Materia Medica Malaysiana

June 29, 2006

Hospitals urge public to change perception

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 10:04 am

Star: PENANG: The public tend to associate non-profit hospitals which provide cheaper medical care as sub-standard and patronised by those with lower social status.
Expressing concern, Mount Miriam Hospital chief executive officer Andy Wee said the public should dispel such a wrong perception.
“Mount Miriam is a non-profit hospital and we are among the country’s most comprehensive cancer care centres.
The perception that cheaper treatment was synonymous with sub-standard care was wrong, he said.
“We are currently the only hospital up north equipped with a Linear Accelerator radiation treatment machine.
“The machine alone costs about RM6mil, and within the next few months we will invest RM7mil more to upgrade our facilities and purchase a Stereo Static Radio Surgery treatment machine for the hospital,” he said in an interview yesterday.
He was asked to comment on Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek’s statement that the country’s non-profit hospitals were struggling to survive as the number of patients seeking treatment at such institutions was dropping drastically.
He said this was because of public perception that those who sought treatment there were of lower social status.
Penang Adventist Hospital, Mount Miriam and Lam Wah Ee Hospital are among the 12 non-profit hospitals in the country.
Wee said it had always been a struggle for non-profit hospitals to survive but Mount Miriam was fortunate as the public and non-governmental organisations had always contributed generously to the hospital.
Lam Wah Ee medical superintendent Yip Kok Thye said it might be true that most non-profit hospitals were struggling to stay afloat amidst rising costs but Lam Wah Ee actually recorded a 4% increase in the number of patients treated last year.
“As long as non-profit hospitals are able to provide the highest standard of care at affordable rates, Malaysians will be mature enough to value the service,” he said.

June 28, 2006

More Men Keen To Become Nurses

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 8:43 pm

KOTA BAHARU, June 28 (Bernama) — More men are keen to join the nursing profession, a career associated with for women, said Universiti Sains Malaysia Hospital (HUSM) acting director Dr Zaidun Kamari.
“When we opened up new intake for nurses, we received a lot of applications from men.
“In the last intake, we enlisted five males, and this year we are offering 10 places to them,” he told reporters after signing the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between HUSM and Murni Nursing College and Poly-Tech MARA College, here Wednesday.
Murni Nursing College was represented by its chief executive officer Ridwan Shoib and Poly-Tech MARA by Dr Ahmad Roslan Johari.
Also present was Universiti Sains Malaysia vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dzulkifli Abdul Razak.
Under the MoU, HUSM agrees to provide practical training to the nursing diploma students of both colleges for five years.
The students of both colleges are allowed to use the equipment and facilities at HUSM during their 10-week clinical training.
HUSM has also forged cooperation with Kolej Ugama Sultan Zainal Abidin, Universiti Institut Teknologi Mara, Kolej Teknologi Islam Melaka, Kolej Islam Selangor Darul Ehsan and the Perak Medical College.

Easier For MOs In Rural Areas To Further Studies

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 8:42 pm

KUALA LUMPUR, June 28 (Bernama) — Medical officers serving in rural areas would find it easier to go for post-graduate studies under incentives being considered by the government for officers posted to rural areas, the Dewan Rakyat was told Wednesday.
“We may give additional merit points for medical officers serving in rural areas who wish to further their studies,” said Deputy Minister of Health Datuk Dr Abdul Latiff Ahmad.
Replying to Raime Unggi (BN-Tenom), he said medical officers should discard the perception that it was difficult to live in the rural areas because the facilities there were being upgraded to match those in the urban areas.
Dr Abdul Latiff said the government was targeting a 1:600 ratio of medical officers to patients by 2015.

Number Of Smoking Women Jumps 100 Per Cent

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:13 am

KUALA LUMPUR, June 27 (Bernama) — The number of smoking Malaysian women jumped 100 per cent in 2003 compared to 1996, the Dewan Rakyat was told Tuesday.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Health Ministry Lee Kah Choon said 2003 saw an eight per cent growth in the number of women smokers compared with four per cent in 1996.
The statistics were based on the ministry’s second National Health Morbility survey in 1996 and a Universiti Putra Malaysia study in 2003.
The study also revealed that the increase in the number of women smokers was noted in both rural and urban areas.
Lee said the ministry had identified four factors, namely physiology, psychology, social and environment, to be the main influence that promoted the smoking habit among the feminine gender.
Replying to a question from Datuk Goh Siow Huat (BN-Rasah), Lee said the physiology factor influenced urban women to smoke as they thought the habit promoted weight loss.
“The psychology factor is linked to image, addictive and to overcome low self-esteem as the smokers isolated themselves and make cigarettes their companion,” Lee said.
He said a lot of women were also influenced by their peers and family members who smoke.
Lee said the tobacco companies’ aggressive promotional activities, including handing out free cigarettes and sponsoring sports carnivals, further worsened the situation.

