Materia Medica Malaysiana

November 30, 2007

Hospitals to offer traditional cures

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 10:57 am

Star: THREE hospitals in the country have been picked by the Health Ministry to offer complementary medicines and treatment for patients.
They are Putrajaya Hospital, Kepala Batas Hospital in Penang and Sultan Ismail Hospital in Johor Baru.
Deputy Health Minister Datuk Dr Abdul Latiff Ahmad said the hospitals were chosen as pioneers to experiment the integration of traditional treatment and modern medicine.
Replying to Dr Rozaidah Talib (BN-Ampang), he said apart from providing herb-based treatment for cancer patients, the hospitals were also given permission to introduce Malay massage as rehabilitative treatment for post-stroke patients.
“If the treatments are scientifically proven to be effective, the ministry would consider endorsing the medicine as a catalytic substance to treat certain diseases,” he said.
According to Dr Latiff, there was a high awareness level among the public of the effectiveness of certain traditional products, especially herb-based food or drinks with therapeutic ingredients.
“Refreshing herbs such as tongkat ali, kacip fatimah and mengkudu have flooded the local market and some herbs like misai kucing have been proven to help treat bladder stone problem.”
He said the hospitals would employ experts from Chinese universities to research the effectiveness of various herbs in treating cancer and hire trained masseurs to provide the traditional massages.

Training our own paediatric surgeons

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 10:56 am

Star: KUALA LUMPUR: There is only one paediatric surgeon in the country trained in laparoscopic surgery and the Health Ministry wants to increase this number over the next few years.
“We want to train as many as possible. There is only one and we have a long way to go,” director-general Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican said yesterday after opening the International Inaugural Paediatric Surgical Seminar organised by Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM).
Another future plan was to have Malaysia eventually known for carrying out such training regionally and internationally, he said.
Overall, there were 20 paediatric surgeons in both the private and public sectors.
He said it was necessary to branch out into the speciality because there was a demand for it.
UKM was starting up an advanced surgical skills centre at Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan, where it would provide training, research and services in laparoscopy and minimally invasive surgery.
It has engaged Adelaide-based paediatric surgeon Prof Dr Tan Hock Lim to help establish the centre.

November 27, 2007

Pharmacies flouting law

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 11:00 am

Star: JOHOR BARU: Nearly a quarter of pharmacies in Johor were found to have violated pharmaceutical regulations.
The offences include selling of controlled drugs without doctor’s prescriptions, operating illegally and having unlicensed pharmacists.
Johor Local Government and Health Committee chairman Datuk Halimah Sadique (BN-Pasir Raja) said written warnings had been issued to the respective outlets.
“Action will be taken if they continue to violate the regulations,” she said in reply to a question posed by Dr Abdul Rashid Abd Mokti (BN-Sedili) at the Johor State Assembly here yesterday.
In the operations conducted, Halimah said 32 out of the 150 pharmacies checked were found to have violated pharmaceutical regulations.
Dr Abdul Rashid also proposed for the installation of CCTVs at these outlets but Halimah rejected this as it would be difficult to tell the drugs sold.
Low Teh Hian (BN-Pengkalan Rinting) proposed for the department to issue a list of drugs approved by the Health Ministry (KKM).
Halimah said all items approved would have the KKM number.
She also urged consumers to check the ingredients of a product and not be taken in by its packaging.

Halal vaccines soon

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 11:00 am

Star: PUTRAJAYA: A special paper on the use and certification of halal vaccines at public hospitals will be presented to the Cabinet soon.
Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican said both the Health Ministry and biotechnology firm National Institute for Natural Products, Vaccines and Biologicals (9BIO) would collaborate on the paper.
He was speaking to reporters after witnessing the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Islamic Development Department (Jakim) director-general Datuk Wan Mohamad Sheikh Abdul Aziz and 9BIO chairman Tan Sri Aseh Che Mat here yesterday.
The MoU will see 9BIO forming a team with Jakim to visit sites producing vaccines to certify its halal status.
At present, most of the vaccines in the country are imported and are not certified by Jakim.
Earlier, 9BIO chief executive officer Datuk Dr Nor Shahidah Khairullah said the company aimed to produce its own vaccines within two years once its factory in Enstek City was completed.
“Among the vaccines targeted for halal certification are those for children, such as polio and flu, and that for cervical cancer against the human papillomavirus,” she said.
Wan Mohamad said the MoU would help Malaysia and other Islamic countries in the production of halal vaccines.
“We hope that this will make Malaysia the reference and research centre for halal vaccine production in the future,” he added.

