Materia Medica Malaysiana

January 28, 2006

NKF’s health screening for RM2

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 8:26 am

Malay Mail: Early screening for kidney diseases saves lives.
The National Kidney Foundation of Malaysia (NKF) urges Malaysians to take precautions against kidney disease by registering for its health screening programme.
The nationwide health screening programme will begin on Feb 19.
It will be held on every first and third Sunday of the month in NKF’s 19 dialysis centres around the country.
Screening costs RM2 and is from 8am to noon.
Hospital Kuala Lumpur (KLH) consultant nephrologist and NKF nephrology department head Dr Zaki Morad Mohd Zaher said: “Our focus is on prevention rather than cure.
“Many patients come to us when they have reached the critical phase, that is kidney failure.
“They have to undergo kidney transplants, or haemodialysis treatment 13 times a month and four hours per session, in order to survive.”
He said the screening includes urine, blood pressure and glucose level tests.
Those who are diagnosed with high blood pressure and diabetes are strongly advised to go for screening as they risk developing kidney ailments.
He said statistics have shown that eight per cent of Malaysians have been diagnosed with diabetes, and 30 per cent of adult Malaysians have high blood pressure.
Senior citizens aged 60 and above form the bulk of kidney patients.
He said 100 in a million Malaysians suffer from terminal kidney failure every year, and this means, an additional 2,500 people require haemodialysis treatment.
NKF board of managers chairman Dr S. S. Gill said: “If signs of kidney disease are detected, NKF will recommend that the patient undergo medical check-ups for further treatment.
“Early detection saves lives.”
The NKF public education unit organised a seminar in November last year to acquaint its staff nurses at the 19 centres with proper procedures in caring for kidney patients.
NKF chief executive officer Goh Seng Chuan said they also launched a nephrology affiliation scheme two years ago, in which 11 nephrologists from Government hospitals assisted the dialysis centres.
There are 54 nephrologists in Malaysia.
Goh said: “They review the condition of kidney patients once in six weeks.”
From Feb 1, NKF will increase subsidies to kidney patients by RM10. This means, dialysis treatment will be reduced from RM60 to RM50.
Goh was speaking at the NKF secretariat in here.
Also present was NKF second vice chairman Dr Tan Chwee Choon.
Goh said NKF will be opening two more dialysis centres next month in Kota Baru, Kelantan and Jalan Meru, Klang.
For further details, call 03-70549048 or logon to http://www.nkf.org.my

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January 27, 2006

Kidney disease screening for RM2

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:26 am

NST: For a mere RM2, you can find out if you have symptoms of kidney disease.
The National Kidney Foundation of Malaysia (NKF) is offering health screening services at its 19 dialysis centres from Feb 19.
The public can have the tests done on the first and third Sunday. In the east coast States, it will be done every alternate Friday, from 8am to noon.
NKF board of managers chairman Dr S.S. Gill said today: "It is advisable to do a health screening as many people are unaware that their kidneys are damaged until they have a medical examination."
There are over 12,000 people on dialysis at 320 haemodialysis centres nationwide.
According to Dr Gill, each year, an additional 2,500 Malaysians require haemodialysis treatment or face death unless they undergo a kidney transplant.
NKF vice-chairman Datuk Dr Zaki Morad Zaher, who is also the Health Ministry’s consultant nephrologist, said diabetes mellitus and hypertension were now the leading causes of kidney failure in the country.
"One-third of diabetics will develop kidney disease," he said at the launch of the health-screening campaign at NKF headquarters.
He said kidney stones and urinary tract infections could also lead to kidney failure. Another factor is family history.
"The number of Malaysians suffering from end-stage renal failure increased more than 56-fold between 1980 and now — from 43 in 1980 to 12,000," he added.

