Materia Medica Malaysiana

November 7, 2008

67 issued summonses for puffing in non-smoking areas

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 11:10 am

Star: SHAH ALAM: The Selangor Health Depart­ment issued 67 summonses to smokers, including four women and eight foreigners, for lighting up in non-smoking areas yesterday.
All the offenders were caught smoking in public areas such as restaurants and shops in the PKNS shopping centre, Plaza Alam Sentral and SACC Mall during eight hours of enforcement from 10am.
Department director Dr Rosnah Hadis said the operation was the first after the Health Ministry widened the ban on smoking to more areas last month.
“Many still smoke at non-smoking areas despite various awareness campaigns and repeated warnings by the Health Ministry,” she told a press conference.
Dr Rosnah said those who received the summons were aged between 20 and 60.
They were required to settle their compounds within two weeks at any Health department office, she said.
A compound fine of up to RM5,000 or a maximum fine of RM10,000 or two years jail or both if the case goes to court awaits those who flout the law.
Dr Rosnah said the department carried out 123 operations in the state and issued 115 compounds to smokers from January to September this year.
She said 440 cases were brought to court with fines totalling RM29,804.
During the period, 26 teenagers aged 18 and below were compounded for smoking and having cigarettes.
Dr Rosnah urged business owners to display no-smoking signs at their premises or action could be taken against them for failing to do so.

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November 4, 2008

Experienced nurses to get higher pay

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 10:17 am

Star: KUALA LUMPUR: Government nurses with degrees can now reach higher pay grades un­­der the Health Ministry.
Health Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai said nurses with first degrees would be in pay grades from U41 to U54.
Currently, the highest pay grade nurses reach is U48.
The basic pay for fresh graduates in grade U41 is nearly RM2,000 per month excluding housing, personal, cost-of-living, critical post and public service allowances.
The salary with allowances for nurses at U48 is about RM8,000.
To reach the top grade of U54, nurses have to have at least a Masters, served more than 20 years as a nurse and have the necessary experience, skills and competence.
The U54 grade is normally for department directors who can be paid up to RM10,000 including allowances.
Medical assistants, X-ray technicians and health inspectors with degrees are also eligible for the same higher pay grades.
Liow said that by improving the overall sa­­lary of nurses, the ministry hoped they would be more focused on giving quality care.
“I hope these graduates will provide quality healthcare services not just by stressing on improving their knowledge and skills but also have positive values and attitudes towards patient care,” he said.
He told reporters this after witnessing the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the ministry and 24 public and private institutions of higher learning to use its facilities for various healthcare education programmes yesterday.
Liow said the higher pay scheme was also to stop nurses from leaving for higher salaries in countries like Dubai.
“This should be good news for nurses. Ma­­laysia cannot continue to have cheap labour. If we want to retain our workers, we can’t pay them less,” he said.
He added the country did not have enough nurses as the ratio was one nurse to 375 people.
“We need to reach one nurse to 200 residents to meet World Health Organisation standards by 2015,” he said.

Melamine scare: RM3.28m worth of China food products banned

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 10:16 am

Star: KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry has banned food products worth RM3.28mil from China due to the presence of melamine.
Health Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai said 366,681kg of food products that contained melamine were banned under the Food Act 1983.
“Until October, 360 types of food products were tested to determine their level of melamine content while products like chocolate, vegetables and fruits imported from China were continuously being monitored.
“31 types of biscuits were also tested and later banned due to the presence of melamine-tainted additive, ammonium bicarbonate, a raising agent, imported from China,” he told reporters Tuesday after winding up of the debate on the Supply Bill 2009 for his Ministry here.
Liow said his Ministry conducts test at reputable labs in the country that are able to identify even a small quantity of melamine in products.

November 3, 2008

1:200 nurse-patient ratio by 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 5:28 pm

Star: KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry is training 5,000 nurses annually to beef up the number of nurses in hospitals.
According to its minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai the current nurse to patient ratio is 1:375.
With the training of new nurses every year, the ministry hopes to improve this ratio to 1:200 by the year 2015.
He said this Monday at the signing of a five-year Memorandum of Understanding with 24 public and private institutions of higher learning to use the ministry’s facilities for nursing, dental and health sciences education programmes.
This brings the number of institutions that have an MoU with the ministry to a total of 48.

