Monday, January 31, 2005

Measures in place to keep bird flu at bay

Necessary measures have been put in place to ensure that the avian flu does not return to Malaysia, said Veterinary services Department director-general Datuk Dr Hawari Hussein.
“We have continued with the measures that were put in place since we were declared free from the bird flu previously,” he said, when contacted yesterday.
Dr Hawari said among the measures were not importing poultry from the affected countries, putting up border controls and monitoring movement of poultry within the country.
Dengue: No PE for Pahang students

Schools in the State have been ordered to cease all outdoor physical education lessons to prevent students from being exposed to Aedes mosquitoes.
Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakub said the move was necessary as such lessons, especially in the late afternoon, were held when the mosquitoes carrying the dengue virus were active.
The State Health Department has advised that the danger posed by mosquitoes was at its peak between 6am and 8am, and 4pm and 7pm.
Adnan, who is also State Health Committee chairman, said the Education Ministry would be informed of the State Government's decision tomorrow.
"We are not taking any chances and will do everything necessary to lessen the risk of students being infected by the disease," he said after a meeting with Entrepreneur and Co-operative Development Minister Datuk Khaled Nordin today.

No Possibility Of Measles Outbreak During CNY Period, Says Dr Soon

SIBU, Jan 31 (Bernama) -- There is no possibility of a measles outbreak in the state during the coming Chinese New Year festival period, Assistant Housing Minister Dr Soon Choon Teck said Monday.
He said that as long as the children and adults had received their immunisation, usually early in their lives, they were not likely to catch the sickness.
There has been fear among the people that the sickness will spread following a lot of movement to other parts of the state of those from the affected areas in Bakun in view of the long holidays ahead.
Speaking to reporters after presenting "angpow" and goodies from Sports Toto Malaysia to about 200 elderly folk here, Dr Soon advised parents who had yet to get their children immunised to visit their nearest clinics immediately.
He believed that the 13 Penan children and an adult who died of the sickness recently could have not received their immunisation due to their nomadic lifestyle and ignorance of health requirements.
Dr Soon meanwhile hoped that the still nomadic ones among the 1,000- odd Penans in the jungles of Kapit, Bintulu, Miri and Limbang Divisions would one day accept efforts to resettle them.
"By doing so, their children will benefit from education, health facilities and generally a better and healthier lifestyle," he said.
He said that although the state government was at present providing the flying doctor service particularly in isolated rural areas and settlements, it could not effectively serve them as it was difficult to locate them when they move around in the vast jungles.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Appeal for resident doctor in Bakun

MIRI: The Bakun region, where a measles outbreak recently killed 14 Penans, should have a resident doctor as the population has doubled in recent years, said Ulu Rejang MP Billy Abit Joo.
He said the region had some 20,000 people living in and around the RM6bil hydroelectric dam and the nearest doctor was stationed hundreds of kilometres away in Bintulu and Kapit.
“Initially, there were about 10,000 people living in 15 longhouses in the areas affected by the dam project.
“After they were relocated to the Sungai Asap resettlement scheme (in 1998), their population increased to about 15,000.
“Add the number of migrant workers who have entered Bakun to work at the dam, oil palm plantations and the timber sector, the total population is now at least 20,000.
“Not a single doctor is stationed in the Sungai Asap clinic, only medical assistants. The nearest doctor is several hundreds of kilometres away,” he said.
Abit said he had proposed to the Health Ministry that the Sungai Asap clinic be upgraded to a hospital to meet the growing needs of the people in Bakun.
Soaring on the wings of words

FOR three days in a row late last year, the International Medical University (IMU) was abuzz with 108 fluent debaters from varsities nationwide.
The debaters had congregated there for the third National Health Sciences Debate (NHSD) organised by the IMU debating society.
First organised by IMU in 2002 in conjunction with its 10th anniversary celebrations, the NHSD aims to enhance awareness on health issues, develop presentation and public speaking skills, hone analytical thinking, and nurture social skills such as cooperation and teamwork among young people.
NHSD convener Thavenesh said: “Every year, we see an increase in the number of participating teams and colleges. We look forward to enhancing our knowledge and learning from each other.”
To help teams participating for the first time, a workshop was conducted by NHSD deputy chief adjudicator Dr Muthu prior to the commencement of the debates.
The teams that made it into the finals were UKM for opening government, UiTM Shah Alam for opening opposition, IIUM for closing government and MMU for closing opposition. They debated on the motion "Schizophrenics should not be allowed to have children."
All four teams delivered their arguments with ease and confidence, and put up a show which fully met the expectations of the audience.
MMU took home the championship. Mohd Syakri and Suthen Thomas won RM2,000 prize money sponsored by IMU and two psychology books sponsored by Eli Lilly Sdn Bhd.
First runner up UKM walked away with RM1,000.
Second runner up UiTM Shah Alam won RM500 while third runner up IIUM bagged RM250.
The best overall speaker award went to UiTM’s Danial Amir.
City Hall Officers To Check Houses For Aedes At Night