Penang hospitals cash in

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:24 am

Star: PENANG: Private hospitals here are fast tapping into the growing multi-million ringgit health tourism that is bringing in hordes of foreigners, especially from Medan, to the island’s shores.
Some 10,000 foreign patients checked into hospitals in the state and spent an estimated RM100mil last year.
Penang received 70% of the RM150mil generated from health tourism nationwide in 2004, followed by Malacca, which received 20%, and other states, according to the Penang Health Group.
Penang Health Group, set up early last year to coordinate promotional efforts to woo foreign patients to the state, comprises seven private hospitals.
The flip side of the boom in business is that the agents bringing in foreign patients are said to be calling the shots.
These agents, said industry officials, were so powerful they could set the number of patients for a particular hospital.
It was no longer important whether a doctor was very good or a hospital had the best equipment, he said.
Although it is no secret that hospitals pay commissions to agents, most interviewed denied any links with the agents to get business.
Penang Health Group chairman Dr Chan Kok Ewe, who is also the chief executive officer of a hospital on the island, said health tourism was emerging as a big industry in the state but it was being promoted in a healthy manner.
“We do have agents arranging for foreigners to go to our hospitals but it has always been a healthy arrangement,” he said, adding that health tourism revenue in Penang went up by 20% last year.
Foreign patients, mostly from Medan, come here for various kinds of operations, including treatment for heart ailments and cancer.
Dr Chan said Singapore used to be popular with Indonesian patients but they started coming to Penang as the costs were cheaper and the quality of medical service was just as good.
Malaysian Association of Private Hospitals vice-president Datuk Teddric J. Morr, who is also president of a well known hospital here, said there have been no complaints against the agents so far.
“It will be a surprise to me if agents call the shots. As far as I know, we are not into buying patients.
“It has always been healthy competition as far as health tourism is concerned.”
Khor Thean Heng, the marketing director of a hospital here said it did not rely on agents for foreign patients.
The hospital handled about 15,000 patients last year, of whom about 30% were foreigners, he added.
An official of another hospital which handles about 15,000 outpatients yearly, said 15% were foreigners.
Promotion was done through medical talks and by word of mouth only, said the official.
State Tourism Development and Environment committee chairman Teng Chang Yeow said Penang Health Group, which operates independently, was started by the State Tourism Council and its members promoted the state as a whole and refrained from promoting a particular hospital.
Although there has been no complaint against the agents, the authorities are monitoring the situation, he added.
A Malaysia Airlines official said that health tourism in the state was set to grow further with more daily direct flights from Medan to Penang.

January 26, 2006

DPM Wants Health Ministry To Manage Medical Aid Fund

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 7:58 pm

PUTRAJAYA, 26 Jan (Bernama) — Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak wants the Health Ministry to continue to manage the Medical Aid Fund (MAF).
Health Minister Datuk Chua Soi Lek said this was expressed by the Deputy Prime Minister after listening to the explanation by the ministry on the alleged bureaucratic red-tapes which made it difficult for applicants to benefit from the fund.
Dr Chua said he met Najib on Jan 20 to clarify the matter.
“The Deputy Prime Minister accepted our explanation and he was satisfied with the procedures that were carried out. And he said that the Health Ministry, which has been entrusted to manage the fund, will continue to do the job,” he told Bernama.
Dr Chua said the ministry had taken steps to reduce what were regarded by some quarters as bureaucratic red-tapes to the extent that it had been able to approve applications for assistance under the fund within 10 to 14 days, as was the case involving 416 patients who applied for it last year.
“But there were cases which we cannot approve and these were the ones which had been made the basis for the complaints lodged,” he added.
Among the reasons for the applications not being approved, he said, was due to incomplete application forms that were submitted.
Dr Chua said the setting up of the fund reflected the government’s concern for the poor and should not be politicised for any ulterior motives or agenda.
The controversy over MAF cropped-up following complaints by several individuals of difficulties in getting assistance from the fund so much so that some patients died.
Dr Chua said 416 patients received aid totalling RM6.6 million under the MAF last year.
He said the fund had been allocated RM100 million and that it had so far received RM25 million.
He also said there were certain conditions which applicants had to fulfil before their applications could be approved.
Among the conditions are that the applicant must be a Malaysian, from poor background which has to be verified by the Medical Social Workers or the Welfare Department, patients refered by government hospitals and the handicapped who are registered with the Welfare Department.
The application form could be obtained at all government hospitals, the Welfare Department and also at the MAF Secretariat at the Finance Ministry, Putrajaya.

