Materia Medica Malaysiana

February 8, 2007

More heart centres on the cards

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:50 am

NST: KUALA LUMPUR: People suffering from diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol are costing the government RM300 million a year.
This is the tab for the drugs given free at government hospitals.
What was more worrying, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek, was that many of these people also suffered from coronary heart diseases.
One in three Malaysians, aged 30 and above, suffers from hypertension. Three million people have high cholesterol and another 2.1 million have diabetes.
Malaysia also has the most overweight and obese people in Asia at 25 per cent of the population.
Every day, about 110 Malaysians suffer a stroke, the country’s third killer after cancer and heart attack.
Dr Chua said heart medicine would be a critical sector for preserving the economic and social well-being of the country in years to come.
He said Malaysia and the rest of Asia would need more cardiac centres and physical infrastructure as well as skilled people to man them.
His ministry now had seven cardiac centres, among them were those in Kuala Lumpur Hospital, National Heart Institute, Penang, Johor and Kuching hospitals.
There are plans to set up heart institutes in Ipoh, Alor Star and Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kota Kinabalu under the Ninth Malaysia Plan.
“Our problem is not the allocation for the setting up of the institutes which cost some RM40 million each but shortage of cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons and anaesthetists,” he said after witnessing the signing of a Memoradum of Agreement between IJN and Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) here yesterday.
Dr Chua said the country needed some 500 cardiologists and 100 cardiothoracic surgeons but only had 140 cardiologists and 30 cardiothoracic surgeons.
“There is an acute shortage. Many doctors do not want to pursue these specialties because it takes them 12 years to specialise,” he added.
He hoped to see more doctors being motivated to specialise in these fields after the setting up of the IJN College of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Sciences before the end of the year.
Dr Chua said IJN’s agreement with LJMU as well as its ongoing partnership with other global institutions was a great example of win-win partnerships.
“This will undoubtedly be instrumental in helping Malaysia move further up the value-added chain in the healthcare industry,” he added.
IJN chairman Datuk Dr Mohamad Salleh Ismail said under the terms of MoA, LJMU and IJN would work in more than six core areas, including joint research programmes and projects.

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