Materia Medica Malaysiana

May 23, 2008

Lacking paediatric heart surgeons

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:59 am

NST: THERE is a shortage of paediatric heart surgeons in government hospitals, the Dewan Rakyat was told yesterday.
Deputy Health Minister Datuk Dr Abdul Latiff Ahmad said this was because it took a long time to train these surgeons, especially in performing complex congenital heart operations on children.
“Currently, we only have six specialists in the National Heart Institute and two other specialists in every government hospital, and these specialists are only able to perform non-complex operations,” he said in reply to a supplementary question by Dr Lee Boon Chye (PKR-Gopeng).
Dr Lee had questioned the capacity of government hospitals to perform heart operations and whether the ministry was considering outsourcing such operations to private hospitals.
Dr Latiff said 10 out of every 1,000 babies born in Malaysia every year had congenital heart diseases.
“This translates into an estimated 5,000 children born with heart problems, with 2,000 to 3,000 needing operations.”
Dr Latiff said his ministry had extended an invitation to outsource specialists from local private hospitals, but these hospitals had only come forward after the ministry’s announcement that it would be sending paediatric cases to the Narayana Hrudayalaya Hospital in Bangalore, India.
Last month, the government announced that 200 children with congenital heart diseases would be sent to the Indian heart centre for surgery.
The move was to help ease the waiting time for children, especially those from poor families, who needed operations urgently.
Earlier, responding to the original question by Dr Lee, Dr Latiff said a heart operation in Malaysia could cost between RM15,000 and RM30,000, depending on whether one opted for public or private hospital.

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