Materia Medica Malaysiana

July 31, 2008

Malaria hits second Penan village

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 3:05 pm

Star: MIRI: Another semi-nomadic Penan settlement in the Bario highlands has been infected with malaria.
Semirian village, located at the mountain range bordering the Sarawak-Kalimantan border some 450km inland from here has been identified by the Sarawak Health and Medical Services Department as the latest danger zone.
At the other village, Arur Dalan, which is located some 30km away from Semirian, 21 people are down with the disease that causes extreme fever, coma and even death.
Ba’Kelalan assemblyman Nelson Balang Rining said the latest information he obtained from the State Health and Medical Services Department yesterday morning indicated that the malaria outbreak in Semirian and Arur Dalan could be connected.
“The health department officers have interviewed victims in Arur Dalan.
“They said it is possible that a resident in Arur Dalan had carried in him the malaria-causing parasite from Semirian following a visit to that village.
“We must make every effort to destroy the Anopheles mosquitoes so they will not spread the disease,” he told The Star.
Several health teams are also carrying out a full-scale anti-malaria campaign in the Bario highlands, which has a population of about 5,000.

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Chikungunya cases escalate

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 3:04 pm

Star: PUTRAJAYA: The country has recorded its highest number of chikungunya viral fever cases, so far in a year.
Health Ministry disease control director Datuk Dr Hasan Abdul Rahman said fewer than 100 Malaysians tested positive for the illness last year but up to yesterday morning, 136 people tested positive from the 631 cases detected at 20 localities in Johor, Malacca, Negri Sembilan and Perak.
Only 15 patients were warded for fever and severe joint pain while the majority received outpatient treatment.
“It is unusually high. It is because the aedes mosquito breeding index is high and it is making transmission easier,” he said yesterday.
Both chikungunya and dengue are spread by aedes mosquitoes.
He said monitoring was continuously being carried out especially in areas where dengue fever was reported.
“We also are double checking in dengue hotspots for both sicknesses,” he said.
“We are, however, more concerned about dengue cases being on the rise.”
He said more programmes to get rid of mosquitoes by fogging and destroying breeding areas through gotong-royong by the public would be carried out.
Dr Hasan also urged the public to go to health clinics or hospitals to be checked by doctors for chikungunya fever if they showed symptoms such as fever, joint pains and rashes.
In a statement read out by Dr Hasan during a press conference, ministry director-general Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican said the majority of cases were detected through house-to-house checks by ministry officers.
No new cases were reported from 17 of the 20 localities but the remaining three, which were newly detected areas would be monitored for the next two weeks, he said.
The three areas are Kg Bukit Bendar, Johor with eight cases, Sungkai, Perak with 20 cases and Kg Rasau and its surrounding areas in Perak with 90 cases.
Dr Ismail said besides active detection, fogging and “larviciding” had been carried out.
“Active health education has also been carried out through discussions, health advice and brochure distribution.
“The majority of cases are self-limiting and chikungunya does not cause bleeding or death,” he said.
He added that those who had been infected acquired life-long immunity from the disease.
Further information can be obtained from the ministry’s website, http://www.moh.gov.my or call 03-88810600/0700 during office hours.

July 30, 2008

Babies breast-fed for six months enjoy better health

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:53 am

NST: KUALA LUMPUR: Only two in seven infants here are breast-fed for the first four months of their life. This is two months short of the six months recommended by the World Health Organisation and the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef).
This is despite the fact that Malaysia is one of only three countries in the world, after Sweden and Oman, to have all its government hospitals accredited as baby friendly.
Instead of giving their infants the best start in life, parents are replacing mother’s milk with inferior substitutes like formula, cow’s milk, condensed milk, evaporated milk and even coffee, tea and sugar water.
Unicef Malaysia representative Youssouf Oomar said: “Not only are these substitutes inferior, they are also dangerous for babies to consume.
“Giving an infant any food or drink other than breast milk increases the risk of diarrhoea, pneumonia, ear infections, a runny nose and other infections. Breast-feeding reduces these risks.” he said in conjunction with World Breast-Feeding Week from Aug 1 to 7.
Infants who are correctly and exclusively breast-fed for the first six months get a head start in life, he said.
Breast-fed children are protected from infections, have better eyesight, higher IQs and are less likely to become overweight than those fed with substitutes.
And research has shown that babies who were breast-fed have fewer problems later in life with chronic diseases like asthma, diabetes and even cancer.
“Breast milk is essentially an infant’s ‘first immunisation’. These essential nutrients given at infancy help make a lasting impression on a child’s development and future,” he said.
Youssouf also pointed out that a mother’s own health can benefit from breast-feeding her child.
Equally important, he said, with rising food prices, breast-feeding helps families save RM85 to RM275 a month on infant food.
In conjunction with World Breast Feeding Week, Unicef is organising a forum on “Working Women and Breast-Feeding” at the Garden Hotel next to Mid Valley Megamall on Aug 1 from 10.30am to 5.30pm.

