Materia Medica Malaysiana

May 30, 2007

Plans for dialysis units in rural clinics

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:40 am

Star: PANGKOR: The Health Ministry will set up haemodialysis units in rural clinics where there is an extensive demand for such treatment.
Minister Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said, however, that the units would only be set up if the clinics were located close to district or state hospitals with high numbers of kidney patients.
“This is because before a kidney patient is sent for haemodialysis treatment, he or she has to first receive authorisation from the hospital’s specialist,” he said after opening the Pulau Pangkor Health Clinic haemodialysis unit yesterday.
The unit, operational since Jan 23 last year, is the first in the country to be run by a clinic instead of a district or state hospital.
If proven successful, he said future units would be based on the Pangkor model.
“For every one million Malaysians, 100 suffer from kidney problems, which is the highest in the world,” Dr Chua said.
“In fact, we estimate the 15,000 patients we have now will exceed 20,000 by 2010.”
He added that the Government had spent more than RM20mil last year to help those seeking haemodialysis treatments.
“We subsidised RM50 for each treatment sought by patients at the haemodialysis centres run by NGOs and given direct grants in the form of dialysis machines to qualified NGOs,” Dr Chua said.
He added that his ministry would be seeking more funds for this purpose.
On another matter, he said his ministry had approved RM100,000 to upgrade medical equipment onboard the island’s only ferry ambulance here.
“This will go towards a special bed which will also enable pregnant women to give birth onboard, an oxygen tank, trolley and other equipment to handle accident-related emergencies,” he added.
The ferry has been transporting patients from here to Manjung Hospital since 1999.

Media underused in AIDS/HIV fight

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:40 am

Star: KUALA LUMPUR: Information on AIDS and HIV must spread faster than the disease.
This was the conclusion of the 100-odd delegates who attended the Asia Media Summit 2007 here during the discussion on global media strategies on AIDS and HIV.
The delegates said the media was under-utilised when it came to spreading awareness on the disease.
They also said the issue was not covered in a continuous basis.
Among the speakers at the discussion session on Monday was South African Broadcasting Corporation chief executive officer Advocate Dali Mpofu, who said the lack of knowledge, stigmatisation and discrimination on the disease made it even more difficult for AIDS patients to face the world.
“While the media is a powerful tool, it is not doing enough to connect with young people and educate them.
“Many know about AIDS and HIV but exactly how much they know and understand is a completely different matter.
“The media has the responsibility to connect and speak the language of young people for they are the ones most susceptible,” he said.
Institute of Strategic and International Studies Malaysia (ISIS) chairman and chief executive officer Datuk Mohamed Jawhar Hassan cited a recent report of Malaysia’s situation bordering on an HIV epidemic.
Released by the World Health Organisation, the report stated that in 2006, more than 81,000 Malaysians were found to be HIV positive or had AIDS.
“The rate of infection is staggering and seeing as we have many cultural constraints, the media’s role in creating awareness here is limited.
“Networking among media partners, long-term programmes and powerful media campaigns are needed if we are to improve,” he said when met at the summit.

May 29, 2007

E-MEDICINE’S HERE: Now you can fall sick anywhere in Malaysia

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:39 am

NST: 38 hospitals across the country are linked by digitised telecommunications under an RM27 million programme. The system not only helps patients get the best treatment without having to physically see a specialist, but also saves time, travel, cost and bed use.