Restaurant owners will pay if patrons smoke

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 10:30 am

NST: SUBANG JAYA: The Health Ministry will intensify its enforcement to punish restaurant owners who allow smoking in air-conditioned restaurants.
Health Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai said the ministry had been receiving complaints from the public about smokers in air-conditioned restaurants, which are supposed to be smoke-free.
“If the owners want to have smoking areas, they should partition their restaurants and equip them with separate air-conditioning systems to prevent pollution,” he said after launching a Health Day campaign here yesterday.
Liow said, however, that there has been a sharp decline in the number of compound notices issued by the ministry this year to those who smoked in prohibited areas compared with the last two years.
The ministry had issued 2,622 compound notices from January to October, with fines amounting to RM564,170, compared with 7,166 in 2006 and 9,196 last year, the fines amounting to RM2,490,915 and RM3,071,474, respectively.
More than 85 per cent of this year’s compound cases have been settled while 44 per cent of 2006 cases and 40 per cent of those issued last year were settled.
Those who smoke in prohibited areas can be fined between RM300 and RM500. If they repeat the offence, the fine could reach RM10,000.
The ministry is also intensifying its efforts to nab retailers who sell cigarettes to underage smokers.

Nipah virus threat ‘under control’

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 10:29 am

NST: SUBANG JAYA: The Health Ministry has given an assurance that its Centre for Disease Control and Prevention is always on the alert for the Nipah virus.
“Our centre is advanced. In fact, we were the ones who identified the Nipah virus and we know how to control it,” Health Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai said after launching the Health Day campaign organised by the Women Development Organisation of Malaysia and Puchong MCA division here yesterday.
“We are confident if there is an outbreak, we will know the source and be able to handle it. I don’t think there is a threat here.”
Liow said there has been no new cases of the Nipah virus in the country since the 1998-1999 outbreak when more than 100 people died.
None of the 649 encephalitis cases reported to the ministry from 2000 to October this year was caused by the Nipah virus.
The minister was commenting on the New Sunday Times front-page report “Nipah virus still a threat”, which said that Universiti Malaya’s department of medicine did not rule out the possibility of another Nipah outbreak in the country.
The NST quoted the department’s consultant neurologist Dr Tan Chong Tin as saying the country was vulnerable as Bangladesh, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia and India have discovered bats infected with the Nipah virus.
Dr Tan had also said the movement of labour across borders could also pose a threat to Malaysia, home to migrant labour from these countries.
Liow said there was little evidence that the foreigners posed a threat. “The risk they carry is small or non-existent.”

November 2, 2008

Ministry warns of risks in using Osim and Surgipack hot/cold packs

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 10:27 am

Star: KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry yesterday warned the public against using hot/cold packs produced by Surgipack and Osim as they can cause side effects.
Its medical equipment bureau, in a statement here, said the ministry was recently informed by the Health Sciences Authority of Singapore through the Asean information sharing network that the hot/cold packs sold there contained ethylene glycol, a toxic substance that could affect the nervous system and eventually lead to renal failure.
The Health Sciences Authority listed the products as Surgipack Soft Hot/Cold Pack Large, Surgipack Soft Hot/Cold Pack Small, Soft R&R ColdHot Pack M, Soft R&R ColdHot Pack L, Osim uBaby Fever Band, Osim Shoulder PAd, Osim uKids Fever Band, Osim Face Mask, Osim Eye Mask and Osim Hot/Cold Com- press.
The bureau said the packs were safe to use if users followed the instructions on them.
“But users should not be exposed to the contents,” the statement said, adding that the danger lay in the plastic packs which could tear.
It advised those who wanted to continue using the products to contact the distributors to get full details first.
The statement also said the bureau had advised the manufacturers and distributors to voluntarily withdraw the products from the market.
Follow-up monitoring showed Surgipack is not sold in Malaysia while Osim has heeded the bureau’s advice, it added.

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