Materia Medica Malaysiana

March 31, 2006

Authorities blamed for lack of info on AIDS

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:30 am

NST: Felda Palong Timur Satu folk want the authorities to do more to keep them informed of the deadly HIV/AIDS disease.
HIV patient Norizan Ismail, 46, who allegedly contracted HIV through a blood transfusion at Segamat district hospital and died last Friday at Kuala Lumpur Hospital, was neither the first nor the only HIV case in the Felda settlement.
There were others, mainly hard-core drug addicts, who had been infected with HIV.
Sadly, unlike dengue campaigns, the kampung folk were not given adequate exposure with regard to information on AIDS and HIV.
Housewife Siti Murni Mustaji, 44, Norizan’s neighbour, said the authorities had never held any AIDS campaign or briefing to inform them of the deadly virus.
"What little we knew on AIDS was gathered from television and radio campaigns. The authorities should come down here to inform us what the disease is all about," she said.
Siti Murni said Norizan had concealed her condition for about four years, and the neighbours only learned about it from the newspapers.
"It was heart-wrenching. Norizan stayed at her sister’s place when her plight was published in the newspapers. She stayed away because she feared she would be an outcast here," she said.
"Most of us knew that HIV cannot be spread by touch, so when she finally came home, we welcomed and hugged her."
Siti Murni said the authorities should organise talks to educate them on the dangers of the disease.
"In general we were not squeamish about holding or being near her, but there were grey areas as how to handle the situation, to care for the patient and so on. If only we knew more, we could have offered Norizan more than just sympathy.
"If the Health Department or the local council could visit to inform us on dengue, why not AIDS? We need to know about it as well," she said.
Norizan had a transfusion of 11 pints of blood on July 17, 2001 after an emergency Caesarean section when she was seven months’ pregnant.
She was in a coma for a week and her baby only survived for 18 days.
A year later, two health officers went to her home and took samples of her blood as well as her husband’s. They confirmed that Norizan was HIV-positive and admitted that the last pint of blood was tainted with the virus.
None of her children, nor her husband, was infected.
Norizan’s husband, Ruslee Mansor, 49, said the residents were supportive in many ways and he was grateful to them, but not to the authorities when it came to educating the people about HIV and AIDS.
He said the advertisements on radio and television were too simplistic and vague.
"When one is facing the reality of the situation, information becomes crucial and the whole community needs to understand what can and should be done," he said.
Siti Marzerin, 23, daughter of the deceased, said the neighbours and the community had never looked down on her family or her late mother.
"They had been very helpful and sympathetic to our condition. When mother was ill, they helped look after my younger siblings and other household chores. They have been good and caring neighbours and my family truly appreciates it," she said.

Visit fails to dampen resolve

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:28 am

Star: KLANG: The doctors were too busy to eat.
Angry-looking patients crowded waiting areas, sick babies wailed after vomiting sour clumps of milk and the stench of a decomposed body filled the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital mortuary.
This was the reality check for a group of bright students who had applied for government scholarships to do medicine overseas.
They were at the hospital for the compulsory Program Pendedahan Kerjaya Seorang Doktor (Doctor Occupation Exposure Programme) before being called for an interview by the Public Services Department.
Were they affected by the blood, gore and pain so routine to doctors and other medical staff?
Some would-be medical students looked bewildered and others tried hard not to let their surprise show too much. But few were dissuaded from becoming a doctor.
“Blood does not scare me. It is understandable that the patients are grouchy because they are in pain. Bodies are all right, I said a prayer for the departed souls before entering the mortuary,” said Lau Ron Hsien, 17, from Kota Kemuning in Shah Alam.
“I still want to be a doctor, I want to heal,” said Ron Hsien who scored 10 A1s and 1A2 in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination.
Ron Hsien, who was a member of St John’s Ambulance in his school SMK USJ 13, has seen his fair share of blood and dislocated joints.
He wants to be a doctor and find a cure for cancer, a disease that killed his grandmother when he was eight years old.
Nadiah Mohd Sukree, 17, was also inspired to be a doctor after losing a loved one.
Her brother Ahmad Hakimi died of heart failure when he was only four months old.
“I want to be a cardiologist and am dedicating this medical journey to him,” said the SPM scorer from Kapar with 9A1s and 1B3 to her credit.
Yeoh Chen Lee, 18, from Klang, who scored 11A1s in the SPM, said not all bright students wanted to be doctors.
“Some of my clever friends want to be businessmen and earn lots of money. Others want to be accountants or engineers,” he said.
“I know it takes a lot of hard work and sacrifice to be a doctor but I really feel good about being able to heal.”