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 30 (Bernama) -- Kuala Lumpur City Hall officers will check houses for larvae of aedes mosquitoes, the carriers of dengue virus, at night from Wednesday since day-time visits are usually aborted by locked gates.
Datuk Bandar Datuk Ruslin Hassan said the inspections would be made from 6pm to 10pm.
"We hope the public will not be alarmed by our night-time visits. Our officers will wear a special City Hall uniform and the public can ask for their authority cards to check their identities if there is any doubt," he said at a media conference Sunday after taking part in a gotong royong clean-up as part of the ongoing activities to prevent the spread of dengue.
Ruslin said the night inspection would start in Kampung Baru before moving on to other parts of the city.
The maximum compound of RM500 might be imposed for each breeding ground of aedes in residential houses and RM1,000 for construction sites, he said.
This month, the number of suspected dengue fever cases reported in the city climbed from 197 in the first week to 237 in the fourth week.
During the period, there were 25 confirmed dengue cases and four deaths.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Malaysia has network to monitor bird flu

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has a reliable network of clinics and hospitals to monitor cases of influenza and avian flu, said Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek.
He said the network comprised 135 hospitals and almost 4,000 clinics.
“If the increase (in flu cases) is dramatic, they would report to the state-level disease control division, and then to the national level,” he told reporters after presenting Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points and Halal certifications to Sime Oleander Sdn Bhd here yesterday.
Dr Chua said Malaysia was on high alert for avian flu following fears that the country would be exposed to the disease after nine deaths were reported in Vietnam since Dec 30.
“When a place has an increase of influenza-like symptoms, we will send a public health team to investigate,” he said.
Dr Chua added that surveillance, which had two parts, would be carried out.
He said passive surveillance was compulsory reporting of cases while active monitoring would include examining everyone within a 1km radius.
“Each state has the facilities to make visits, and workers who are exposed to the disease are advised to wear gloves and face masks,” Dr Chua said, adding that his ministry was working closely with the Agriculture Ministry on the matter.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Four New Measles Cases In Sarawak

KOTA SAMARAHAN, Jan 28 (Bernama) -- Four new measles cases have been reported in the Penan community in Sungai Asap, Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan said Friday.
Three of the cases were admitted to the Bintulu Hospital yesterday evening and one this morning," he said, adding that all four were adults.
This brought to 11 the number of patients still under treatment, he told reporters after making an official visit to Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) here.
Asked to comment on a news report today that four Penan had died in the measles outbreak in two settlements in Belaga district in the last few days, Dr Chan said that this was not confirmed yet.
He gave an assurance that the situation was under control.
‘Breast cancer survivors to ‘walk with pride’ on July 31

KUALA LUMPUR: Being a breast cancer survivor herself, Datin Paduka Seri Endon Mahmood knows that it is possible to fight the disease.
This is why the chairman of Yayasan Budi Penyayang Malaysia (Penyayang) will lend her support to a charity fashion show co-organised by Pink Ribbon Deeds (PRIDE), Penyayang and University of Bristol Alumni Association.
Called Walk with Pride, the event will be launched by Endon on July 31 and will see breast cancer survivors parade in fashionable outfits by local and international designers.
Endon, who is the wife of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, said she had attended a similar event in London last October held by Breast Cancer Care and she was moved by the event.
“Being a survivor myself, I found the fashion show to be uplifting and personally moving.
Blood bank needs to shore up platelet supplies

KUALA LUMPUR: The blood supply at the National Blood Centre will dry up if blood donations stop for just two days.
It is, therefore, urgently appealing to the public to donate more blood.
Platelets is a component of human blood needed to stop internal and external bleeding. As of yesterday, there were 398 units of platelets stored at the centre.
“We usually maintain a supply of at least 400 units of platelets daily but with dengue cases going up, we would prefer to play it safe,” its deputy-director Dr Norhanim Asidin said yesterday.
“They are required to stop internal bleeding in dengue victims, but the cells only live for five days,” she said yesterday .
‘Malaysia on alert over re-emergence of bird flu’, Dr Chua

The re-emergence of the bird flu in Vietnam and Thailand has prompted the Health Ministry to put its medical staff on 24-hour alert.
Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek said all medical staff had been put on alert in the 135 government hospitals and more than 4,000 health clinics nationwide to look out for patients with the avian flu symptoms - flu, sore throat, fever, cough or running nose.
“If they notice a sudden increase in people showing these symptoms, they are to immediately check if there has been an unusual number of deaths of birds in the area the victims come from,” he added.
It is a must for all hospitals and health clinics to immediately alert the State Health Departments if they came across suspected avian flu cases, Chua said after presenting the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) and Halal certification to Sime Oleandar Sdn Bhd for its mineral water plant in Kuching.
He added that it was mandatory for all State Health Departments, private hospitals and clinics to notify the ministry’s Communicable Disease Control Division in Putrajaya of suspected bird flu cases.
“Even a one per cent increase in the number of people seeking treatment for influenza in a particular centre needs to be investigated.”
EDITORIAL: One year is too long

