Materia Medica Malaysiana

October 31, 2005

Rotary Is On The ‘Last Mile’ Of Eradicating Polio

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 7:06 am

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 30 (Bernama) — Hundreds of Rotarians from Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, the United States, Canada, France and the Netherlands are joining their fellow Rotarians in India, Indonesia and Africa in what they hope is the last lap to immunise children against polio.
Twenty years after Rotary International’s PolioPlus programme was launched, they aim to completely wipe out the disease by the end of next year.
From Nov 14 to 20, 70 Malaysian Rotary club members and their families will be in India, which has the second highest number of cases after Nigeria (among the countries in which polio is endemic), to help the Indian government with a Sub-National Immunisation Day.
India once had over 70 per cent of the polio cases but now has only 33 so far this year, thanks to the massive immunisation efforts.
“We have large numbers of resources dedicated to this and we are quite confident,” Indian High Commissioner to Malaysia R. L. Narayan told Bernama.
“It is coming down but it is really the last mile which needs the attention.
“Our goal is 100 per cent coverage, particularly in high-risk areas including more community mobilisers, detailed tracking on every child’s immunisation status, greater acceptance by some of the communities about the detailed plan of action to involve local leaders and opinion makers.” he said.
PolioPlus is Rotary International’s most ambitious global humanitarian programme — to make polio the first disease to be eradicated in the 21st century.
Poliomyelitis is an acute infectious disease which can cause temporary or permanent paralysis and even death.
Since PolioPlus was launched in 1985, Rotary and its partners — the World Health Organisation (WHO), United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) and the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) — have immunised 2 billion children in 122 countries.
The programme also aims to eradicate measles, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and tuberculosis — all of which are preventable through vaccination.
Back in 1988, polio was endemic in over 125 countries and over 350,000 children were paralysed by the disease each year.
Today, the endemic wild polio virus has been wiped out from all but six countries — Nigeria, India, Pakistan, Niger, Afghanistan and Egypt. There have been fewer than 1,400 cases worldwide so far this year.
Rotary volunteers from polio-free Malaysia will help their Indian counterparts to convince parents to immunise their children, to administer the drops of oral vaccine and to help health workers keep records of the children and areas covered.
“Each and every child under the age of five will be immunised against polio, whether or not they have been immunised before,” vowed delegation leader Dr Ken Khoo, who is Malaysia’s Rotary district governor.
Rotary has used various channels to reach the children in India. For example, in eastern Bihar, Rotary asked the district magistrate to instruct health workers that it is their responsibility to make sure that each child receives the vaccine.
Some communities were afraid that the polio vaccine will cause impotency. To counter this, Rotary involved religious leaders from the various communities, who issued a joint appeal in favour of the PolioPlus programme.
Before the immunisation day, the Malaysian delegation will travel 600km by road between Jaipur, Agra and New Delhi, stopping at villages to distribute flyers about the immunisation programme and convince families to bring their children.

October 30, 2005

Master plan for cancer care

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 6:27 am

The Star: PUTRAJAYA: The Prime Minister’s mission to make cancer treatment affordable to sufferers has been given a timely boost with the Health Ministry’s announcement of a five-year master plan to provide comprehensive care to Malaysians.
Its director-general Datuk Dr Ismail Merican said the “roadmap” would include early detection, diagnosis, treatment, prevention, rehabilitation, hospice care, herbal therapy and training.
He said the plan was to make cancer management available to all Malaysians, and patients need not have to go abroad for treatment.
“Some types of cancers can be treated in the country. We are also looking at new ways to ensure drugs are accessible.
“We want to fill the gaps in several areas. There will also be ‘full-blown’ information on the preventive aspects of specific types of cancer,” he told The Star.
The plan will look at improving diagnosis strategies for early detection, while the ministry is working on increasing the number of oncologists in the country, he added.
Dr Ismail said that one key target of the plan was to increase awareness of a healthy lifestyle to reduce risk factors.
“Besides having good habits, a healthy diet such as cutting down on salted, preserved and fatty foods will reduce cancer risks. Keeping one’s weight in check to avoid added problems of diabetes and obesity is also important.
“There is also the issue of rehabilitation and hospice. At times, there isn’t much counselling or the patient is given little time to absorb the fact that he has cancer.
“The management of cancer has to be done with compassion and commitment. Doctors can get too mechanical when telling patients they have the disease. And family members have to be involved in the care of the patient,” he said.
Dr Ismail said non-governmental organisations had been doing a good job in hospice care and the ministry welcomed their support and that of professional bodies to enhance patient management.
The ministry had been working on the plan since last year and would seek funding from the Government if necessary, he said, adding that the Cabinet would be briefed on the plan once everything was in place.