Tainted candy worth over RM1m seized

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:52 am

Star: KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry seized RM1.18mil worth of Hotton Vitality Candy, which is a type of health confectionary that can lead to heart failure and shortness of breath.
The candy, which contained aminotadalafil (tadalafil analogue), can also cause loss of sight through prolonged use or in high doses.
The ministry said in a statement that the candy was seized in raids on the importer in Damansara Jaya and the distributor in Bandar Puteri Puchong.
Tadalafil is a type of medicine used to treat erectile dysfunction and it has been confirmed safe for use for the ailment but the patient must first undergo medical examination.
In contrast the safety profile of its analogue has never been scientifically tested. Aminotadalafil (tadalafil analogue) is added in Hotton Vitality Candy to avoid detection by the authorities and to mislead the public into believing it is safe.
“Hotton Vitality Candy is marketed in a pack of four candies each with a different flavour namely ginger, coffee, cinnamon and mint. It is believed to be imported from Thailand and sold for RM5 each,” the statement said.
Manufacturers and distributors can be prosecuted in court under the Poisons Act and upon conviction can be fined up to RM5,000 and jailed up to two years or both. – Bernama

KK cardiac centre needs RM60m more to be built

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:50 am

Star: KOTA KINABALU: The Health Ministry is seeking an additional RM60mil for an urgently-required cardiac centre to be built here – the country’s fifth.
Health Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai said the Government had initially approved some RM80mil for the cardiac centre but the project cost had since jumped to RM140mil as the ministry had increased the scope of the works.
“The cost of the building itself is not that much but the bulk of the expenditure is for the specialised equipment needed there,” he told reporters after visiting the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) here yesterday.
He said the 100-bed cardiac centre would be a unit within QEH and would be the latest in the country after similar facilities built in Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Johor Baru and Kuching.
Liow said the centre was urgently needed as some 100 heart patients from Sabah were being sent to the National Heart Institute (IJN) every year for surgery.
In addition, there were about 174 open heart surgeries carried out in the state by IJN surgeons annually.
Meanwhile, Liow said that after personally seeing the overcrowding in some wards in QEH he had directed his ministry’s officers to speed up the construction of two more blocks of wards at the hospital.
He said the “twin towers” were due to be completed by 2010 and would increase the hospital’s capacity by 660 beds.
“The additional wards are very much needed. Some wards are so overcrowded that there are even beds along the corridors,” Liow said.
He said he had also approved an additional RM8mil for the hospital to acquire various equipment.

Ruling ‘will not solve shortage of doctors’

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:50 am

Star: PETALING JAYA: Discarding the mandatory three-year service in government hospitals for doctors serving abroad who want to return will not address the shortage in the public sector, said the Malaysian Medical Association.
Its president Datuk Dr Khoo Kah Lin said it would only create an imbalance between the public and private medical sectors.
“It will only open the gate for them to practise in the private sector, causing more imbalance,” he said in a statement on Monday.
“While we agree that the country needs more doctors in government service, there is much dissatisfaction in the sector, causing some 300 to 400 doctors resigning every year to practise privately.”
Dr Khoo added it would also be unfair to local graduates who need to complete three years of compulsory service and two years of housemanship.
Health Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai recently announced that specialists who have practised overseas for more than 10 years would be exempted from serving three years in government hospitals when they return.
The ruling applied to doctors aged 45 years and above, he said.
Dr Khoo said the reasons for the high rate of resignation included heavy workload, poor working conditions and low remuneration.
“The MMA would propose for these aspects to be improved, including creating more promotional posts, hastening the promotion process and revision of on-call allowance, specialist allowance and hardship allowance for doctors in rural areas,” he added.

