NST: KUALA LUMPUR: Seven out of 10 Malaysian adults suffer from at least one non-communicable disease like diabetes, hypertension or cancer.
Latest Health Ministry statistics show that 11.6 million of the 16 million adults nationwide are sick with an NCD.
And by all predictions, the numbers are going to get worse.
The ministry is predicting that the number of Malaysians with NCD is expected to increase to 13 million by 2015.
Health Ministry Deputy Disease Control Director (NCD) Dr Zainal Ariffin Omar blam-ed the situation on the lifestyle of Malaysians, which included higher use of tobacco, unhealthy diets and inactivity.
He said changes in the economic, social and demographic aspects of Malaysian life had led to a rise in NCD.
Dr Zainal said NCDs accounted for 51 per cent of all deaths in the country.
The ministry is at odds with the worsening situation given the fact that the remedy is quite simple, involving what some would call common sense.
“The majority of NCDs are actually preventable if people adhere to simple habits like a healthy lifestyle with good and balanced eating,” he said.
Dr Zainal said the ministry was doing its best to educate Malaysians on how they could check the problem before it worsened and burdened the nation’s financial and human capital resources even further.
He suggested a diet that was low in fats and high in fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grains and nuts.
“It is also important to limit the intake of sugar and salt and reduce weight.”
Even a 4.5kg reduction in weight can have a significant effect on hypertension.
He said blood pressure can also be lowered with moderately intense physical activity such as 30 to 45 minutes of brisk walking.
July 30, 2007
NST: KUALA LUMPUR: Seven out of 10 Malaysian adults suffer from at least one non-communicable disease like diabetes, hypertension or cancer.
NST: KUALA LUMPUR: The Drug Control Authority has warned the public to stay away from 15 suspect medicinal products.
They are: Pil Tupai Jantan Asli, Jamu Ajaib, Maajun Petani Tongkat Ali, Kuku Bima Ginseng, Kuku Bima Ginseng & Kuda Laut, Crush Stone Super Kapsul, Obat Kuat Helbeh, Capsul Obat Kuat, Jamu Kuda, Tangkur Buaya, Tablet Kina, Oskadon — Obat Sakit Kepala, Paramex — Obat Sakit Kepala, Tian Ma Tu Chung Seven Leave Ginsengs and Mistura Xiao Chai Hu.
A DCA official has warned that some of them contain potent western medicinal drugs which are regulated under the Poisons Act. He said these drugs can cause harm if they are taken on a long term basis.
Labels on some of the products claim that they can be used to treat conditions such as joint pains, arthritis, headache, skin problems, impotence, premature ejaculation, poor sexual performance and low libido.
“Beware of the claims. They can be harmful as they are not approved by the DCA,” the official warned.
The DCA has placed an alert on its website which states that these products have either not been registered, have labels without registration numbers or carry false registration numbers.
The official also warned the public against taking several herbal preparations that had been adulterated with western medicines.
These include: Bao Zhi Tang, Permanence, PMEN, Power, Zhong Mei Bao Jian, Qian Jin Nan Wee and Spanish Fly. Other products which have been adulterated are Enjoy-Male Energy, Blue Boy-Sen X Big, Euriko Ginko and Stallion.
He also warned against using the following products which have been adulterated with scheduled poisons: Air Ikan Haruan, Tongkat Ali Super Power, Maajun Kuat, Jamu Ajaib, Kian Pee Wan, Ceng Fui Yen, Saurean Fong Sep Lin, Seng Yong Wan, Pil Haruan, Kapsul Tongkat Ali Asli, Pil Power Sendi, Pil Resdung, Mixagrip, Komix, Konidin, Antimo, Mextril, Untraflu and Neozep Forte.
Star: MALACCA: Consumers still can’t tell the difference between genuine and fake medicine, state Health Department (Pharmacy) deputy director Dr Salmah Bahri said yesterday.
She said this was evident from the seizure of over RM1mil worth of unlicensed medicine in the state from January to June, despite the department having only six staff in its pharmaceutical enforcement division to conduct investigation and raids.
“We also had more reports of consumers experiencing adverse effects after they consumed fake medicines,” she said.
Dr Salmah urged consumers to look for the registration number and Mediatag hologram sticker on the label of medicine packaging before using it.
This includes all forms of beauty and slimming products, she added.
“Consumers must understand that there is no such thing as a 100% safe medicine.
“They must also know their rights to know the full description of the medicine before using,” Dr Salmah said to about 100 participants at the state-level You and Your Medicine seminar at a hotel here yesterday.
Star: PETALING JAYA: More stringent checks are being conducted on made-in-China food products imported here following the alarming number of such items being found contaminated with health risk agents globally.
