Materia Medica Malaysiana

August 26, 2008

Malaysian reaching puberty younger, says Liow

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 11:07 am

Star: GEORGE TOWN: Malaysian boys and girls are reaching puberty at a much younger age than the generations before them, said Health Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai.
He said that while girls attained menarche at the age of 12.6 years in 1994, many were now having their first menstruation when they are barely 10 years old.
“Early puberty and delayed marriage increases the opportunity for youths to cohabit outside of marriage,” he said when giving a talk on “Local Challenges of Malaysian Youth” at the National Day celebrations of the Methodist Boys School here yesterday.
He said a 1996 survey found that 1.8% of Malaysian youths admitted having premarital sex.
“In a similar survey conducted 10 years later, the prevalence of premarital sexual behaviour was 8% among boys and 1.9% among girls,” he said.
Replying to a question during a dialogue session with students later, Liow said there were many opportunities for youths to obtain tertiary education now compared to 20 years ago.
“When I was studying in university, there were only five public universities. Now there are 20 public universities, 18 private universities and about 500 colleges,” he said.
He said there was no reason for youths not to pursue tertiary education if their marks were good as they could easily obtain study loans from many institutions.
Former Penang Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, who is an old boy of the school, said only 2% of those aged 19 or 20 in the country could obtain places in Universiti Malaya in the 1960s and 1970s.
“Now, it has risen to more than 30% among the age group because of ample opportunities for tertiary education in the country,” he said.

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August 20, 2008

RM1.3m for Seberang Jaya Hospital

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 5:15 pm

Star: BUTTERWORTH: The Health Ministry will allocate RM1.3mil to the Seberang Jaya Hospital to overcome power supply problems and related technical difficulties, said Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai.
He also announced that the Ministry will give the hospital RM280,000 to upgrade the air handling units (AHU) in the hospital’s operation theatres.
“We are aware of the hospital’s space constraints due to rising numbers of patients.
“We will look into plans to build a new block in the hospital and provide 500 additional beds to the existing over 300,” he said during a visit to the hospital Wednesday.

Be courteous to your patients, Liow reminds new nurses

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 5:14 pm

Star: SEREMBAN: Medical assistants and nurses should be more courteous to patients, said Health Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai.
“We often hear of complaints from patients on the poor service at hospitals both in rural and urban areas.
“This happens because some of us have a negative attitude, poor communication skills and lack of respect for them … this is not good,” he said at the convocation of 1,290 nurses, medical assistants and community nurses at the Medical Assistants’ Training College (MATC).
His speech was read by state health, science, technology and innovation committee chairman Datuk Ismail Taib.
Liow said it was pointless if medical assistants and nurses were knowledgeable but lacked the human touch.
“Patients have different needs. This can be complex and sophisticated,” Liow added.
Liow said medical assistants and nurses must strive to improve because they formed the backbone of the medical industry.
“The three-year training for your diploma only gives you basic knowledge in this field. It is my hope that all of you would pursue advanced courses in specific fields,” he said, adding that courses like post-basic forensic medicine and sports medicine had already been made available by the ministry.
He said they should also believe in “lifelong learning” to keep abreast of developments in the medical field.
Of the 1,290 graduates, 718 were from the Port Dickson Community Nurses College, 299 from MATC and 273 from Seremban Nursing College.

August 19, 2008

Chikungunya virus still a threat in Johor, Perak

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 10:58 am

NST: MUAR: The Chikungunya outbreak in Negri Sembilan and Malacca was finally declared over but in Perak and Johor it was still being monitored, Health Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai said yesterday.
He said up to last Saturday, 835 people in Johor were down with Chikungunya, and Muar and Ledang had 71 cases.
Liow said to date, there was no casualty caused by the virus and he advised the public not to panic.
“The disease can be eliminated in the country if the people adhere to a simple formula by keeping their houses and compounds clean,” he said after visiting the Tangkak hospital in Ledang on Sunday.
Liow said there was no clinical proof of coconut water as an alternative cure for Chikungunya.
He agreed, however, that coconut water had a cooling effect and could help reduce the high temperature in patients suffering from the virus. He said it was generally accepted that coconut water was a nutritious drink and a thirst quencher.
Liow said although there was no known vaccine against the virus which was spread by the Aedes mosquito, the doctors in government hospitals and clinics have prescribed Voltaren, Indocid and Ponstan to reduce the pain suffered by victims of the virus.
He was asked to comment on the advice of Chinese physicians to drink coconut water, water chestnut or herbal medicine for those afflicted with Chikungunya as reported in the New Sunday Times.
“Unless the Chinese physicians can substantiate the claim with scientific proof that coconut water can cure Chikungunya, the Health Ministry will not endorse the claim.”
Chikungunya is endemic in many countries such as India, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, and sub-Saharan Africa.
The first Chikungunya outbreak in Malaysia was recorded in 1999.