October 28, 2005

Najib Welcomes The Setting Up Of Asian Neuro Centre

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 5:57 am

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 27 (Bernama) — Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak welcomed the setting up of the Asian Neuro Centre which he said could help reduce the workload of public hospitals as well as the waiting time for neurosurgery patients.
The deputy prime minister said the Health Ministry statistics showed that only six out of 121 public hospitals in Malaysia were equipped with neurosurgical facilities.
Although the ministry was working hard to improve the health services related to neurology and neurosurgery, it was still unable to fulfil the demand due to the increasing number of patients compared with the low number of neurologists and nerosurgeons, he said.
As such, the establishment of Asian Neuro Centre (ANC) was timely to fill the ever growing gap, he said when launching the centre, here Thursday.
“Being an advanced neurosurgery centre, ANC will be able to perform neurosurgeries using the image-guided radio surgery, neuro interventional and other complex treatments for neuorological disorders and ANC can be accredited as a referral centre for government hospitals to help reduce the workload,” he said.
The ANC, to be built in Subang by a private company, is modelled as a premier tertiary care hospital providing specialised neurological care, treatment and rehabilitation and IS scheduled to commence operations in 2007.
Najib said there were 7,900 neurosurgery patients in Malaysia last year and with more people suffering from neuro disorders like head trauma and stroke, it had become among the top five medical maladies in Malaysia.
He said that in 2001, a total of 4,653 neurosurgeries were performed at public hospitals with 50 per cent at the Kuala Lumpur Hospital while another 2,500 neurosurgeries were performed at private hospitals.
“The interesting fact is that all these surgeries were carried out only by 39 neurosurgeon in the country,” he added.
Najib said the government was looking into this matter seriously as it was the government’s vision to provide better healthcare at a reasonable price to the people.
Thus, the challenge for ANC was to provide quality specialised services in the field of neurology at an affordable price without compromising its quality of service and at the same time upholding its philosophy of being a patient-centric hospital, he said.
At the function, Najib presented two cheques for RM64,000 from donors to two neuro patients, Leow Cin Dee, 14, and Siti Rashidah Mohamed, Samin, 12, for the purchase of medical equipment.
Leow suffers from intractable epilepsy, a neuro disorder contracted at the age of four, while Siti Rashidah recently had a spinal cord tumour removed, and now requires a cervical implant for support.

War Against Aedes Launched In The Capital

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 5:55 am

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 27 (Bernama) — An all out war against dengue was Launched, here Thursday to rid the capital of the deadly disease.
The Federal Territory Ministry and City Hall have joined forces for a gigantic effort to turn the city into a zero dengue area.
“We must go to every nook and corner to ensure that this war against the Aedes mosquito is successful,” Acting Federal territory Minister Datuk Shahrizat Abdul Jalil said after launching the anti-dengue campaign at the Federal Territory level in Kampung Keramat here.
Shahrizat said that Kuala Lumpur Mayor, Datuk Ruslin Hassan had given an assurance that he would take drastic action to fight the dengue menace, which was becoming increasingly serious.
“Dengue will not become an epidemic if each city dweller takes the initiative to clean his compound,” she said.
Shahrizat also said she would meet the Alam Flora management to obtain feedback on the latter’s achievement in cleaning up the city.
“I want to ensure Kuala Lumpur meets its status as a “world class city” and won’t tolerate any excuses,” she said.
Sharizat said 18,000 units of the Mosquito Larvae Trapping Device (MLTD) would be distributed in areas with the highest incidences of dengue here.
Kampung Keramat was the second worst hit area after Titiwangsa. So far this year 4,373 dengue and 329 haemorrhagic dengue cases had been reported throughout the country.
Those who wish to report dengue cases or other complaints on dengue can contact City Hall’s Health Department Hotline at 03-92857317 or 03-92006442.