IT is no longer news that many foreign workers are a health hazard because they suffer from communicable diseases.
More than 10 years ago, the Health authorities were already ringing the alarm bells because migrant labour had been identified as a major factor for the rising incidence of infectious diseases such as TB and leprosy which had once been brought under control and almost eradicated.
The fact that the health of foreign workers - or rather, their lack of health - has made the news again and again since then shows the lack of progress in efforts to ensure that only healthy workers enter the country.
Fomema reported in 1998 that more than 16,000 foreign workers were found to be unfit compared to more than 18,500 last year. Admittedly, the percentage had dropped from 3.8 per cent of the migrant labour population in 1998 to 2.6 per cent in 2004.
Nevertheless, the undiminished size of the foreign worker population which has been certified unfit for work every year was worrying enough for the Cabinet Committee on Health and Cleanliness to decide in October last year that a more stringent health screening in the form of a mandatory medical check-up a month after their arrival was needed.
However, it was clear from what was said by the Health Ministry parliamentary secretary on Tuesday that this has turned out to be nothing more than a "proposal" that needed to be "studied" before a decision was made. In the meantime, Fomema has suggested a medical examination "upon arrival" rather than after one month.
It is hoped that the Government does not allow these ideas to incubate for too long. Whether it is one month after arrival or upon arrival, it is clear that the present compulsory medical check-up one year after entry is unsatisfactory and inadequate and has to be changed.
15,000 HIV, TB foreign workers deported

More than 15,000 foreign workers were sent home last year after being found afflicted with tuberculosis (TB) and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).
This was detected in medical tests carried out after they had worked for a year.
Pantai Holdings Berhad chairman Datuk Dr Ridzwan Bakar said this was worrying as the foreign workers could have spread the diseases to Malaysians during their one-year stay.
Furthermore, he added, studies showed there had been an increase in Malaysians suffering from TB and other infectious diseases, believed to have been transmitted by foreign workers.
Baby-For-Sale Racket: Private clinic in Sentul under probe, say police

A clinic in Sentul is under investigation for links to a syndicate involved in the sale of babies.
City police chief Deputy Commissioner Datuk Mustaffa Abdullah said yesterday the private clinic delivered the baby which was rescued on Dec 12 by Sentul police.
“We are keen to know why it was easy for the clinic to issue a birth card for the baby’s mother,” Mustaffa said.
On the involvement of National Registration Department (NRD) staff in the issuing of birth certificates for the babies, he said investigations so far have not implicated any one from the department.
Mustaffa said police have identified some suspects but no arrest has been made. He added that police were also tracking down 27 babies believed to have been sold by the syndicate since June last year.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Board cannot query medical methods

KUANTAN: Members of the Tengku Ampuan Afzan Hospital (HTAA) board of visitors were reminded that they could not question medical procedures carried out at the hospital.
Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek said it had never been the Government's intention for the board to do so.
Replying to a board member during a dialogue with HTAA staff here on Tuesday, he said that if board members were allowed to question the medical procedures, it would put to question the professionalism of the medical officers.
However, the board could question the medical officers if a patient had to wait hours before being treated, he added.
“The board is the link between the hospital and the private sector,” he said.
Dr Chua also said that doctors should not be choosy.
“I do not agree when you say that the pasture is always greener on the other side, but I do agree that there is a disparity in the salary of a doctor in a private hospital and one who works in a public hospital,” he said.
Malaysia free from Coxsackie virus

KUALA LUMPUR: Health Ministry disease control director Dr Ramlee Rahmat has given his assurance that the country is free from Coxsackie virus.
He said there were several cases in Penang about two weeks ago that were classified as suffering from the virus.
“But they were not. Those were hand, foot and mouth (HFM) cases. So, we are cleared of Coxsackie,” said Dr Ramlee when contacted yesterday.
Asked if he had heard that Coxsackie was making a comeback in some parts of the country, he said: “I did not.”
It was reported earlier this month that 37 children in Penang had come down with the hand-foot-mouth disease since Jan 1.
Dr Ramlee had said there were 67 enteroviruses known to have caused HFM disease.
It is believed that the enterovirus 71, the most dangerous of the enterovirus family, killed many of the 31 children during an outbreak in 1997.
Since 2000, Penang recorded many HFM cases. In 2000, there were 459 cases followed by 776 in 2001, 1,384 in 2002, 436 in 2003 and 364 last year.
Many children below five years old in Penang could have come down with HFM because of poor personal hygiene and improper sanitation.
Dr Ramlee said the 334 sentinel centres – 106 private and 119 Government health clinics and 109 treatment centres nationwide – were closely monitoring the situation.
He said specimens taken from HFM disease victims had been sent for analysis.
Mentakab Hospital Conducts Dengue Checks Every Three Days

KUANTAN, Jan 26 (Bernama) -- The Mentakab Hospital, which was among 142 premises issued compound notices for breeding the Aedes mosquito, has taken the initiative to conduct dengue checks every three days.
Its director, Dr Bahari Che Awang Ngah, told Bernama here Wednesday that apart from conducting regular checks, the surrounding areas and drains would also be cleaned.
He said that since the Aedes mosquito can breed in just three days, it is important to carry out checks every three days to ensure an Aedes-free environment.
"Previously, we conducted checks twice a week but since the number of dengue cases had increased we need to be more alert," he said.
Dr Bahari said the hospital had been issued a compound notice by the Pahang Health Department and the hospital had been taking various initiatives to avoid a similar occurrence.
Tuesday, Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek said 17,555 premises in Pahang were inspected and the Mentakab Hospital was among the 142 issued compound notices carrying a RM500 fine.
Dr Chua had said that the action to compound even a hospital shows that the ministry would not favour any government department or agency.
Pigs Died Of Fever And Poisoning, Not Japanese Encephalitis