Doctors ‘giving fitness certs without examining drivers’

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 10:57 am

NST: KUALA LUMPUR: Doctors have been accused of issuing physical fitness certificates to commercial vehicle drivers without examining them.
While refusing to reveal details, Transport Minister Da-tuk Ong Tee Keat confirmed the problem existed as his officers had gone undercover to check on the complaints.
“We cannot wait until the problem is rampant. We must take the bull by its horns,” Ong said after officiating the Sweden-Malaysia International Road Safety Seminar at a hotel here yesterday.
All commercial vehicle drivers must undergo a medical examination as a prerequisite to renew the class E licence annually.
Random investigations revealed that most cases involved clinics and runners.
Ong also said that his ministry was revising the eKesihatan scheme. The system, proposed last year, was supposed to allow the annual health checks of commercial vehicle drivers to be electronically submitted to the Road Transport Department.
However, it was criticised by doctors, taxi and bus operators who claimed that the scheme was a money-making operation.
Ong said the ministry was practising “positive engagement” with all stakeholders to obtain their views and opinions. The ministry will also look into the medical tests to determine whether “they serve the purpose”.

Tee Keat: Errant clinics a snag to eKesihatan

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 10:57 am

Star: KUALA LUMPUR: Commercial drivers who pay off medical practitioners to pass their check-ups for their permits are the biggest hurdles to the revamp of the eKesihatan system.
“I view this with great concern and I’ve sent my boys to the ground to see how these people do it,” said Transport Minister Datuk Ong Tee Keat.
He added that errant medical practitioners were usually clinics and it also involved runners acting on the drivers’ behalf.
“Yes, it is corruption. When I talked to the (transport) operators, they said they don’t want to be the target of a witch-hunt,” he said, adding that the corporate sector needed to take greater responsibility to follow health, safety and environmental regulations.
He was speaking to the press after launching the second Sweden-Malaysia International Road Safety Seminar here yesterday.
Ong also said the test formats of the system and the fee structure would need to be revised to revive the eKesihatan system.
“There are several formats for the test. Do they serve the purpose or not?” he asked, adding that the Health Ministry and Koperasi Doktor Malaysia were consulted on the project.
Ong also said the fees related to eKesihatan would be revised to make it more affordable for the drivers and the corporate sector.
He said the revamp of the online system would take time as associations related to commercial vehicles and the medical practitioners had to be consulted.
The eKesihatan system would allow appointed clinics to send medical reports of commercial vehicle drivers directly to the Road Transport Department.
The system to be implemented in October last year was suspended pending further discussions.

Chikungunya and dengue situation in Perak, Negri and KL has improved

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 10:55 am

Star: TANGKAK: The chikungunya and dengue fever outbreaks in Perak, Negri Sembilan and Kuala Lumpur are under control.
Health Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai urged the people to help clean up villages, housing areas and towns to ensure their premises do not become mosquito-breeding grounds.
He said that apart from the three areas, Johor and Malacca too had been affected by the chikungunya outbreak.
He added that the ministry had declared an all-out war against the culprit mosquitoes to further curb the menace.
Liow, who was earlier briefed on the chikungunya outbreak by Muar Health Department officer Dr Mohd Zulkifli Othman, said that as of Sunday Johor had recorded more than 830 cases of chikungunya.
He said the ministry had set up special units to monitor all affected areas and taken preventive measures, including fogging, to curb the spread of the disease.
On the shortage of doctors in government hospitals, Liow said the ministry would implement measures to increase their numbers, especially in Johor, Sabah and Sarawak.
He said one way was to increase the number of new doctors in big hospitals so that experienced professionals could become visiting doctors at smaller hospitals.
“We will also resolve the shortage by asking the Public Services Department to take in more doctors immediately, and we will also engage foreign doctors,” he added.
“I have directed the ministry’s director-general to expedite the plan, and also to recall local doctors now serving abroad.”