July 29, 2008

Doctors against ministry’s proposal

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 3:57 pm

NST: KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) is unhappy with a proposed exemption from government service for doctors returning from abroad if they are 45 years or older.
MMA president Datuk Dr Khoo Kah Lin said this was not fair to local graduates who had to serve five years with the government, including two years of housemanship.
“There are already incentives for doctors who want to return from overseas and work in Malaysia. They include tax exemption on personal items, exemption of import and excise duties for two cars, and citizenship for spouses and children within six months of their return.”
Furthermore, he said, spouses with recognised qualifications and skills could apply for study pass from the Immigration Department.So far, only 100 doctors have returned.
Dr Khoo said the problem of insufficient doctors in government service would not be solved by such incentives to woo Malaysians working overseas.
He said the problem was of too many doctors leaving government service to go into private practice.
He said the high rate of resignations, of up to 400 doctors annually, was caused by dissatisfaction over the heavy workload, poor working conditions and low remuneration.
“MMA would like to propose to the health ministry to improve the remuneration, incentives, career development and working conditions for government doctors to discourage them from resigning.”
He said more promotional posts should be created.
“Promotions should be speeded up, while there should be a revision of on-call allowance, specialist allowance and hardship allowance for doctors working in rural areas, Sabah and Sarawak.”

Penans hit by malaria outbreak 18 farmers hospitalised

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 3:57 pm

Star: MIRI: An isolated semi-nomadic Penan community living deep in the interior of northern Sarawak near the Kalimantan border has been hit by malaria.
Medical teams rushed to the Bario highlands to treat the Penan farmers and 18 were flown out on emergency flights to Miri Hospital here, sources told The Star yesterday. The mosquito-borne disease can kill if those affected are not treated quickly.
State Assemblyman for Ba’Kelalan, Nelson Balang Rining, yesterday confirmed that the affected Penans are from his constituency.
“The information I have received so far indicated that these 18 Penans have been hospitalised. There are no fatalities. These Penans are from an isolated territory, not from the main Bario village itself.
“I’m told the health authorities have implemented urgent measures to prevent further infection in the Penan settlement,” he said.
Sarawak’s director for health and medical services department Dr Mohd Kamal Hassan confirmed that the department had initiated anti-malaria operations.
“We are still compiling the figures on how many have been infected. We have already sent our people to the affected areas to contain the situation and to take preventive measures,” he said.
The 18 hospitalised Penans had shown typical malaria symptoms like fever, shortness of breath, chills, nausea and flu.
While there is no known vaccine for malaria, those infected are usually treated with drugs such as quinine.

High risk of dengue after chikungunya

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 3:56 pm

Star: PETALING JAYA: The recent cases of chikungunya viral fever in Kampung Rasau near Slim River could also indicate a high risk of a dengue fever outbreak in the area, Health Ministry disease control director Datuk Dr Hasan Abdul Rahman said.
He said the ministry had dispatched health officials to conduct more fogging in the area to get rid of mosquitoes. Both chikungunya and dengue are spread by aedes mosquitoes.
Dr Hasan said the area had a high mosquito-breeding index of 3.7. The normal level should be at one.
On the chikungunya situation, he said that of the 107 people checked, six tested positive. They were given outpatient treatment.One person who had symptoms was admitted to hospital but it was due to high blood pressure.
Meanwhile, Slim River assemblyman Datuk Mohd Khusairi Abdul Talib said the chikungunya outbreak in Kampung Rasau could spread to other villages.
Khusairi, who visited villagers seeking treatment for the prolonged fever and joint pains at the Slim River health polyclinic yesterday, said he was concerned about the feedback he was getting from the villagers.
“Now I am told that it has spread to nearby villages such as Ulu Slim, Slim village, Bandar Baru Slim River, Kuala Slim, Kampung Bantang and Trolak.”
Khusairi, who was briefed on the disease by a doctor at the polyclinic, said whole families were reporting that they were down with prolonged fever, rashes and joint pains.
Last week, the polyclinic was treating between 25 and 30 patients with the same symptoms, he said. This week, the number has risen.
He advised the people to destroy mosquito-breeding grounds.
Housewife Rasida Ahmad, who was at the Slim River hospital caring for her five-year-old daughter Nur Hasmatul, said she was the first in her family to be down with prolonged fever, rashes and joint pains.
“My husband was the next. After that it was my two sons and two daughters,” she said.
Her mother-in-law Jaliah Md Dini, 67, had the same symptoms, she said, adding that the entire Kampung Rasau was down with the disease but many villagers did not want to be warded.

Making hospitals more friendly

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 3:56 pm

Star: SANDAKAN: The Health Ministry is implementing measures, including a standard operating procedure, to minimise complaints among patients in public hospitals and health centres.
A Patient Safety Council headed by the Director General of Health has also been set up to ensure that incidences of negligence are minimised.
Most of the complaints last year came from those who were not happy with services provided by doctors and nurses, minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai said after visiting the Duchess of Kent Hospital yesterday.

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