November 25, 2007

Pilot system to detect mistakes being tried out at KLH

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:37 am

Star: KUALA LUMPUR: A pilot incident reporting system where mistakes in treatment can be detected is being tried out at the Kuala Lumpur Hospital.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said a culture of safety would only develop when people were not afraid to report mistakes and when people were able to sit down and learn how to correct those mistakes and improve.
“One of the important prerequisites for this to occur is an incident reporting system. This is currently being piloted at the KLH under the guidance of a World Health Organisation (WHO) consultant.
“This makes Malaysia among the first in the world to comply with WHO standards. However, incidence reporting and problem solving is only part of the solution. The other part involves prevention,” Dr Chua said at the Malaysian Society for Quality in Health (MSQH) public forum.
The text of his speech was read out by the ministry’s medical practice director Dr Mohd Khairi Yakub.
It is understood that the incident reporting system comprises a standard two-page form which collects information on anything that may have gone wrong during a medical procedure.
Healthcare providers involved in the procedure could fill up this form anonymously with the ultimate goal of providing information to rectify procedures so that the same mistakes do not recur.
The form addresses seven areas, namely the patient, task and technology, healthcare provider, team, work environment, policy and procedures and external factors.
It is also understood that the reporting system would be extended nationwide and this would allow all public hospitals to learn from each other’s mistakes and improve.
MSQH president Datin Siti Sa’diah Sheikh Bakir said the society had accredited 61 public hospitals and 17 private hospitals which accounted for more than 50% of hospital beds in the country.
“The accreditation ensures international safety and quality standards are adhered to and hospitals are surveyed every three years to make sure they are always improving,” she said.

November 24, 2007

NS trainees must declare health

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:50 pm

Star: PENANG: National Service trainees are strictly required to answer all 31 questions in the health declaration form.
National Service Council chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said that parents must also counter-sign the declaration enclosed with each national service (NS) notification.
“The trainees must answer honestly, accurately and truthfully because the NS Council and NS Department are very concerned about trainees’ health,” he said.
Trainees were required to submit the forms to their camp commandant at the pick-up point on the first day, Lee said.
Trainees must also inform the commandant if they become unfit after entering the camp for doctor’s verification.
“If the trainees have any illness, they should go to a government clinic or hospital for a medical check-up,” he said after checking the new Sri Mutiara national service camp at Balik Pulau here during a working visit with NS Department officers on Friday.
Lee said that the trainees with health problems needed to go to one government doctor to ascertain whether they were fit for camp.
He said that if the trainee was unfit he or she must submit a form for exemption with the doctor’s remark to the NS Council where a committee would decide on the exemption.
He said that there would be three paramedics stationed at each of the 81 camps nationwide.
He said that the first batch of 37,000 students selected for NS from Dec 29 to March 11 would receive their notices at the end of this month or latest by early December as notices had been sent via Pos Malaysia beginning Nov 17.
A total of 110,000 students were selected to undergo NS training next year, he said.

Mental illness afflicts more than 3 million Malaysians

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:06 am

Star: OVER three million Malaysians – or 16% of the population – have been diagnosed with mental illness, reported Tamil Nesan.
Quoting Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek, the paper said this was shown in the findings of a national health and morbidity study that was carried out last year.
The study also showed that the number of Malaysians suffering from mental sickness had risen 6% over the past 10 years, Dr Chua said when launching the national-level World Mental Health Day event in Sungai Petani.
He said 20.3% of the sufferers are children below 16 and 19.5% are senior citizens aged 70 and above.
Mental stress among young people was mainly due to bad examination results, family pressure and lack of support from society.
Dr Chua said some students felt the pressure even when they do not get straight As and because they felt humiliated, stupid and useless.
Some take suicide as the way out, he said, adding that there were 20 to 30 suicides among 100,000 Malaysians each year.
Dr Chua said some mental patients remained uncured because they resort to bomohs.
He said the ministry has only 145 psychiatrists, while the country required another 300 experts.