KUALA LUMPUR: The idea of a patient being “examined” by a doctor in a hospital hundreds of kilometres away is no longer in the realm of science fiction.
It has become a reality under a RM27 million tele-medicine system that uses digitised telecommunications to link 38 hospitals across the country.
Doctors and specialists receive online access to the diagnosis and medical history of patients whom they may never see in person.
A pilot project has proven successful in, among others, using radiographs, ECGs, laboratory results, echocardiograms and coronary arteriograms to determine the health of patients.
It also allows for second opinions, exchange of views among doctors treating a patient and referrals to be made from any of the 38 locations.
Deputy Health Minister Datuk Dr Abdul Latiff Ahmad said the move would not only help patients get the best treatment without having to physically see a specialist but also save on time, travel, cost and bed use.
For a start, teleconsultation, one of the major applications of telemedicine, is being used for five disciplines — radiology, cardiology, dermatology, accident and traumatology and neurosurgery.
Put in place by WorldCare Health (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, it also allows for peer-to-peer transmission of film-based radiological images as well as scanned paper documents, voice annotations, digital images and ECG scans.
Dr Abdul Latiff said teleradiology enabled physicians to seek primary and secondary diagnosis of radiological images, such as X-ray films, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans and ultrasound imaging.
“If the patient is at the Grik Hospital, the doctor will transmit it to the radiologist in Ipoh Hospital who will then interpret and provide a diagnosis and appropriate patient management and treatment strategies.
“If a second opinion is needed to refer a patient for treatment, it would also be given,” he told the New Straits Times.
Dr Abdul Latiff said patients could be treated faster and more effectively without the need to be sent by an ambulance to where the specialist concerned was located.
“If a patient needs to be referred immediately for surgery or examination, then it can be done without delay.”
He said specialists and doctors in hospitals had already started using the system.
“If the programme proves a success without hitches, it will be extended to other hospitals nationwide.
“We want to optimise the programme with the co-operation of doctors and specialists who also have to make IT part of their working life,” Dr Abdul Latiff said.

WorldCare senior manager Yusmar Yahaya said the teleconsultation services were designed to be user-friendly around the clock.
Responses can be expected between 30 minutes and 24 hours of a request being made. “The services can be transmitted over ordinary telephone lines,” he added.
The government launched the teleconsultation pilot project with WorldCare managing and operating it from April 2000 to October 2002 under a RM20 million allocation.
The service was continued until July 2003 when it was temporarily disrupted. It was reactivated in June 2005 with an allocation of RM6.3 million for maintenance, upgrading of equipment and telecommunications services.
The first seven months of the pilot project were used for implementation and network commissioning with the Malaysian Teleconsultation Network fully operational in November 2000.
Malaysia’s Teleconsultation Network is powered by the US FDA approved OpenMed™ Manager switching matrix, while OpenMed™ Capture serves as the platform for capture and acquisition of medical modalities.
Viewing and reporting of teleconsultations is done through the web-based OpenMed™ Viewer, allowing for geographical barriers to be broken.
Yusmar said high-resolution X-rays, MRIs and CT scans were sent through the industry standard DICOM protocols to the OpenMed™ Radiology application for viewing on high-resolution diagnostic work stations.
Health Ministry Telehealth Division assistant director Dr Vijayan Kannan said a doctor who wanted to do teledermatology could use high-resolution digital cameras to acquire images of focal skin lesions or rashes.
These can then be transmitted to a dermatologist for interpretation.
He added that at a resolution of 3.5 megapixels to 5 megapixels, the size of images could range between 640×480 pixels and 1024×768 pixels.
“Similar technology is used in other disciplines. The idea is to deliver patient focus health services to the public.
“People in rural areas no longer have to come to the city or towns for referrals or to see a specialist.”
Dr Vijayan said the introduction of teleconsultation had helped save ambulances for emergency cases.
“This can also save time besides costs in terms of ferrying patients to hospitals.”
Dr Vijayan said referrals had been reduced by 50 per cent after the system was introduced.

Ceiling panel collapse: Loose hooks likely cause

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:38 am

NST: SUNGAI PETANI: The collapsed ceiling panels at the Sultan Abdul Halim Hospital might have been caused by hooks holding the aluminium supports getting dislodged.
This is one possibility being investigated to determine the reasons why more than 20 ceiling panels came crashing down in three areas at the RM450 million hospital on Saturday and Sunday.
State Works Committee chairman Datuk Nawawi Ahmad said another possible reason was that too few hooks had been used to hold the aluminium supports.
“We are still investigating the causes but these are the preliminary findings of the state Public Works Department,” he said yesterday when commenting on the incidents at the hospital, which opened last December.
On Saturday, 12 ceiling panels, each measuring about 0.6m by 1.4m, fell in the men’s ward. However, no one was injured. Later that day, eight panels collapsed in the pantry of the children’s nursery and intensive care unit, slightly injuring a doctor.
On Sunday, another eight panels collapsed along the corridor near the lobby on the ground floor, but no one was injured.
Nawawi said state PWD engineers found that some of the hooks, bolted to the concrete beams, had been dislodged.
“The aluminium supports could not sustain the weight of the ceiling panels, which led to its collapse.
“We believe this incident could have been prevented if more hooks were used to hold the supports.”
Nawawi said the contractor responsible had carried out repairs and was also instructed to check on all ceilings supporting structures.
“I have also instructed the contractor of the Sultanah Bahiyah Hospital in Alor Star to carry out similar checks before it is opened later this year.”
The joint contractors of the Sultan Abdul Halim Hospital, Bina Darulaman Bhd and TH Universal Builders Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Tabung Haji, could not be reached for comments.

