Materia Medica Malaysiana

March 3, 2007

National Service: Training module to get a re-look

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 12:59 pm

NST: PUTRAJAYA: The physical training module for National Service will be given a re-look to determine whether it is too strenuous for trainees.
The National Service Training Council will discuss this at its next meeting on March 15, brought forward from April following public outcry over the increasing number of deaths among trainees.
Council chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said he would propose that the physical sessions be held in the morning instead of afternoon as was the practice now.
He said the proposed review was to ensure the module was not “too extreme” for trainees as it was not meant to emulate military training.
“I’m going to propose for a review. We need it to toughen up the trainees but it cannot be too extreme,” he told the New Straits Times.
The council’s recommendations will be submitted to Defence Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who is in charge of the National Service programme, for a final decision.
Lee, who will meet Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek on Monday to discuss compulsory medical checks for trainees, said he would propose that trainees be sent in batches for check-ups at clinics and hospitals to avoid congestion, a request made at the start of the programme.
He will also revive an old request by the council to post a doctor in each camp.
Meanwhile, Dr Chua said mandatory medical checks may not be able to detect illnesses such as fits.
“I’m not against a mandatory medical examination but it should be effective in detecting illnesses. You should not do it for the sake of doing it,” he said after a MCA central committee meeting in Kuala Lumpur.
Dr Chua said the six health-related deaths of trainees since the programme started in 2004 was lower than the mortality rate among 17- and 18-year-olds of the general population.
He said the Cabinet, which discussed the matter at its meeting yesterday, felt undue publicity had created a lot of anxiety among parents.
Meanwhile, Prema Elenhelian’s parents are demanding answers.
“She was not a sickly child and was given a clean bill of health by doctors. How could this have happened?” asked her mother S. Muniswari, 39, who said no one from her family suffered from fits.
Dr Chua had said that the post-mortem showed Prema (picture) had suffered fits and drowned in the bathroom.
Muniswari said it was traumatic not knowing the cause of her daughter’s death.
Muniswari, who recalled that Prema often complained about the food served at her camp, said she had requested that her daughter be transferred to another camp in December but it was rejected.
She said Prema had aspired to be a teacher but had changed her mind and wanted to join the police force after going to the camp.
Muniswari said Prema’s father, R. Elenchelian, 43, was badly affected by the tragedy and would break down every time he saw her framed picture.

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