October 27, 2005

PM: More R&D needed for cancer treatment

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 8:49 am

NST: More research is needed in health care, particularly in the prevention and treatment of cancer.
In making this call, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said such efforts would greatly benefit the poor, many of whom could not afford treatment for such illnesses.
“We must be able to create greater awareness of the dangers posed by cancer, which is increasingly threatening the lives of many Malaysians.
“Research and development would help reduce the cost of treatment for those in the lower-income groups, as foreign-produced medicines are expensive,” he told a congregation of Umno leaders after hosting a breaking of fast followed by tahlil prayers for his late wife Datin Seri Endon Mahmood at the Putra World Trade Centre.
He said non-governmental organisations and associations should also continue to promote Endon’s work in marketing Malaysian batik and songket.
He also lamented that accidents continued to kill many due to carelessness of drivers.
“In the old days, people feared going into the jungle because they might be attacked by tigers, but now people fear going on the roads,” he said.

Doctors Exempted From Several Levels Of PTK Exam

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 8:48 am

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 26 (Bernama) — The government has agreed in principle to exempt doctors and government medical specialists from sitting for several levels of the Competency Level Appraisal (PTK) examination, the Dewan Rakyat was told Wednesday.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Mustapa Mohamed said the decision was made after taking into consideration the grouses of the doctors following last year’s PTK where nearly all of them failed their first examination.
“Many (doctors) are not so interested to continue serving in the civil service if they are required to take the PTK examination which they feel is irrelevant to their work.
“The government is considering the doctors’ views because they are a special group,” Mustapa said when winding up the debate on the Supply Bill 2006 at the committee stage for his ministry.
He said the exemption would cover only some of the six levels of PTK that the doctors and medical specialists had to go through throughout their service.
“They are not given full exemption. Only a few levels are exempted and it is still under negotiation,” he said.

October 26, 2005

Sarawak To Launch Anti-Dengue Campaign Next Month

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 6:55 pm

KUCHING, Oct 26 (Bernama) — A massive anti-dengue campaign will be launched in Sarawak on Nov 13 in a bid to prevent a major outbreak in the state.
Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan said the campaign, to be named “Destroy Aedes Campaign”, was aimed, among others, at encouraging the people from all walks of life to act against dengue infection by actively destroying their breeding grounds.
“Based on the number of dengue cases in Sarawak, we are very worried as it had increased,” Dr Chan, who is also the state’s disaster relief and management committee chairman, told reporters after chairing the committee’s meeting to discuss the dengue and Avian Influenza problems.
He said that most of the cases were reported in the major urban towns like Kuching, Miri, Bintulu and Sibu, which accounted for 56.1 per cent of the total cases in Sarawak.
There was also an increasing trend of rural dengue, he said, adding that Sarikei Division was the worst affected with more than 20 cases reported.
There was a possibility that some of the cases were infected from other districts or states or other countries such as Indonesia but the number was small, he added.
He said that as of today there were seven dengue deaths involving five women and two men aged between 20 and 69.
“Based on the initial observation also, logging camps had been found to be a breeding ground for aedes mosquitoes, “he said.
On efforts to prevent an Avian Influenza outbreak in Sarawak, Dr Chan said security measures along the border between Kalimantan and Sarawak had been tightened.
Among the measures being implemented were restricting the movements of birds within the borders and banning the import of birds from countries that had confirmed cases.
He said the State Veterinary Services Department had been directed to conduct a mock exercise on suitable ways to destroy birds that had been confirmed to be infected by Avian Influenza.
“Every government agency will be involved in this exercise,” he said, adding that it would be done as soon as possible Despite the global fears, he gave an assurance that the situation was still under control and had been put under Level One category.
Level One category involves precautionary measures to prevent spreading from neighbouring countries while Level Two is the alarming stage which involves precautionary measures to prevent serious spreading within the country.