MELAKA, Jan 26 (Bernama) -- Early reports indicate the cause of death of more than 100 pigs in Kampung Paya Mengkuang in Alor Gajah to be due to acute swine fever and suspected poisoning.
State Chairman for Human Resources, Health and Consumer Affairs Datuk Seah Kwi Tong urged the people not to panic, as the deaths had nothing to do with the Japanese Encephalitis (JE) virus.
"The deaths occurred in a single shed and did not spread to surrounding sheds or to humans," he told reporters here Wednesday.
He was commenting on reports by several newspapers on the deaths of 120 pigs in a farm in the village over the last five days.
He said the initial reports were based on post-mortem conducted on two carcasses by a private doctor from Shah Alam, Selangor.
According to Seah, as a precautionary measure, the movement of the pigs in the farm had been restricted since last Sunday.
"We also contacted the Veterinary Laboratory in Petaling Jaya last Monday to investigate the disease affecting the pigs," he said.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Pantai to panel for more international insurers

Pantai Holdings Bhd, which has been appointed to the panel of two UK-based health insurance companies, is seeking more such appointments by international insurance firms for the seven Pantai hospitals to boost the group's health tourism business.
The hospital group was appointed by global healthcare organisation BUPA International in June 2004, while the appointment by AXA PPP came in a month ago.
Pantai chairman Datuk Ridzwan Abu Bakar said BUPA International had four million members in nearly 190 countries and was one of the most reputable and leading third-party administrators. Its clients include multinational companies such as Shell.
He said since its appointment by BUPA International, at least 12 foreign patients covered by the insurer had been treated in Pantai hospitals.
AXA PPP is one of UK’s leading medical insurers. It has been providing international medical insurance for over 30 years.
“This is a strategic move for Pantai to attract foreign patients to seek treatment in Malaysia. Not only can valid cardholders obtain services without paying cash upfront, they will also be obtaining internationally recognised healthcare,” said Ridzwan.
Speaking to reporters after a media luncheon in Petaling Jaya on Jan 26, he said the group expected to ink another agreement with a Belgium-based insurance company in the next few weeks.
Houseman's salary scale being revised

It was an embarrassing admission, but Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek managed to keep a straight face when he said a fast food outlet worker may actually earn more than a houseman.
Fielding questions during a dialogue with staff of the Tengku Ampuan Afzan Hospital here today, Dr Chua said the Government realised the low allowance paid to trainee doctors doing their housemanship in a government hospitals.
He said his Ministry is in the process of revising its scale.
"Please be patient, it may take some time but we are trying our best in this matter," he added.
A trainee doctor currently receives an allowance of RM25 when assigned to a round-the-clock on-call duty.
In contrast, a staff nurse is paid RM7 per hour when on such duty.
Mentakab Hospital fined for breeding mosquitoes

KUANTAN: The state Health Department issued 142 compounds, among them a district hospital and a government rural clinic, after the premises were found to be aedes breeding ground.
Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek said the hospital was Mentakab Hospital while the clinic was in Temerloh.
“This goes to show that the Health Department does not show favouritism when carrying out its enforcement.
“The hospital and clinic are among 17,555 premises which have been inspected for the last three weeks,” he told reporters after meeting the Tengku Ampuan Afzan Hospital staff here yesterday.
When asked who would pay for the compounds issued to the hospital and clinic, Chua said it would be the responsibility of those taking care of the premises’ maintenance.
Normally, a private company would conduct maintenance works and so that company would have to pay, he added.
Chua also said that out of the 17,555 premises checked, 334 were found to be aedes-breeding ground.
Pahang also registered an increase in dengue cases with 30 cases reported each week last year, said Chua.
However, the number rose to more than 60 cases a week for the past three weeks and this included a death, he added.
On the measles outbreak in Bakun, Chua said the Sarawak Health Department had put it under control.
“They have deployed 11 medical teams to the area and they have also begun to vaccinate the Penans.
“A total of 747 have been vaccinated,” he said.
On the source of the disease, Chua said it originated from an Iban returned to her husband's Penan village in Long Urun in Kapit Division.
“She was already sick at that time,” said Chua, adding, she has now recovered. Thirteen children and one adult who were infected died.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Measles Outbreak Not Due To New Strain

KUCHING, Jan 25 (Bernama) -- The measles outbreak which killed 13 Penan children and one adult in Long Urun in the Bakun area last month was not caused by a new strain of the disease, Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan said Tuesday.
Dr Chan, who is also state Modernisation of Agriculture Minister, said samples analysed by a team from the Sarawak Medical Department and Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) confirmed the virus was not a mutated strain.
"With this strain, the ongoing vaccination of about 700 Penans in the affected settlements takes only 72 hours to be effective. They will be protected against the disease," he told reporters after opening Sarawak Agriculture Department's Senior Officers' Conference in Damai about 35km from here.
The Health Ministry in Kuala Lumpur had been expected to send an investigating team to Sarawak if the results revealed a new strain.
Dr Chan said the semi-nomadic Penans in the Bakun area had not been exposed to measles and so did not develop an immune system naturally.
Apart from the 35 Penan patients, whose conditions were improving at the Bintulu Hospital, no new cases had been reported since yesterday, he said.
Due to the difficult terrain and remoteness of their temporary settlements in Long Urun, he said the flying doctor's service using helicopters had been deployed with 12 medical teams, comprising five personnel each, to vaccinate them.
"It is one of the unfortunate things that it is quite difficult to vaccinate them in the jungle but we have to try our best to get as many (Penans) as possible," he said.
It takes about three hours by logging road to reach Long Urun from the Sungai Asap Resettlement Scheme at Bakun and another three hours from there to Bintulu.
The first death was reported on Dec 27 last year and the last on Jan 11.
Spiritual healers still in demand