The Health Ministry’s Food Quality and Safety Division has stepped up surveillance and is carrying out more extensive tests on all new Chinese products that require approvals to be imported here.
“More stringent tests are being conducted to ensure the quality and safety of these products for local consumption,” division director Dr Abdul Rahim Mohamad said.
He said random tests were also being carried out on Chinese products that had already been granted permission to be imported here to ensure the quality and safety standards had not deteriorated.
“More such tests had been done in the past months as the number of tainted and contaminated food items from China reported globally has escalated,” he said.
Malaysia imported about RM58bil worth of food products from China last year. Malaysia is the third largest buyer of China-made products.
Dr Abdul Rahim said the division has also ordered all its state offices, particularly in Sabah, to check the White Rabbit brand milk candy after reports in the Philippines that samples were tainted with formaldehyde, a preservative and embalming chemical that can cause cancer.
However, AP reported that China has resumed shipments of candy to the Philippines after tests by the Chinese government showed the chemical was not present in the product.
According to Shanghai-based candy manufacturer Guan Shen Yuan Company, distributors in Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong had performed their own tests and found the confection to be formaldehyde-free.
The worldwide scares have involved poisonous pet food ingredients, toxic fish, industrial chemicals and dye found in biscuits, candies, pickles, seafood, meat and toothpaste.
In the past months, Hong Kong and Singapore health authorities had warned their residents about the danger of Chinese products.
Singapore Agri-Food and Veterinary Services (AVS) warned Singaporeans against buying salted duck and century eggs from China, which were said to be contaminated with dangerous cancer-causing Sudan dyes.
AVS also suspended the importation of canned fried dace with salted black beans and frozen prepared eel from China. The products were found to contain Malachite green, a type of chemical used as a dye.
Tests by the Hong Kong Centre for Food Safety had also found that some Chinese seafood products including Bombay-duck (a type of fish), were found with cancer-causing agents nitrofurans and formaldehyde.
Star: KLUANG: Malaysia will not ban the import of food supplements, cosmetics and medicine from China although Indonesia has done so.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said the import of drugs and food supplements are controlled rigidly by his ministry through either the food quality division or the pharmaceutical division.
“So we will not follow blindly what another country does. Indonesia can do what they want, we have our own guidelines,” said Dr Chua.
He said if the amount of herbal product in any food did not exceed 20%, it was considered an ordinary food product and need not be registered with the ministry.
If it contains more than 20% of herbal products, then it is regarded as a food supplement and has to be registered with the food quality division or the pharmaceutical division.
As for drugs, they must all get approval from the ministry through the pharmaceutical division before they can be in the market, he said.
Indonesia banned the import of food supplements, cosmetics and medicine from China early this month, following findings that the medicines contained chemical substances while the cosmetics were mixed with mercury and rhodamin and its food products were mixed with formalin, all of which were dangerous to health.
KOTA BAHARU, July 29 (Bernama) — The country is facing a shortage of human tissues for medical treatment due to the public’s lukewarm response to organ donation.
Higher Education Minister Datuk Mustapa Mohamed said the people should be aware of the importance of organ donation for medical purposes.
“Organ donation should adhere to the guidelines and fatwa (religious ruling) so that it would not be against the law, syarak (Islamic law) and other religions,” he said at the National Tissue Bank’s 15th anniversary celebrations here today.
His speech was read out by Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) Health Campus director Datuk Dr Mafauzy Mohamed.
The National Tissue Bank was set up at the campus in Kubang Kerian with the cooperation of the Malaysia Nuclear Agency and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 1994.
The project was introduced in 1990 with aid from IAEA and is manned by personnel from the Science Technology and Environment Ministry.
Mustapa said the tissue bank supplied various types of tissue grafts and replacement tissues for patients suffering bone problems, scalding and cornea ulcer.
He said so far more than 10,000 patients had benefited from tissue grafts supplied by the tissue bank at 38 hospitals in the country.
Since its formation, the tissue bank had received the Quality Management System MS ISO 9001:2000 certification in 2005.
Monitored by the IAEA, the tissue bank is carrying out research to improve its services to the people including identifying artificial organs.
“The country is facing inadequate supply of human tissues, especially bones tissues, as human tissue donation is still low,” he said.
He said USM’s research work had created biomaterial clusters which involved several branches of science to pioneer biomaterial science and tissue engineering.
At the function, students who won essay writing and poster competitions in conjunction with the celebrations, received commendation letters and cash awards.
July 28, 2007
Star: MUAR: The Putrajaya Hospital and the Selayang Hospital in Selangor will be the first public hospitals in the country to adopt the “full-paying patient” concept.
The service provides patients with the option of being treated by specialists of their choice in an executive or first-class facility and be charged accordingly.