Media Vital To Combat HIV/Aids

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:38 am

KUALA LUMPUR, May 28 (Bernama) — The media’s role is vital in fighting HIV/Aids which up to last year infected about 39.5 million people globally, said the Health Ministry’s director-general Tan Sri Dr Mohd Ismail Merican.
In a special address at the Global Media Strategies on HIV and Aids conference here today, Dr Ismail said in this context, the media must be understanding, dedicated and creative.
“The media is an essential partner in fighting HIV and Aids…without the media all our efforts cannot be successful,” he said at the event organised in conjunction with the Asia Media Summit 2007 which begins here on Tuesday.
“In fact, the media is such a powerful tool that it has the ability to reverse the HIV/Aids scenario globally.”
On the HIV/Aids situation in Malaysia, he said that up to the end of 2006 there were 76,389 reported HIV/Aids cases in the country compared to only four cases in 1986.
In 2006, 5,830 new cases were reported or an average of 16 cases per day.
Dr Ismail said the government was supportive in various efforts and programmes to combat the disease, with the Cabinet Committee on Aids being chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister.
Among the strategies to tackle HIV/Aids in Malaysia were through training and capacity enhancement, he added.
For instance, a pilot project called “Harm Reduction Programme” for intravenous drug users was introduced to reduce high-risk behaviour among them like sharing contaminated needles and having unprotected sex.

It’s okay to talk to children about sex and drugs, parents told

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:38 am

Star: KUALA LUMPUR: It is not wrong for parents to talk about safe sex and drug addiction to their children.
Health Ministry director-general Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican, who said this, added that children needed to be educated on those issues, especially on how HIV/AIDS is spread.
“There has to be education from the community and schools and it should start early. More parents should be talking about safe sex.
“At least get them involved in other interesting activities,” he added.
Dr Ismail said parents should themselves be “educated and comfortable enough” to delve on such issues.
“They have to have a level of understanding themselves. It is not just talking about sex. They can talk about HIV/AIDS and clean needles or safe sexual practices,” he added.
He suggested that such discourse begin when the children entered secondary school.
“It may be more difficult once they are in college or university. There is also too much exposure in the media and Internet about such topics,” he added.
Dr Ismail had earlier delivered a special address at the Global Strategies on HIV and AIDS ahead of the Asia Media Summit 2007, which starts today.
According to Health Ministry statistics, there are 76,000 HIV/AIDS cases with more than 6,000 new ones diagnosed as of December last year.

AMO recalls contact lens care solution

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:37 am

Star: PETALING JAYA: Contact lens wearers who use Advanced Medical Optics Inc’s (AMO) Complete MoisturePlus solution should stop using it immediately.
According to a press release issued by the company yesterday, any consumer who is concerned about an eye condition should contact their eye-care practitioner first.
AMO, it said, was also voluntarily recalling the product from the market, although it emphasised that there was no evidence that the move was related to a product contamination issue.
“This does not impact any of AMO’s other contact lens care products including our family of hydrogen peroxide disinfecting solutions,” it added.
The recall was because of information from the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about eye infections from Acanthamoeba, a naturally occurring water-borne organism that can contribute to serious corneal infections.
The CDC had interviewed 46 patients who had developed Acanthamoeba keratitis since January 2005 and 39 of these patients were soft contact lens wearers and 21 reported using Complete MoisturePlus products.
Acanthamoeba keratitis can produce corneal ulceration and cause severe loss of vision and even blindness. The symptoms include persistent redness and pain in the eye.
The CDC estimated those who used the solution had seven times greater risk than those who did not.
For details, call the consumer information hotline at 03-7710 6311 from Monday through Friday (9am to 6pm) or log on to