Malaysians strongly prefer modern medicine, but will turn unhesitatingly to spiritual healers for severe or inexplicable ailments.
In a nationwide survey carried out late last year, 90 per cent of respondents said they would readily turn to doctors and specialists - but one in eight also said they trusted spiritual healers.
Malays registered the highest level of such trust on spiritual healers, at 82 per cent, while the Chinese were the lowest at 42 per cent.
The poll, conducted by Merdeka Centre for Opinion Research, also revealed that a third of Malaysians have tried spiritual healing methods in the past, seeking help from the bomoh, monks or priests.
Interestingly, those who seek spiritual help cut across all divides of ethnicity, age, gender, education and rural/urban areas.
The only significant difference is that those in higher income groups do not trust faith healers as much as those who earn less.
Prof Shamsul Amri Baharuddin of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia said the decision to turn to spiritual healers was not irrational. It made political and economic sense, because such help could be friendlier and more accessible.
There is no bureaucracy separating the sick person and the healer.
Hence, it would be natural for the poor to seek traditional or alternative help.
People in the higher income bracket, he said, would go to doctors because they lived in urban areas and would be covered by medical insurance.
Shamsul said he was not surprised that Malaysian society was comfortable with both modern and traditional healers.
"It is a demonstration of our tolerance and acceptance of different world views," he said; "of our ability to operate in two different systems."
"Each healing method has its strong points.
" Our problem is, when we discuss and compare them, the negative elements are usually highlighted.
"Yes, we read and hear about bomohs raping young and unsuspecting women, but there are also doctors facing malpractice suits."
The modern medicine man, Shamsul added, could not handle everything.
When there are different healing systems, people can seek refuge in the one that gives them most comfort and meaning.
The poll of over 800 respondents, supported by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, is the second in a series tailored for the New Straits Times. The first, last November, looked at how Malaysians managed daily work and other pressures.
In the second survey, which focused on lifestyle and health issues, it was revealed that two-thirds of Malaysians had no medical insurance coverage.
Malays were least likely to have coverage (76 per cent), as compared to the Indians (48 per cent) and the Chinese (41 per cent).
Coverage was expectedly lowest among the young, but also worrisomely absent among those 50 and above.
Of those with insurance coverage, 80 per cent acquired it themselves while 10 per cent were covered by employers.
This data tallies with the high percentage of Malays (74 per cent) and Indians (54 per cent) who favoured public healthcare.
Two-thirds of those in rural areas opt for public hospitals, against fewer than half - 42 per cent -who live in urban centres.
Despite the constant complaints and letters to newspapers about the quality of care in public hospitals, 69 per cent reported that they were satisfied with service from such hospitals.
Malays (38 per cent) and Indians (51 per cent) were more satisfied with public medical facilities, compared to only five per cent of Chinese respondents expressing such sentiments.
On areas needing improvement, waiting time was cited as the most critical.
The poll also found that two-thirds of Malaysians visit the doctor at least once a year.
Less than one in 10 did not go to a doctor at all, while Malays and Indians tended to report the highest number of visits.
The Chinese tend to self-medicate or take home remedies.
Finally, the poll noted that cancer invoked the greatest concern among most Malaysians (31 per cent), followed by heart problems (15 per cent) and diabetes (11 per cent).
Almost half of the Chinese respondents were not at all concerned about this, perhaps indicating how health is seen as an integral part of one's luck and fortune.
Compared to the Chinese, the Malays and Indians were inordinately concerned about illnesses.
Overall, the poll found that despite the concerns of respective ethnic groups, nearly two-thirds of Malaysians felt they were in "good" or "extremely good" health.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

14 Penans die in measles outbreak

MIRI: Thirteen children and an adult from a Penan community have died in a measles outbreak in the Bakun region.
Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan Hong Nam said a total of 66 measles cases had been recorded, with 14 deaths and some other cases which were “quite serious”.
“We are trying to find out whether this is a new strain of the virus and why the outbreak is so serious,” he added.
Dr Chan said those who died were from a longhouse in Sungai Urun in Belaga, located near the Bakun project site and 150km inland from Bintulu.
“Quite a number of cases have been rushed to Bintulu Hospital, some of them from the Sungai Asap resettlement scheme,” he told reporters here yesterday.
The dead were 13 children, aged three months to five years, and a man.
According to Dr Chan, who received the latest report on the outbreak from the state Health and Medical Services Department last night, the Penan community in Sungai Urun had never been exposed to measles.
However, one of them married an Iban woman from outside Belaga and the couple returned to the settlement recently.
The outbreak started some three weeks ago, with the last death recorded just a few days ago.
“From the report received, the deaths are due to complications, possibly pneumonia,” Dr Chan said.
He said there was a danger that the outbreak could be more widespread then initially expected as the native communities in the region were dispersed over a large area.
“The department has sent teams of medical personnel into the region to ascertain how many communities are actually affected by the outbreak,” he added.
When contacted, Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek said the outbreak started on Dec 27, and there were still 17 cases in Bintulu Hospital as of Friday.
The ministry's disease control director, Dr Ramlee Rahmat, said measles outbreaks occurred from time to time and could lead to deaths if there was no immunisation.
If not treated early, he noted, a measles infection could lead to complications such as bacterial infection or pneumonia, which might be fatal in young children.
Private doctors earn up to RM30,000