There had been a significant number of well-to-do patients seeking treatment from government specialists who paid the minimal rate and enjoyed the subsidised treatments.
The full-paying patient scheme is one way of addressing this inadequacy and, in addition, will help provide better incentives and remuneration for specialists and encourage them to continue working in government hospitals.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said the move would help to curb medical specialists from government hospitals from joining the private sector.
He said the two hospitals would begin offering the concept from Aug 1.
Speaking to reporters here, Dr Chua said the move was also aimed at attracting specialists who had left government hospitals to serve in the private sector.
“We are losing about 50% or about 100 of our specialist doctors every year, who resign to join the private hospitals.
“We hope this approach will enable the hospitals to allocate some additional incentives for the specialist doctors,” he said after visiting drainage and road projects in Bentayan here on Thursday.
Dr Chua said the ministry picked the two hospitals as they have excellent facilities to treat liver related illnesses, hand surgery, breast cancer and endocrine diseases, among others.
He said many who could afford it sought treatment at these hospitals, but without the full-paying patient concept, they only paid the minimal rate and enjoyed subsidised treatment.
Dr Chua said it was unfair as the government subsidy was meant for patients who could not afford to pay the full amount for the treatment of such illnesses.
He said the cost would be similar to those charged by the private hospitals and consistent with schedules outlined by the Malaysian Medical Association, but with some discount.
July 25, 2007
NST: JOHOR BARU: Were you absent for work? Do you need a medical chit to convince your employer that you were not playing truant?
Not to worry. For a mere RM17, a local syndicate can supply you with a “bona fide” medical chit complete with a stamp from a government hospital.
It is learnt that the syndicate has been operating for six months supplying customers — mostly Malaysians working in Singapore — with the chits.
The stamps on the undated chits carry the names of different doctors, while fields such as name, address and place of employment are left blank.
One of their customers, who wanted to be identified only as Paul, said as a precaution, the syndicate would record the buyer’s details, such as the registration number of the car and the serial number on the chit beforehand.
“From what I know, they don’t give the chits to anyone they do not know.”
Sultanah Aminah Hospital (HSA) director Dr Roshaimi Merican said she had not received any reports of chits from government hospitals being sold in the open.
There are nine government-run hospitals in Johor, two of which — HSA and Sultan Ismail Specialist Hospital — are in Johor Baru.
“We urge members of the public to inform us of this,” said Dr Roshaimi.
NST: KUALA LUMPUR: Although smoking is hazardous to health, doctors, nurses and others in the health industry are doing very little to help smokers to quit.
The Malaysian Medical Association’s Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) Committee chairman Prof Dr Lekhraj Rampal said yesterday that health professionals could play a very important role in discouraging smoking.
“In community and clinical settings, as health professionals you are the most knowledgeable in health matters and you are expected to act on the basis of this knowledge. Unfortunately, it is not being done,” he told the New Straits Times.
Dr Rampal said health professionals should also be role models for the population but there were many who were smokers themselves.
The NST had on June 1 highlighted that Malaysians were spending RM15 million daily on the “poison stick”.
Despite an aggressive approach by the government in the “Tak Nak” campaign, Malaysians continue to smoke some 30 million sticks of cigarettes a day. This adds up to a staggering RM6 billion going up in smoke every year.
A study by ASH revealed that 50 per cent of the more than 3.5 million smokers nationwide smoked nearly 10 sticks a day.
If the remaining 50 per cent smoked five cigarettes a day, this would amount to a total of nearly 11 million sticks a day. ASH is concerned that many of the smokers are between 15 and 25 years old.
“Tobacco is hazardous to health. There are about 4,000 known chemicals in tobacco smoke, with more than 50 of them likely to cause cancer,” warned Dr Rampal.
He said health professionals needed to address tobacco dependence as part of their standard of care practice.
“Questions about tobacco use should be included when monitoring vital signs and at every encounter with a patient,” he said, adding that doctors should ask about tobacco use, advise users to quit, assess their willingness to quit, help them to quit and arrange follow-ups.
July 24, 2007
Star: KOTA KINABALU: State-owned Warisan Harta Sdn Bhd, which took over the foreign workers’ health screening from Fomema on Jan 1, is puzzled over the drop in the number of workers being tested.
Chairman Datuk Dr Patawari Patawe said it could be due to the existing ruling that workers need not undergo medical examination for renewal of their work pass after serving in the state for four years.
“I am puzzled by the decline. The procedures and infrastructure offered by Warisan Harta are similar to that of Fomema,” he said yesterday.
Asked if the decline could be due to the quality of Warisan Harta’s services, he said the quality should not be lower than that offered by Fomema.
He said the state should investigate the matter as about 7% of foreigners screened in Sabah were found to be unfit.