Malaysia May Be Declared Free Of Bird Flu In A Few Weeks

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:27 am

KUALA LUMPUR, March 30 (Bernama) — Malaysia is expected to be declared free of bird flu in a few weeks as no fresh cases of the disease have been reported in recent days, Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said Thursday.
"We are conducting active surveillance in Perak and in Setapak and Gombak (in Selangor) and have been getting negative results while routine inspection is going on in all states," he told reporters after attending an international discourse series organised by the Nurul Yaqeen Foundation in Wangsa Maju near here.
He said he hoped that the sale of chicken would improve after demand dropped following the outbreak of the disease and despite calls by the government that cooked chicken was safe to eat.
Muhyiddin also said that Singapore was reconsidering importing chickens from Selangor after imposing a ban following the bird flu cases in Gombak and Setapak.
" … but we will wait for a month before exporting to Singapore to ensure that there are no more outbreaks in the other states. Singapore does not prohibit import of chicken from Johor, Melaka and Negeri Sembilan," he said.
Muhyiddin said the ministry would adhere to the procedure of culling birds in the event of an outbreak of bird flu though it was seen as cruel because it was the best way to check the spread of the disease.
Scientists, industry experts and researchers were of the opinion that use of vaccine would not be able to check the spread of the disease, he said.
"The vaccine does not guarantee that the virus can be destroyed and it can remain in the meat and endanger humans," he said.
Muhyiddin also said that the Ninth Malaysia Plan (2006-2010) to be tabled in Parliament tomorrow would incorporate preventive measures against diseases as agriculture and plantations would develop into major industries.
For example, he said, RM500 million was being allocated to fight the foot-and-mouth disease that attacked cattle and it included getting expertise from Australia.

HFMD: Kindergartens In Sarawak Reopens Next Monday

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:27 am

KUCHING, March 30 (Bernama) — All kindergartens, day-care centres and pre-schools in Sarawak will be re-opened starting Monday following indications of a decline in the hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) cases in Sarawak.
Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan said, however, they must improve the hygiene of their premises.
"It's a downward trend now. We are definitely getting over the worst of HFMD outbreak. Therefore we can let the kindergartens, day-care centres and pre-schools to be re-opened on Monday, April 3," he told reporters after giving the daily updates on the HFMD outbreak in Sarawak.
A total of 488 kindergartens and day-care centres and 534 pre-schools were ordered shut down early this month by the Health Ministry after children below the age of four found to have contracted the deadly Enterovirus 71 (EV71).
Eight deaths linked to HFMD were reported so far with three cases confirmed due to EV71 while the remaining ones are still under investigations.
He said, the operators are to be provided with a flow chart on how to detect HFMD cases at their premises and if any symptoms were found they must inform the parents to take their children to a doctor and notify the nearest health office.
Dr Chan said if two or more infections detected within seven days, the Health Department would serve a closure order for two weeks.
He said the classes may start by having hand washing demo and health messages.
The Health Department would keep a close watch especially on the 37 kindergartens that closed before the general order on the March 3.
Dr Chan, who is also the State Disaster and Relief Management Committee chairman said 163 new cases of suspected HFMD were detected over the last 24 hours, including 30 cases in Sarikei, Miri (25), Sibu (20), Mukah (19), Kapit (15), Kuching (14) and the rest are from other towns.
He said 28 or 17.2 percent of the new cases were detected through Active Cases Detection.
Up to now, 7,359 children had been infected, with 25 new admissions and 53 patients still warded and none in critical condition.

March 30, 2006

Foreigners Account For 30 Per Cent Of TB Cases

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 2:04 pm

KUALA LUMPUR, March 30 (Bernama) — Foreigners account for about 30 per cent of tuberculosis (TB) cases in the country which totalled 15,170 last year.
Dr Fuad Hashim, principal assistant director of the TB/Leprosy Control Unit in the Infectious Diseases Control Branch of the Health Ministry, said most of the infected foreigners came from Indonesia and the Philippines, which are classified as TB "high burden countries" by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
He said the government now required compulsory screening of foreign workers for TB before they were given work permits to check the spread of the disease in the country by foreigners.
Dr Fuad said people suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney problems risked being infected by TB.
Patients who took steroids for a long period and the elderly were also prone to the disease, he added.
Dr Fuad said the occurrence of TB also mirrored the trend in cases of HIV/AIDS which weakened the body resistance of patients.
In 2004, he said, 1,263 of the 15,429 TB patients were found to have HIV/AIDS.
According to him, since the screening of TB patients for HIV/AIDS began in 1990, the number of TB patients found also to have HIV/AIDS had been rising yearly.
Dr Fuad said Malaysia is classified by WHO as a TB "intermediate burden" country.
Besides Indonesia and the Philippines, the other Asean countries in the "high burden" category are Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar and Thailand.
In Malaysia, Sabah has the highest incidence of TB while the Federal Territory of Labuan has the lowest.
Malaysia will observe National TB Day early next month.