New flying docs expected in six months

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:06 am

Star: KUCHING: A new permanent provider for the flying doctor service (FDS) in Sarawak is expected to be appointed in six months.
In the meantime, the state health department would hire an interim service provider with the help of the Health Ministry and the Department of Civil Aviation.
Assistant Minister of Public Health Dr Soon Choon Teck told the Sarawak State Assembly yesterday that the process was expected to take a month.
“The interim service provider must use twin-engine helicopters fitted with emergency medical service equipment to improve the safety and quality of the service,” he told Lihan Jok (BN-Telang Usan).
He added that the current 15 mobile health teams visiting FDS locations by land would also continue their work while the appointments were being finalised.
Dr Soon said a new contract for the FDS using the new specifications had been awarded to SAR Helicopters Sdn Bhd for 2007-2010.
However, the contract was terminated on Nov 12 because SAR Helicopters had been unable to fulfil it.
“They did not provide any service in January 2007. From February to June 2007, they were only able to provide partial service, which at best was only 26.9% of what was expected,” Dr Soon said.

November 23, 2007

Cord blood storage questionable

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 11:08 am

Star: KUALA LUMPUR: Doctors have expressed concern about the storage and effectiveness of cord blood.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said the complaints were on how long cord blood could be kept and unsubstantiated claims by private cord blood banks.
“The doctors want us to control matters like the advertising. So there will be guidelines from the ministry that will have to be adhered to,” he said, adding that the guidelines would be drawn up by a National Committee on Stem Cell Services.
Dr Chua said while cord blood was stored to potentially treat diseases such as lymphoma, leukaemia and thalassemia, there were claims and advertisements stating that it could treat illnesses including diabetes, cerebral palsy and regenerative disease.
“There are a lot of unsubstantiated claims.
“Besides, we do not know how long it takes for the samples to become defective during storage or if the quantity collected is enough,” he said.
He said private cord blood banks in the country charged between RM2,500 and RM5,000 for registration followed by a yearly subscription of between RM125 and RM250.
At present, there are three cord blood banks operating in the country.
The American Association of Paediatrics, in its latest policy statement, stated that private umbilical cord blood storage as a “biological insurance” should be discouraged because there was not enough evidence to support the routine harvesting and storage of umbilical cord.
Dr Chua said the ministry received an annual allocation of RM16.8mil and a one-off grant of RM15.6mil to boost its cord blood services.

Rules on nip-and-tucks

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 11:08 am

Star: PUTRAJAYA: To ensure that beauty treatments do not turn ugly, the Health Ministry has drawn up a set of do’s and don’ts on aesthetic medicine.
With immediate effect, private general practitioners are not allowed to carry out procedures such as breast implants, liposuction, eyelid surgery, laser and light-based therapies and hair transplant.
They also cannot deal with unapproved agents, inject non-evidence based products like Vitamin C, placental extract, stem cells and growth hormones.
The list, drawn up following a meeting last month with relevant stakeholders, will be included in the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act 1998 under the director-general’s directive.
A definition of aesthetic medicine has also been drawn up. It states it is a branch of medicine dedicated to creating a harmonious physical and psychological balance using non-invasive and minimally invasive treatment modalities.
The modalities have to be evidence-based and scientifically proven on matters such as the anatomy and skin physiology.
Director-general of health Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican said yesterday that only trained and credentialed personnel could do Botox treatment.
He added that the general practitioners could, with proper credentials and training from a recognised institute, advise on matters such as medical cosmetology, chemical peels, cellulite control, hair removal and nutrition.
“It does not mean the general practitioner has no role but they should be concentrating on procedures which are not invasive,” he said.
He added that because aesthetic medicine was not a recognised medical speciality in Malaysia, the word “aesthetic” was not allowed to be displayed on signboards.
Dr Ismail added that a proposal would be submitted to register specialists in aesthetic practices in the registry being compiled by the Malaysian Medical Council and Academy of Medicine.
He said it was necessary to draw up such guidelines because the ministry was concerned about developments in the field and wanted to keep unscrupulous practices at bay.
“If you want to look pretty, do it the right way. Make sure the right people provide you with the services,” he said.

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