Non-profit hospitals struggle to survive

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:12 am

Star: PUTRAJAYA: Non-profit hospitals are struggling to survive as the number of patients seeking treatment at such institutions is dropping drastically, Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek said.
He said patients were now turning away from such hospitals because people seeking treatment in these places were perceived to be of a lower social status.
This development is worrying those who have been relying on these hospitals.
“These hospitals are slowly closing down one by one or losing their definition as non-profit institutions,” he said in an interview yesterday.
There are about 12 non-profit hospitals in the country such as Penang Adventist Hospital, Mt Miriam Hospital and Lam Wah Ee Hospital in Penang, as well as Chinese Maternity Hospital and Tung Shin Hospital in Kuala Lumpur.
Although these hospitals depend on donations to subsidise operations, payment from patients were still needed to keep the hospital running.
They are exempted from paying the 28% corporate tax imposed on private hospitals.
Dr Chua said patients had the ultimate choice when it came to hospitals.
“Our patients tend to depend on branding even when it comes to hospitals. They don’t want to be associated as someone with lower status when they are sick,” he said.
Association of Private Hospitals vice-president Datuk Teddric J. Mohr said there were a lot of advantages which non-profit hospitals could bring to Malaysians.
“They can help out public hospitals,” he said.
He said in the United States, 80% of its hospitals were non-profit, compared with Malaysia where there were only 12.
“At the same time, we have 200 private hospitals here,” he said.
Mohr, who is Penang Adventist Hospital president, said that in the United States non-profit hospitals must collect 5% more than the bottom line, which they have to use to replace equipment so that they could keep themselves modern.
He said the hospital industry was very complex and extremely competitive and institutions have to face the constant challenge of having to keep up with new medical equipment and knowledge.
A spokesman for the Chinese Maternity Hospital said the Government did not provide any subsidy and because of this, it was unable to refurbish extensively.
“Our institution has very attractive packages but are unable to compete with other private hospitals. Our midwife delivery package is as low as RM388 while for consultants, it ranges from RM1,000 to RM2,000.
“If five-star private hospitals offer almost the same packages, patients would prefer to go there,” he said, adding that traffic along Jalan Pudu at certain periods of the day would also put some patients off.

June 27, 2006

Detecting defects their aim

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 11:51 am

NST: KUALA LUMPUR: The Damansara Women’s Specialist Centre has defended a method it uses to allow parents to choose the gender of their child.
“We would like to stress that our emphasis has always been on screening for chromosome abnormalities,” said group administrative director Wenddi- Anne Chong.
She said the centre’s pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) technology allowed for identification of an embryo’s gender in patients with sex-linked diseases, such as haemophilia (which afflicts males), and Down Syndrome.
“It also allows the determination of sex of the embryos, in particular, for conditions with a sex-linked disorder, so that only embryos of certain sex without inherited diseases are selected for transfer into the mother’s womb,” she said in a statement.
The New Sunday Times on June 24 reported the centre’s first PGD baby, 18-month-old boy Yau Tack being born to Wong Ngan Chui, 36.
Yesterday, Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek said “a tough Act” was being drawn up to prevent fertility clinics from using assisted reproductive technology to determine gender, physical or social characteristics in babies.
Chong said the PGD involved testing early-stage embryos for chromosomal abnormalities, so that only healthy embryos were selected for transfer into the mother’s womb.
The centre’s data showed that in Malaysia at least 30 per cent of the embryos of patients below 35 had chromosomal abnormalities.
This increased to 36.2 per cent for those aged 35 to 37, and over 50 per cent for women over 37.

Law to ban designer babies

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:33 am

Star: KUALA LUMPUR: The Government has said ‘no’ to designer babies. A new law, now being drafted, will forbid parents to choose the gender of their yet-to-be born child.
“To choose a baby based on its gender, the colour of its eyes or hair will not be allowed,” Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek told reporters at Parliament lobby yesterday.
“We are against people who want to determine the sex of their babies. This is unacceptable as it will cause serious socio-economic implications on society.”
Designer babies are those with specific physical, social or gender characteristics.
Under the new law, the Health Ministry has the power to stop fertility clinics which intend to carry out the so-called assisted reproductive technology (ART) involving pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) procedure for genetic testing and selection of embryos through in-vitro fertilisation.
There are about 30 of such clinics in the country.
The new law, however, allows gender selection only if the parents or their family members are afflicted with serious genetic conditions, such as haemophilia or Down Syndrome, which are usually associated with males.
Dr Chua clarified, however, that artificial insemination to help childless couples have a baby is not wrong.
He was commenting on a news report on the country’s first designer baby, who was born in December 2004 at a private medical centre.
The minister said the proposed legislation was based on guidelines agreed to by the Malaysian Medical Council on June 13
He said the guidelines stated that medical practitioners would not be permitted to select the sex of babies based on social reasons.
The ART guidelines also mentioned that it would be unethical to analyse and select: ·THE inherited characteristics of embryos (intelligence, height, hair and eye colour), and
·ANY social or psychological characteristics or conditions that are not associated with disability or a serious medical problem.
The guidelines added that PGD should only be used to avoid severe and life-threatening genetic diseases, which might affect the baby.
Dr Chua said when the law is implemented, offenders would be hauled up by the council.
He also said that the acceptable ratio of male to female population is 105:100.
“If people are allowed to choose males over females, this would create a social imbalance, like what is happening in China and parts of India,” he added.