KUALA LUMPUR: About 95% of the private specialists in the country earn between RM20,000 and RM30,000 a month – three times their counterparts in the government sector, Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) president Datuk Dr N. Arumugam said.
According to the Health Ministry’s estimate on the gross monthly pay of its doctors and specialists, the majority of government specialists earn a gross monthly salary of between RM7,300 and RM10,900.
“Gross pay for government specialists include overtime and all other allowances and is far below that of their private counterparts,” a ministry official told The Star in Putrajaya.
The official said there was also a very small number of government specialists who earned between RM13,800 and RM20,000 a month, adding that many were very senior, including heads of department or hospital directors.
“There are one or two in the top earning bracket, including the health director-general whose estimated monthly pay is anything between RM20,000 and RM25,000,” said the official.
The huge disparity in pay has often been blamed for the exodus of government specialists to the private sector.
The monthly pay for government doctors ranges between RM2,900 and RM6,700.
The disparity between government doctors and locums (doctors working in private clinics) is smaller, with MMA putting the locum’s monthly pay at RM5,000 to RM6,000.

However, sources in the pharmaceutical industry said the income for specialists and general practitioners with their own private clinics was higher than estimated, pointing out that they earned a lot from dispensing medicine.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

3 million young M’sians suffer from hypertension

A staggering three million Malaysians, mostly young men, have become victims of hypertension — all due to their unhealthy lifestyle and eating habits.
And Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek has described it as “a major disease but badly controlled”.
This, he said, was due a lack of commitment by people to get proper medication.
He pointed out that young adults were now dying prematurely or and becoming disabled because of the silent killer.
If preventive measures were not put in place the figure would double in 30 years, with the disease killing many young people, Chua said.
He added that said studies had revealed that 30 per cent of Malaysian adults above the age of 30 were now possibly hypertensive.
“We believe that 53 per cent of them are were possibly undiagnosed and unaware of their disease,” he said after opening the second scientific meeting of the Malaysian Society of Hypertension themed ‘Confronting Hypertension: An Integrated Approach” at the KL Hilton.
“Our study also indicated a higher prevalence of possible hypertension in the rural population, especially among women aged 50 years and above.”
He added said, adding that two-thirds of known hypertensive sought treatment at utilised government health facilities.
“There is a need for us to intensify our educational interventions, not only among patients in the clinics and hospitals, but also out there in the community.
“We also need to more vigorously promote the adoption of a healthy lifestyle.”
In Malaysia more than 10,000 die annually due to various diseases linked to hypertension, like strokes, heart attacks and renal failure.
M'sian Hospital An Instant Hit With 200 Patients Daily

BANDA ACEH, Jan 22 (Bernama) -- The temporary hospital set up two days ago by the Malaysian Armed Forces on humanitarian tour-of-duty has become an instant hit with the villagers of Gue Gajah here, with an average of 200 patients being treated daily.
The hospital has been the first choice among communities around the area which was devastated by the Dec 26 tsunami.
Lt. Col. Dr Mohamed Zakariah Mohamed Ali, the commanding officer at the Armed Forces Hospital here, is expecting an even bigger turnout in due time.
He said Acehnese preferred the service of the Malaysian Armed Forces because of the similarity in language and culture as well as the extra care shown by this high-spirited health team.
"Acehnese are quite similar to Malaysians due to the same culture, language, and our excellent services and they feel closer to us. Moreoever, we understand them deeper," he said.
Dr Zakariah, who heads a team of nine doctors and 44 paramedics, including health technicians, also said that a mobile clinic would be set up soon to extend their health services.
Surge in dengue cases due to public apathy, says Abdullah

KEPALA BATAS: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi says public apathy in keeping their surroundings clean has led to the recent surge in dengue cases in the country.
He said the people still clog their drains with rubbish and dirty their surroundings, making these places ideal for the aedes mosquito to breed.
“We have organised numerous cleanliness campaigns, urging people to keep their environment clean at all times.
“But, if they still do not listen and keep on asking what to do when plagued by such diseases, I do not know what else can be done,” he said after performing Friday prayers at Masjid Kampung Permatang Bendahari in Penaga here yesterday.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Malaysia to set up relief centre and hospital in Aceh

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia will be setting up a relief centre and a 50-bed hospital to cater to injured victims in the tsunami-devastated region of Aceh.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said efforts were underway to identify the best site for the centre while the hospital plan was expected to be operational over the next few days.
He said the National Security Division with the help of the Indonesian authority was actively looking into the matter to facilitate Malaysian relief efforts in the region.
Najib said this to reporters after receiving a total of RM2.65mil donations in cash and kind for the National Tsunami Fund and meeting US military commander in the Asia-Pacific region, Admiral Thomas Fargo, at his office yesterday.
Dengue Cases Rising Rapidly