August 14, 2008

Malaysian invention eases effects of knee surgery

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 11:23 am

NST: KANGAR: Researchers from Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP) are offering relief to knee surgery patients.
A team from the university’s school of mechatronics engineering has developed a computer program for orthopaedic surgeons to use in surgeries involving the knee joints.
The software, known as the Virtual Arthroscopy Knee Reconstruction or VR-AKR, won a special humanitarian award at the annual Invention and New Products Exposition (Inpex) in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania in the United States.
The invention also won a gold and two silver medals in three other categories at the exposition in June.
In a nutshell, the software provides visual assistance to surgeons through the use of three-dimensional images of the knee joints during surgery. It has been developed specifically for arthroscopy knee construction.
Prof Dr Kenneth Sundaraj, who is leading the research team, said the VR-AKR would hopefully lessen the after-effects of knee surgery for patients.
He said medical specialists reported that about 65 per cent of patients with knee-related conditions complained of joint discomfort after surgery.
Sundaraj said the VR-AKR idea came about following the government’s call for more innovation in the biomedical sector.
“One of my interests is virtual reality and I want to heed the government’s call for more serious involvement in the biomedical sector. I feel engineers from various fields can contribute to biotechnology.”
Sundaraj holds a doctorate in robotics from the National Polytechnics Institute in Grenoble, France. He previously graduated in the same field from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
Describing the win at Inpex as unexpected, Sundaraj said it was an honour to contest alongside inventors from more than 20 countries with almost 800 products.
Inpex, one of the biggest invention trade shows in the US, provides a platform for inventors to showcase their creations and establish links with companies interested in licensing, marketing and manufacturing their products.
“UniMAP’s dean of the school of engineering and the research unit, the deputy vice-chancellor of research and innovation and the vice-chancellor himself, have always supported my work. This victory is as much theirs as it is mine.”
Not one to rest on his laurels, Sundaraj and his research students will continue tweaking their invention to suit the ever-changing world of medical technology.
Following clinical trials in France, plans are under way for more tests at local medical institutions.
“We have shown it to surgeons in France. It received good response there. We are now seeking partners in Malaysia.”

Concern over rising kidney patients

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 11:22 am

NST: PETALING JAYA: There are 18,000 kidney patients undergoing haemodialysis treatment in the country and the number is expected to rise to 20,000 in two years.
National Kidney Foundation of Malaysia medical director Dr K. Sivashanker said the trend was worrying as every year between 2,500 and 3,000 Malaysians were diagnosed with kidney failure.
“There were only 3,698 people undergoing dialysis in 1996 and now it has soared to 18,000,” he said at the launch of the haemodialysis subsidy programme by SP Setia Foundation yesterday.
The foundation has pledged RM600,000 annually to subsidise kidney patients from low-income families in need of haemodialysis treatment, a move Dr Sivashanker described as timely.
It costs a patient RM110 per treatment at a non-profit haemodialysis centre.
He said the Health Ministry provided a subsidy of RM50 per treatment for households earning less than RM5,000 a month.He said on average, a kidney patient needed to undergo three treatments a week which amounts to RM780 per month. If additional treatment is required, the bill can come up to RM1,500 a month.
The foundation’s chairman, Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, said they had always been sensitive to Malaysians who found it difficult to pay for their medical treatment.
“Every year we set aside RM4 million to help the needy.
“Now we pledge RM600,000 every year to help at least 100 poor kidney patients undergo dialysis free of charge at 28 non-proft haemodialysis centres in the Klang Valley, Penang and Johor.”

August 12, 2008

Malacca varsity still recognised by India

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 11:01 am

NST: KUALA LUMPUR: Students at the Malacca-Manipal Medical University (MMMC) can breathe easy.
The university is still recognised by Indian medical authorities, who recently recommended the de-recognition of the Kasturba Medical Colleges (KMC) in Manipal and Mangalore which are affiliated to the Manipal University.
Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) president Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican said the decision only affected the two KMCs and had no bearing on the MMMC.
“The MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Sur-gery) degree from MMMC has been recognised by the MMC since July 2003 and its graduates allowed to register as medical practitioners in Malaysia.”
Dr Ismail said the MMMC was registered and licensed with the Higher Education Ministry to conduct the MBBS programme in collaboration with the Manipal University.
“As the MMMC never sought recognition from the Medical Council of India (MCI), it has never been placed under the latter’s purview. Hence, the ruling doesn’t affect the MMMC.”
He said the MMC had also been informed in writing by Manipal University that the MCI was only a recommendatory body and that the power to recognise or de-recognise lay with the Indian health and family welfare ministry.
“I advise parents and students not to be worried as the MMC is monitoring the situation.”

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