sweeping and rapid” changes which they felt could affect local patients and bring about a shortage of qualified personnel such as doctors and nurses.
One consultant also questioned a management move to hire nearly 20 non-medical staff, saying their jobs were previously handled by just three people.
“IJN is currently making money and it should continue its main objective of serving the public,” said another senior staff member, pointing to the more than RM100mil in cash that IJN currently has. The staff also said it was inappropriate to expand IJN now in view of the shortage of critical personnel.
IJN chief executive Mohd Radzif Mohd Yunus, who was appointed in Sept 2003, had brought in two advisors on contract to deal with human capital organisational development and strategic management.
Staff at the centre also contend that some of the changes by the management were unnecessary and had eroded the consultants clout.
IJN was formed in July 1992 as part of the Kuala Lumpur General Hospital and was corporatised two months later, the first government hospital to do so.
Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was instrumental in its establishment following his coronary bypass surgery in 1989 at KLGH.

March 22, 2005

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Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 11:09 am

Pakistani workers to be screened for leishmaniasis

THE Health Ministry will be on the lookout for various contagious diseases that may be brought in by the 100,000 Pakistani workers expected next month, reported Utusan Malaysia yesterday.
The National Health Services Department’s Disease Control Division director Dr Ramlee Rahmat said his department would closely monitor diseases not found in Malaysia but common in Pakistan like leishmaniasis.
If untreated, the parasitic disease transmitted by the bite of certain sand flies found in Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan could be fatal, he added.
“Apart from monitoring for diseases like tuberculosis (TB), Hepatitis B, syphilis, gonorrhoea and HIV infections, we will look out for diseases not normally found here.
Apart from causing skin cancer, syphilis and TB, Dr Ramlee explained that leishmaniasis could also cause limb and bone marrow complications.
Children and adults who contract the disease would suffer from high fever, diarrhoea and cough, he added.
Dr Ramlee said about 10,000 of the Pakistani workers would undergo random checks at the country’s main entry points like the KL International Airport.

March 21, 2005

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Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 7:19 pm

All states to operate one-call ambulance network

PENANG: The Health Ministry will soon extend its “one-call” ambulance services networking system to all states, following the success of its pilot project in eight states.
Its parliamentary secretary Lee Kah Choon said the system enabled the general hospital’s emergency unit to be linked to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that provided ambulance services.
“Using high capacity walkie-talkies, the general hospitals can now contact the Civil Defence Department, St John’s Ambulance Malaysia (SJAM) or the Malaysian Red Crescent Society (MRCS) for back up ambulance services,” he said when closing Penang SJAM’s first aid and home nursing competition here yesterday.
Lee said the ministry had given out grants worth RM800,000 to eight state governments to set up a radio transmission station and to buy the necessary communication tools.
“Penang, which received this grant, had set up its transmission station on Penang Hill, providing radio frequency coverage throughout the island.
“This system proved to be highly effective, especially during the tsunami last December, when the walkie-talkies were used to co-ordinate the ambulances ferrying victims and the dead to hospitals,” he said.
Under the system, he said, ambulance drivers would radio to tell the hospital’s base station their destination and the emergency situation, which can also be heard by those manning the Rescue 991 call centres as well as by Red Crescent and St John’s officers.

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Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 7:17 pm

All government hospitals to get hi-tech facilities

KUALA LUMPUR, Sun. – Government hospitals nationwide can be expected to give private hospitals a run for their money from next year, with state-of-the-art equipment on the cards.
A large part of the RM24.5 billion allocation for the Health Ministry sought under the Ninth Malaysia Plan will go towards upgrading state and district hospitals.
Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek (picture) said the emphasis would shift from building hospitals to installing sophisticated equipment equal to what was available in private hospitals.
“The time has come for the Government to provide state- of-the-art facilities in all hospitals,” he said in an interview.
Dr Chua said this was because the 124 hospitals nationwide with 32,000 beds were sufficient to meet the needs of Malaysians.
The upgrading had been planned under the Eighth Malaysia Plan, he said, but had to be postponed when emphasis was given to building new hospitals.
He said more than 50 per cent of the RM862 million allocation under the 8MP had been channelled to new hospital projects.
“This is why the ministry is shifting the emphasis to upgrading hospitals nationwide under the 9MP.”
The ministry will also upgrade rural clinics and build halfway houses for mental patients.
Another priority will be to resolve the shortage of doctors, nurses and supporting healthcare staff. This would be done in stages from this year until 2020.
“I intend giving emphasis to human development programmes and training to overcome the shortage.”
To this end, the ministry may outsource training programmes for nurses.
He said 10 hospitals slated for construction under the 8MP would be carried over to the new plan.
One of the priority projects will be the Rehabilitation Hospital in Cheras, which will act as a centre for training, research and education in rehabilitation and disability management. It will also provide rehabilitation for neurological disorders..