RM1 Million Worth Of Traditional Medicine Seized

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 6:54 pm

KOTA BAHARU, Oct 26 (Bernama) — RM1 million worth of traditional medicine was seized in several raids conducted by the Health Ministry’s Pharmaceutical Services Division here and in Pasir Mas, Tuesday.
The division’s deputy director Dr Ahmad Mahmud said the raids, conducted by a team of 60 pharmaceutical enforcement officers, were aimed at identifying premises selling medicine which were not registered by the ministry.
“A total of 177 types of items, mostly Malay traditional medicine and herbs, were seized during the raids.
“The biggest haul was from a factory which is believed to have been operating since more than five years ago in Kota Baharu,” he told a press conference at Pengkalan Chepa, here Wednesday.
He said those involved could be charged under the Sale of Drugs Act 1992 and if found guilty could be fined up to RM25,000 or imprisoned for not more than three years.
“The ministry had enforced the law on the registration of medicine since 1992 and there is no excuse for the factory not to register its products because registration can also be made through the website,” he added.
Dr Ahmad said consumers should realise the dangers in using medicine which were not approved by the ministry adding that those who wanted clarification on whether the products were approved by the ministry could do so at http://www.farmasi.gov.my

Donor’s heart valves saved for transplant

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 4:39 pm

NST: She died helping a friend who had been in an accident. But that was not her last good deed: Tan Hui Ying’s two heart valves have been salvaged for transplant.
The 23-year-old Standard Chartered financial executive died in a hospital in Subang Jaya today, after being knocked down by a van on the Kesas Highway at 3am yesterday.
Tan and several others were returning home in a convoy of several cars when one hit a guardrail and overturned.
After helping her friend out of the overturned car, Tan was crossing the highway when she was hit by a van.
Two others who were struck by the van are reported to be in stable condition.
Tan was carrying a donor card pledging her organs in the event of death.
Doctors failed to salvage her heart and lungs, but they did manage to retrieve her aortic and pulmonary heart valves. These were taken to the National Heart Institute, where they will be stored for future transplant.
At the wake in Pandamaran, her father Tan Chuan said he felt that Hui Ying was still alive.
“She is not dead yet. She is still alive. Only her body is gone but she lives on.”
Tan Chuan said his daughter had told her sister a few years ago that when she died she wanted to donate her heart.
The 60-year-old port supervisor said his daughter, the third of four children, was a cheerful person who loved to help people.
“She always said that if she donated her heart, she would still be around in somebody. I can picture her now, smiling happily because she managed to help someone,” he said.
A police spokesman said a statement from the 40-year-old driver of the van had been recorded.

PSD addressing scholars’ woes

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:56 am

Star: The living allowance for Public Services Department-sponsored students in India may be raised in view of the rising cost of living in the subcontinent.
The PSD said in a statement that it was negotiating with the Finance Ministry to increase the monthly allowance, currently set at 7,091 rupees (RM620) for its students in India.
It added that steps had been taken to address the problems identified by parents of PSD-sponsored students.
They claimed that the facilities and quality of teaching at Kasturba Medical College (KMC) in Mangalore were substandard.
Among the problems highlighted in a news report were that female students had to live above a mortuary, some students were served only rice and gravy for meals, and teaching methods were out-dated, with the use of chalk and blackboard.
“We are aware of the problems faced by the new PSD-sponsored students who arrived in KMC Mangalore in September.
“Follow-up action was taken and their accommodation and Internet problems have been resolved,” the statement continued.
KMC Mangalore is a private institution which is a constituent college under the Manipal Academy of Higher Education. Its medical degree is recognised by the Indian Medical Council as well as the Malaysian Government.
There are currently 50 PSD-sponsored students at the college.
The PSD said that KMC Mangalore had also taken “appropriate steps” to deal with other problems such as the library, lecture rooms, sports and recreation facilities.
“We have received feedback that the students have adjusted to the learning environment and living conditions.
“The PSD is satisfied with the student placement and quality of learning at KMC Mangalore. However, we will continue to work with the college to continuously improve on the facilities required by students,” the statement said.
PSD would also continuously monitor the situation to ensure that the needs of sponsored students were taken care of according to the agreement signed by both parties.
“With the measures taken by KMC Mangalore and PSD’s efforts in looking after the welfare of students, the department is confident that the students will be able to follow their studies successfully.”
KMC Mangalore dean Dr C.V. Raghuveer could not be reached for comment.

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