Cadbury chocs in Malaysia safe

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:32 am

Star: KUALA LUMPUR: Cadbury chocolates sold in Malaysia are safe for consumption.
There is no need to worry as the seven types of Made-in-Britain Cadbury chocolates cited for possible salmonella contamination are not sold in Malaysia.
Managing director of Cadbury Confectionary (M) Sdn Bhd Blair Sailes said the seven types of chocolates were recalled in Singapore, Britain and Ireland.
The seven types are 250g Cadbury Dairy Milk Turkish; 250g Cadbury Dairy Milk Caramel; 250g Cadbury Dairy Milk Mint; Cadbury Dairy Milk 8 chunk; 1kg Cadbury Dairy Milk; 105g Cadbury Dairy Milk Button Easter Egg; and Cadbury Freddo 10 pence.
“The Cadbury chocolates here are 100% safe. They are not affected at all by the salmonella contamination,” he said.
He said 90% of the Cadbury chocolates sold in the country were made locally using only local ingredients, while the other 10% were imported from Australia and New Zealand.
“None of the Cadbury chocolates here are imported from Britain,” he said yesterday.
Health Minister Datuk Chua Soi Lek had said his officers had been alerted to check on the chocolate products to ascertain whether any were imported from Britain.

Noh: Need to spice up anti-drug campaigns

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:29 am

Star: MARAN: Anti-drug awareness campaigns should no longer be confined to cosy conference and seminar rooms but conducted in open spaces with plenty of activities, Deputy Education Minister Datuk Noh Omar said.
He said the conventional way of holding forums and seminars in hotels, lasting half a day, had been ineffective and should be discontinued.
“There should be more activities involved, such as sports, entertainment, exhibitions and demonstrations,” he told reporters yesterday at a state-level anti-drug campaign launched by Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob at the Bandar Jengka mini stadium here.
“The aim is to get many people under one roof and spread the anti-drug message.”
Citing the three-day event which ended yesterday that included a motor-cross show as an example, Noh said it attracted different types of crowds daily.
Noh, also the Umno anti-drug bureau chairman, said the new approach was more practical and had a chance to succeed.
He said the ministry would continue to hold anti-drug awareness campaigns among students, similar to motivation camps aimed at improving their studies.
“We hope students will be able to get a balanced guide on how to get good grades and not get involved in drugs. What is the point of achieving good grades when addicted to drugs?”
Noh also urged parents whose children had undergone treatment and rehabilitation to give them a second chance, so as to prevent them from returning to their old habits. Many who kicked the habit became addicts again because family members turned their backs on them, he said.
“They had no place to go to and returned to their old friends, continuing to indulge in unhealthy activities,” he added.
“Family support is very crucial to help them get back on the right track.”
Noh said the ministry had also instructed all schools to include anti-drug messages in their speeches during assemblies.
He said anti-drug campaigns would be more effective with the public’s cooperation, as it would be an uphill task if left entirely to the Government and relevant agencies.
“This problem is of national proportions, affecting everyone regardless of age, education level and political belief,” he said.
Adnan, in his speech, lauded the efforts of volunteers from non-governmental organisations such as the Drop-In-Centre, whose members are mainly former drug addicts.
He said they had worked tirelessly with the state government by holding talks and sharing their past experiences with the public in the hope of creating awareness of the bad effects of drug addiction.

No plan to give free Hepatitis vaccination

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:28 am

Star: THE Health Ministry has no plan to provide free Hepatitis B vaccination to those born before 1989, who are believed to be prone to liver cirrhosis.
Utusan Malaysia reported that Deputy Health Minister Datuk Dr Latiff Ahmad said there was no guarantee the vaccine could prevent the disease among that category of people.
Dr Latiff said the ministry did not intend to provide free vaccination as it would not be effective for that group of people, given their lifestyle, eating habits, smoking, alcohol consumption and age.
He was commenting on the statement by Liver Foundation president Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican, who said those born before 1989 were prone to the illness.

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