Negri makes pre-marital HIV test a must for Muslims

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:37 am

Star: SEREMBAN: From Friday, all Muslim couples getting married will have to undergo HIV tests in government clinics, Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan said.
“We want the couples to be free of any problem that can affect their family relationship,” he said.
He said HIV and AIDS were among the top five diseases reported in the state, with 109 new cases reported last year but many cases went unreported because the victims had not gone for health checks.
Mohamad said 80% of the 1,300 Muslim couples who attended pre-marital courses last year were supportive of the tests to stem the spread of HIV/AIDS.
“This shows that prospective brides and grooms accept the idea and are conscious of their health,” he said when contacted.
Johor was the first to implement the ruling in 2001 before other states followed suit.
“We will offer counselling and advice to those with HIV/AIDS to make them change their lifestyle,” he said.
Mohamad said that in the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) report, it was stated that Malaysia had achieved all development targets except that of overcoming the HIV/AIDS issue.
“Malaysia is among the countries which are not free from HIV and AIDS due to the problems of drug misuse and the practice of free sex,” he said.
Mohamad said statistics from the Health Ministry’s AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases division showed that 70,559 HIV cases were reported between 1986 and December 2005.
Some 10,663 patients had developed AIDS, of which 8,179 died.

May 28, 2007

Cement mixer used to make fake Viagra

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:12 am

NST: KUALA LUMPUR: Imagine taking painkillers to dull the pain but ending up with kidney failure or consuming Viagra and ending up with the urge to dance all night long.
Pfizer Inc, which produces Viagra, has expressed concern about the booming trade in counterfeit medicines in the Asia-Pacific region.
Its global security senior regional director, Donald Shruhan, said 3.5 million counterfeit Viagra tablets were seized in 2005, a seven-fold increase from 500,000 in 2003.
“Tests on counterfeit Ponstan tablets revealed that although it looks similar to the original, the imitation contains boric acid, which can cause kidney failure and even death. A fake Viagra pill was found to contain the same ingredients as Ecstasy,” he added.
Those who consume counterfeit drugs are at risk because it will be ineffective, are produced in unhygienic conditions and have not been tested or approved.
“The counterfeit pharmaceutical products that consumers purchase may also contain toxic or unlisted ingredients, which may prove detrimental to their health.”
In Egypt, a cement mixer was used to mix several different ingredients to make fake Viagra tablets.
“Counterfeiters are more concerned with the appearance of their product rather than the efficacy,” Shruhan said.
Studies have shown that counterfeit medicines account for nearly 10 per cent or US$22 billion (RM74.8 billion) of the global supply of medicine.

New hospital’s ceiling panels fall off

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:11 am

NST: SUNGAI PETANI: The ceiling in three areas of the Sultan Abdul Halim Hospital, which started operations last October, collapsed yesterday and the day before.
In both the incidents,28 ceiling panels came crashing down but no one was injured.
On Saturday, 12 pieces collapsed at the men’s ward, about 1.45pm.
Fortunately, the panels did not hit the four patients in the ward, recovering from post-surgery.
The same day, eight panels fell at the lobby.
At noon yesterday, eight panels fell into the pantry of the children’s nursery and intensive care unit.
The pantry was vacant when the incident happened.
This is the latest in a series of mishaps which have occurred in new government buildings — such as burst pipes, cracks on walls, malfunctioning air-conditioning system and a power outage, affecting the Immigration headquarters in Putrajaya, a hall in another building there and the new court complex in Jalan Duta, Kuala Lumpur.
Preliminary checks by the hospital maintenance division showed that the panels fell after the aluminium supports gave way.
State Health director Dr Hasnah Ismail confirmed the incidents. She said the contractor of the RM450 million hospital had started repairs and had been directed to check the ceiling of the whole hospital.
Dr Hasnah said the state Public Works Department had been informed of the incidents.
Meanwhile, Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid expressed shock and said: “This is very serious. I have asked for a full report.”

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