1,800 PSD applicants to get taste of life as a doc

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 2:03 pm

Star: KUALA LUMPUR: More than 1,800 Public Services Department (PSD) medical scholarship applicants got a taste of life as a doctor in 46 hospitals nationwide.
During the three-day course starting yesterday, they would be shown the gory and less glamorous side of being a doctor.
In his welcome speech, KL Hospital director Dr Azmi Shafie told some 200 students that a doctor had to make a lot of sacrifices.
“A doctor’s day is filled with sweet, sour, good and bad experiences. It is not as glamorous as reflected in the movies. In real life, a doctor has to be tolerant, patient and responsible to his patients. He has to gain the trust of his patients, and his bedside manners can make a lot of difference in their recovery.”
All medical scholarship hopefuls will now undergo a mandatory three-day course at hospitals, including visits to the mortuary and operating theatre.
The course will enable the students to know at the outset what being a doctor is all about.
Lam Lyn Ley, 17, said the course was good exposure for those who wanted to be doctors. “It gives us an idea of the daily challenges facing doctors. Those who are not cut out for the profession may give up and not apply for the scholarship.”
Ahmad Hafizi Rozimi, 18, said such a course would give them an in-depth knowledge of the career of a doctor.
P. Vikneswary, 17, said that although she was aware that a doctor’s life was not a rosy one, “seeing is believing”.
“I hope to be motivated by this three-day course,” she added.
Most of the students said that although they were not guaranteed a scholarship, the stint would still be beneficial as most of them would be studying medicine.

March 29, 2006

13 HFMD Cases Detected In N. Sembilan, Hospitals On Alert

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 10:36 pm

SEREMBAN, March 29 (Bernama) — Thirteen cases of the hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) were detected in Negeri Sembilan from January to last Monday, said State Health Director Datuk Dr Rosnah Ismail.
She said nine were detected in Seremban, three in Jempol and one in Tampin.
The situation was not alarming unlike in Sarawak but all hospitals, medical centres and government clinics statewide had been told to be on alert, she told Bernama, here Wednesday.
"So far, no child care centres and kindergartens have been ordered to close because the situation is under control," she said.
She advised all crèches to ensure cleanliness of their premises.
The disease is caused by virus that can be found in children's excrement and can be infectious, she said.
Dr Rosnah also advised the public to immediately send their children for treatment if they showed symptoms of HFMD like having fever and rashes.
As of last Sunday, Sarawak recorded 6,718 HFMD cases including eight deaths since it was detected in Sibu last month.

New Regulations On Clinical Waste Disposal

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 10:36 pm

KUALA LUMPUR, March 29 (Bernama) — The Health Ministry is planning to gazette the "Private Health Care and Facilities Regulations" soon to ensure clinical waste from private clinics and hospitals are disposed according to prescribed guidelines.
The Ministry's Parliamentary Secretary Datuk Lee Kah Choon said it would be gazetted within a month or two and meant to tighten control over clinical waste disposal by private clinics and hospitals.
Lee was replying to Razali Ibrahim (BN-Muar) at the Dewan Rakyat Wednesday.
To the original question from Dr James Dawos Mamit (BN-Mambong), Lee said waste processing facilities owned by concession holders outside the government hospital premises could be utilised by the private clinics and hospitals to dispose clinical waste.
He said up to now three concession holders — Faber Mediserve Sdn. Bhd., Radicare (M) Sdn. Bhd. and Pantai Medivest Sdn. Bhd. — had been appointed by the ministry to handle clinical waste.

DrM: Malaysia needs to train scientists for biotechnology

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 12:01 pm

Sun2Surf:KUALA LUMPUR: To achieve its goal to develop a biotechnology industry, Malaysia would need to train the relevant scientists, knowledge workers and find its own niche, said former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Government support and the output of qualified scientists trained in molecular science are absolutely essential, he said in his speech read out by Tan Sri Law Hieng Ding, the organising committee chairman of The 2006 Biotechnology Symposium – Developing Medical Biotechnology in Malaysia at Istana Hotel here yesterday (March 28, 2006).
Mahathir said biotechnology is expected to be a new base for industry and trade with great potential for wealth creation.
"But it is not the source of raw material that will do this. It is knowledge regarding the character and the molecular structure, the reaction of the complex molecules involved that will determine the worth of the new industries biotechnology will generate," he said.
Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Datuk Seri Dr Jamaludin Datuk Mohd Jarjis, who was also not present at the launch and whose speech was read out by his representative Datuk Suriah Abdul Rahman, said Malaysia has the opportunity to capture 0.4% of the worldÕs biotechnology market by 2010, based on the natural bioresources and strengths available in the country.
These include strong government support, excellent infrastructure for transport, communication and ICT, close government-industry collaboration and an established basic foundation in biotechnology, he said.


Sharp rise in HFM cases detected in Sarawak

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 11:59 am

The Star KUCHING: A three-fold increase in cases of hand, foot and mouth (HFM) disease was detected when primary schools re-opened on Monday.
The big jump in cases was attributed to the active detection exercise carried out by health teams at schools that were closed since the second-term holidays.
There were 235 cases yesterday, up from 75 on Monday.
Sarikei had 48 cases, followed by Miri (43), Samarahan (33), Kuching (26), Sibu and Limbang (21 each).
“Fifty-one of the 235 new cases were detected by the health teams,” said Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan Hong Nam.
He said there were 25 new admissions to hospitals yesterday and that 77 children were still warded across the state.
A school in Julal district was closed after seven pupils were found to have been infected.

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