Health Minister sets the record straight: RM15,000 was set aside for op

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 7:55 pm

Malay Mail: Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek is puzzled why the Ministry’s approval to subsidise the cost of the heart surgery of a taxi driver’s son was not conveyed to the cabbie.
The Ministry’s Finance Division had approved RM15,000 for the cost of the heart operation for S. Maniam’s 18-month-old son on Jan 19.
The operation, costing RM18,000, is scheduled to take place on March 28 at Institut Jantung Negara (IJN).
The Maniam family has to top up the remaining RM3,000 for the operation, as far as the Ministry is concerned.
Asked why news of the approval was not conveyed to the patient’s family, Dr Chua said he did not know.
“That one (the approval to subsidise the operation’s costs), I don’t know. But the money is there,” said Dr Chua yesterday.
He was responding to a front-page story in The Malay Mail yesterday that Maniam was denied aid by the Ministry in Putrajaya when he approached them on Jan 18.
Maniam said the officer who attended to him said he should seek help from other sources as the Ministry’s fund was meant only for “poor people”.
Maniam went to the Ministry after reading in Malay and Tamil dailies that the Ministry’s health fund has some RM18 million meant for critical illnesses still unutilised.
The Puchong resident was quoted as saying: “While the officer concurred with what the Minister said, he insisted that I look for help from other sources.”
However, the officer did not tell him where to seek help but maintained he was at the wrong place.
Maniam told the officer that he had spent more than RM110 at Putrajaya Hospital and about RM400 at IJN for his son’s X-rays and check-ups.
The officer rudely questioned his plan to take his son to IJN instead of a Government hospital.
Maniam explained that it was the choice of the doctors at Putrajaya Hospital.
Meanwhile, Dr Chua said the problem of insufficient funds to meet the medical bill should be resolved within the hospital itself.
“(Such matters should) always start from where the (patients) came from. Patients should always go back to hospitals. There, social workers, officers and staff are available and patients should ask them for help instead.
“Hospitals should not send patients running around in circles,” he said.
He also said the Ministry is not the place for patients to seek financial aid, as it will not know the nature of the case.
Dr Chua said there could have been a “breakdown in communication” as there were not many non-Malays who were conversant in Bahasa Malaysia.
“You people should get both sides of the story. You just listened to one side of the story which is not true,” he said.
When contacted, Maniam reiterated that during his visit to IJN on Jan 16, the staff did not inform him that his son’s operation was going to be subsidised.
“They did not tell me that I will receive help, except to ask for my Employees Provident Fund’s savings statement,” he said.
The Ministry has allocated RM205 million for medical treatment for Government staff, Government retirees and to subsidise the expenses of poor patients at IJN.

Suit by 30 against UM struck out

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 11:01 am

NST: The High Court today struck out a suit against Universiti Malaya filed by 30 medical students from unscheduled universities.
The decision was made in chambers by judge Datuk Mohd Hishammuddin Mohd Yunus, who also ordered costs.
The graduates, led by Dr V. Vijaya Kumar, had named the Malaysian Medical Council, the Health Minister, Universiti Malaya, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and Universiti Sains Malaysia as defendants.
On Dec 30, senior assistant registrar Raja Noor Adilla Raja Mahyaldi struck out the graduates suit against USM.
The graduates claimed they had been denied their constitutional right to practise medicine in Malaysia, and had been wrongfully compelled to sit an exam at the university before being allowed to practice.
They alleged the university practised double standards in assessing them and utilised examination-marking criteria prejudicial to them.
The graduates sought declarations that:
• they be allowed to practise as doctors;
• the examination results announced by UM, UKM and USM were unjust; and,
• UM, USM and UKM should award them certificates and damages.
Universiti Malaya, represented by counsels Su Tiang Joo and Teh Eng Lay, filed a statement of defence saying the court had no jurisdiction to adjudicate the plaintiff’s claim and was not the proper forum to determine the merits of the graduates.