PUTRAJAYA, Jan 20 (Bernama) -- The number of dengue cases is rising fast, hitting 1,415 cases in the second week of this year from 1,054 the previous week or up 34.9 per cent.
Health Ministry disease control division director Dr Ramlee Rahmat said Selangor recorded the most number of cases, increasing by 153 cases to 654 in the Jan 9 to 15 period.
It was followed by Kuala Lumpur which saw 39 new cases to 246 and Pahang from 40 to 69 cases, he told reporters, here Thursday.
He said the total number of cases in other states also rose except in Terengganu which declined from 21 cases in the first week to 17 in the second.
Dr Ramlee said the ministry's enforcement officers have stepped up checks for potential breeding places of aedes mosquitoes, the carrier of the dengue virus, by inspecting 65,073 premises in the second week compared to 54,508 before.
The premises included shophouses, construction sites, schools, factories, government offices, abandoned houses, places of worship, cemeteries, garbage dumps, vacant land, road dividers and recreational parks.
"We found 685 premises breeding aedes mosquitoes and construction sites remained the worst culprit at 13.1 per cent followed by factories (8.1 per cent) and vacant land (7.1 per cent)," he said.
He said the owners of 267 premises were fined while three premises were ordered closed.
Fogging was carried out in areas with dengue cases while anti-larvae chemical was dropped into water containers in 6,269 premises.
Property firm fined over health product

Kota Kinabalu: A director representing a company primarily dealing in landed property was fined RM5,000 or three months' jail for possession of six cartons of an unregistered health product for sale.
"Carasinar Sdn Bhd is a company registered under the Companies Commission of Malaysia 'to purchase or acquire for investments, lands, houses, buildings, plantations and other property'.
"It has no Health Ministry authorisation in the supply of health products," submitted Prosecuting Officer, Joseph Oyol Modili, from the Health Department's (Pharmacy) enforcement division.
Pressing for a deterrent sentence, "to send a strong message to other similar business establishments", he stressed on the use of unregistered products as posing a health risk to the general public.
"As such, the public needs to be protected from such establishments that have no respect for law, public health and wellbeing."
He also impressed on the court that possession for sale of unregistered products under the Control of Drugs and Cosmetics Regulations 1984, under the Sale of Drugs Act 1952 is an emerging problem in the State.
According to the facts of the case, a pharmacy enforcement team led by Dzafarullah Daud inspected a consignment at a shipping and forwarding agency, Koh Han Ming, in Kolombong on May 8, 2003 at 11.25am.
In the presence of one Koh Tze Chean, the team found 696 boxes of 'Simei Antiseptic Cream' which were later confirmed to have no registration record under the Sale of Drugs Act as required under the Control of Drugs and Cosmetics Regulations.
During mitigation, the director who pleaded for leniency told the court that the company was fined RM6,000 in Kuala Lumpur for a similar offence earlier, when one such consignment they were expecting from Taiwan was intercepted there.
"Unfortunately, it was too late for us to stop this particular consignment which was by then, already on its way here. We do not want to repeat the offence," he explained.
Nevertheless, Sessions Judge Ravinthran Paramaguru, in imposing the fine, said he viewed the offence as very serious, "that may not just cause people to become sick but maybe even paralysis."

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

HUKM surgeons score a first in local medicine

SURGEONS at Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (HUKM) scored a first in local medical history recently when they used a new tissue engineering technique to operate on a young rheumatism patient, reported China Press.
The paper added that aside from being the first operation of its kind in the country, it was also conducted by local orthopaedic surgeons.
In medical term, the operation is known as the Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation involving cartilage developed by the hospital’s tissue engineering laboratory.
The patient was a 19-year-old youth, who was suffering from a type of rheumatism called osteochondritis dissecans on his left knee for over a year.
The ailment resulted from a loss of blood supply to the bone area of the knee beneath the joint surface. The affected bone and the covering cartilage had gradually loosened and had caused the patient much pain.
The young man was reported to be recovering well from the 2½ hour operation, which was carried out on Jan 12 by a team headed by the HUKM’s tissue engineering laboratory chief Assoc Prof Dr Ruszymah Idrus.
The daily quoted HUKM orthopaedic specialist Dr Badrul Akmal Hisham Md Yusoff as saying that the cartilage used in the operation was cultivated by the hospital.
He told the paper that the laboratory was set up in 1990 to cultivate tissue as well as cartilage for throats, ears, joints and bone marrows.
On the cost of the operation, he said the patient had only to pay about RM1,000.
He added that this was much cheaper than rates charged by hospitals in Australia (about RM41,800) or Singapore (about RM21,000).
Doc: Local authorities accountable, too