March 19, 2005

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Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 7:36 am

Site update

I have removed the commenting system from now on and replaced this with a Feedback link to me as email as I find it difficult to keep track of too many commenting systems.
Where relevant, feedback comments will be posted in the Malaysian Medical Resources

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Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 6:04 am

Drink More Water And Stay Indoors During Equinox

KUALA LUMPUR, March 18 (Bernama) — Drink more water and stay indoors during the hot spell, especially during Monday’s equinox.
This is the advice of Disease Control Department director Dr Ramlee Rahmat.
“Firstly, people should avoid hot areas. If they feel hot, they should consume more fluids. If there is a need, people can take a bath to cool down their body.
“If possible, stay indoors during the hot spell. Good ventilation is also important to keep the body cool,” he told Bernama Friday.
The spring equinox on Monday, when the sun is directly over the Equator, might result in excessive heat causing blackout of vision, nausea or heatstroke, but Dr Ramlee said only those exposed to heat continuously for a long period of time would experience such symptoms.
He said those who experienced such symptoms should be given ample ventilation and should be admitted to hospitals to avoid further complications such as oxygen-deprivation which might lead to damaged organs.
The spring equinox falls around March 21 and the autumnal equinox around Sept 23, the dates varying during leap years.
Meteorological Services Department Director-General Chow Kok Kee was quoted by the media Friday as saying that Malaysia would not experience any significant temperature change during the equinox as the country is already located near the Equator.
However, the weather in the country had been hot and dry in recent weeks.

March 18, 2005

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Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 4:59 pm

Little Research On Cures For Diseases

IPOH, March 18 (Bernama) — It is unacceptable that so litte research has been devoted to vaccines or cures for diseases that kill millions each year in poor countries while vast sums are spent on producing drugs to fight baldness and erectile dysfunction, Raja Nazrin Shah said Friday.
The Raja Muda of Perak said it was common these days to speak of medicine as a business and the pharmaceutical industry was one area where commercial considerations often came into conflict with humanitarian concerns.
“Today, only 10 per cent of health research is devoted to diseases that occur for 90 per cent of the global disease burden. These are diseases that occur primarily in the more underdeveloped parts of the world,” he said in the “Sultan Azlan Shah Oration” at the opening of the 4th Asean Conference in Primary Health Care, here.
Perak’s Sultan Azlan Shah opened the four-day conference which started yesterday. Among those present were Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Tajol Rosli Ghazali and more than 352 delegates from Malaysia, Singapore, India and Brunei.
Raja Nazrin said that developing treatment for diseases like malaria, sleeping sickness and tuberculosis was an unprofitable venture for multinational companies.
“Even when cures are available, high prices put these drugs beyond the reach of the majority of the disease’s victims worldwide. In focusing on research at the top end of the market, pharmaceutical companies are merely responding to the incentives of the market place,” he said.
He was therefore happy to note that a new initiative known as “Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiatives” had been formed to undertake drug development for neglected diseases such as malaria.
He also said that the art of listening to the patient was sadly curtailed, which leads to a concentration on the physical symptoms and prompt, standardised diagnoses.
“Doctors and nurses may be restricted not only in the units of time afforded per patient but in a more restricted range of treatments readily and conveniently available. However unfairly or indiscriminately, doctors are oftentimes accused of treating diseases or “cases” instead of treating people,” he said.
He said clinical practice should always operate within ethics as science alone was not equipped to resolve these difficult moral questions and “we need the humanities to guide us towards a solution”.
“I do not believe that compassion need to be constrained by time. It need not be sacrificed because the physician has only five minutes with a patient. Our compassion allows us to share the human experience,” he said.

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