Makna loans in the offing

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 11:00 am

NST: Families of cancer patients will soon be able to apply to the National Cancer Council (Makna) for loans to start small businesses.
The council is working with several organisations to provide interest-free loans of at least RM2,000 for families who have lost incomes when a member is afflicted by cancer.
Makna marketing manager Zawahir Abdullah said the facility would be launched this year.
“This is our latest project and we are still in talks with other organisations to provide such loans.
“We want to help these families generate a regular income by setting up a business,” he said at the National Library today during a Makna talk on cancer.
Makna’s outreach programme facilitator Habiba Abd Rahman, a former nursing trainer with the Health Ministry, said cancer, currently the nation’s second killer disease, could affect one in four people in the next four years.
Habiba said the situation could worsen because of increasingly stressful lifestyles.
Makna was set up in 1993 as a non-profit organisation funded by public donations.

Lecturers face new hurdle to promotion

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 10:59 am

Star: PUTRAJAYA: University lecturers hoping to be promoted will now have to clear an extra hurdle.
Besides having to be confirmed in their posts and pass the Efficiency Level Assessment test, they now have to achieve a “standard of academic excellence” fixed by the university’s board of directors.
This requirement is effective Jan 1.
According to a circular issued by the Public Services Department, both the Higher Education Ministry and the universities will work together to set the criteria for the standard.
Universiti Malaya Academic Staff Association secretary Rosli Omar welcomed the move.
“There has been dissatisfaction among academicians in previous promotion exercises where there were no clear guidelines on the requirement for promotion,” he said.
Rosli however said that the association would continue to call for the Efficiency Level Assessment to be removed as one of the basis for promotion.

January 25, 2006

Review haemodialysis allocation, Socso told

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:28 am

NST: Socso has been asked to review benefits for haemodialysis treatment of its members, as the current RM500 allocation is insufficient, said Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Dr Fong Chan Onn.
He said Socso beneficiaries suffering renal failure would continue to get free haemodialysis treatment, with Socso paying the RM500 directly to dialysis centres to help cover equipment costs, as well as patients’ out-of-pocket expenses such as transportation costs.
The allocation does not include the fixed RM110 rate for haemodialysis treatment, which is also borne by Socso.
Fong said he had asked Socso to consider increasing the RM500 allocation as it may not be enough to cover the additional costs incurred by treatment centres and patients.
There are 157 haemodialysis centres nationwide affiliated with Socso. To date, 2,600 Socso members have benefited from the treatment scheme.
Fong today handed over 23 haemodialysis machines worth RM876,000 to 12 centres to be deployed nationwide. He also gave out compensation amounting to more than RM1 million to 40 benefactors under various Socso schemes.
Socso has also stepped up enforcement to ensure that employers register their workers.
Until last year, 576,244 employers were registered with Socso, of whom 348,000 were active contributors.
Fong said Socso collected an average of RM1.5 billion a year and had an accumulated amount of RM13 billion, with 4.8 million active employees subscribed to the scheme.

Residents may face malaria risk

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:25 am

Star: KUANTAN: With extensive clearing going on in parts of Bukit Pelindung over recent months, residents in this posh area may face the threat of a malaria outbreak.
The hill-clearing has created an environment conducive to the reproduction of the mosquito, A. maculatus, a malaria vector that breeds in open spaces on higher ground where there is direct sunlight and clear running water.
Resident Datuk Dr Yeow Seng Huat said the influx of foreign workers due to large housing projects in the area would increase the risk of such an outbreak and urged the authorities to take the necessary preventive measures.
“It’s a known fact that once all the requirements are met, nothing can really stop the disease from rearing its ugly head,” said the medical practitioner and former senator.
A senior Health Department staff member confirmed that hilly areas that had been cleared were the ideal breeding grounds for the mosquito.
“Foreign workers may very well be carriers of the disease,” he said, adding that the department might have inadvertently overlooked the possibility of an outbreak of malaria in urban areas.
Back in the 1960s and 1970s, the nearby Beserah area was a “malarial area”.
State deputy health director Dr Ahmad Nordin Mohd Jais, however, maintained that malaria cases had only been reported in interior areas in the state such as Lipis.
He said based on the fact that no reports of cases had been referred to the department from Kuantan, it was unlikely that an outbreak would occur.

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