PUTRAJAYA: Should local authorities be penalised, as provided for under the law, if mosquito-breeding sites are found in public places under their purview?
As Health Ministry disease control director Dr Ramlee Rahmat sees it, nobody is above the law. But, he said, no local authority had been fined for the offence so far.
“However, there are schools and government hospitals which have been compounded for such offences,” he added when posed with the question at the ministry’s media briefing on dengue here yesterday.
According to the ministry's records, a 34-year-old male died at the Alor Gajah Hospital on Jan 14, bringing the death toll this year to two. The first death involved a six-year-old.
Dr Ramlee said 32 of the 36 local authorities recorded a rise in cases last week compared with the previous week.
Gombak topped the list with 203 cases last week compared with 134 the week before.
Shah Alam also saw a steep rise with 125 cases detected last week compared with 87 the previous week.
Nursing college, varsity sign deal

PUTERI Nursing College Sdn Bhd (PNC), the subsidiary of KPJ Healthcare Bhd (KPJ), has signed an extension of the memorandum of cooperation with Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) UK to conduct the two-year Operating Department Practice Programme in Malaysia.
KPJ was represented by the Puteri Nursing College chairman Jasimah Hassan while the dean of Faculty of Health and Applied Social Sciences Liverpool John Moores University, Prof Godfrey Mazhindu, signed for the university.
The collaboration between PNC and LJMU started in 1997 with the primary objective of establishing a viable staff mixture in the operating theatre department of the group’s private hospitals.
HIV/AIDS trend disturbing Up to 4,000 may be infected this year

SOME 4,000 Malaysians could be infected with HIV this year if there is no awareness in the society about its dangers and threats, Berita Harian reported.
Datuk Seri Rosmah Mansor, wife of Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, said the statistics on HIV/AIDS given by the Health Ministry were “very depressing.”
“According to the statistics, there are about 20 new HIV cases reported every day in the country, of which, three are confirmed as AIDS.
“Up to today, 58,000 Malaysians have been infected with HIV, of whom 6,545 are confirmed to be suffering from AIDS.
“This is a very disturbing and sad as more than 75% of the total involves those between the ages of 13 and 39,” she said.
The daily said it was estimated that two people die every day because of AIDS and related complications.
Tasja secures RM38m contract to redevelop hospital in Johor Baru

TASJA Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Astral Asia Bhd (AAB), has secured a RM37.5 million contract from the Health Ministry for the redevelopment of the Sultanah Aminah Hospital in Johor Baru.
AAB expects the two-year contract to contribute positively to the group’s profitability for the financial year 2005.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

KL Hospital Prepares For Upsurge In Dengue Cases

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 18 (Bernama) -- Kuala Lumpur Hospital (HKL) is preparing its facilities and medical staff to deal with the expected rise in dengue cases here and in Selangor in the next two weeks, Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek said.
"Normally, during an outbreak, people tend to panic. When a person has a slight fever or his neighbour is down with dengue fever, he will insist that he has caught the fever too and doctors will have to be extra careful in their diagnosis.
"This means advising patients who have been down with fever for several days and who live in dengue hotspots to be warded, and this will lead to an increase in people seeking treatment. When the situation is more stable and the public is more confident then the number of patients will drop," he said.
He was speaking to reporters after visiting HKL to survey its preparation for handling dengue cases, especially in the wards.
There are currently 150 dengue cases in HKL, accounting for nearly eight per cent of the 1,700 patients in the hospital.
"This is definitely an increase compared to the average of 30 cases several weeks ago," he said.
On the medical staff of HKL, Dr Chua said the hospital would take in doctors from nearby hospitals if necessary.
"The ministry will discuss with the hospital directors of other hospitals on how their doctors can be temporarily engaged to work in HKL," he said.
Dr Chua said to date the areas recording the highest number of dengue cases were Gombak, Kepong, Setapak, Sentul, Loke Yew and Pandan.
He urged the public to become more committed in destroying the breeding grounds of the aedes mosquito, especially in and around their own homes.
"Public awareness is vital as aedes breeding grounds are usually in their houses and the compounds," he said.
He said until now the owners of 253 premises here were fined for letting their compounds become aedes breeding grounds.
Dengue Cases In Johor Up 37 Per Cent In First Week

JOHOR BAHARU, Jan 18 (Bernama) -- Dengue cases in Johor in the first week of the year showed a 37 per cent increase compared to the same period last year, state Health Department (Public Health) Deputy Director Dr Daud Abdul Rahim said Tuesday.
During the first seven days, 71 cases of dengue fever and three cases of haemorrhagic dengue fever which did not lead to death were reported against 22 cases of dengue fever and six haemorrhagic dengue fever cases that were not fatal in the corresponding period last year, he said.
Johor Baharu district reported the highest number of cases with 45, most of them in Taman Megah Ria and Bandar Baru UDA, followed by Kluang (13), Kota Tinggi (6), Batu Pahat (5), Muar (3), Segamat and Pontian (one each).
"This is caused by the attitude of residents who do not care about the condition of places that are potential aedes breeding grounds which include their homes and surrounding areas," he said.
Last year 3,056 dengue cases were reported in Johor compared to 3,211 cases in 2003, marking a 4.8 per cent decrease.
Dengue fever: Worse yet to come, says expert

PETALING JAYA: It is vital to assume that the worst of the dengue fever is yet to come and everyone must play his or her role in combating it, warned a virology expert.
Asia Pacific Society for Medical Virology president Professor Emeritus Datuk Dr Lam Sai Kit said this was because it was rather unusual for Malaysia to experience such an increase at this time of the year.
“Data from the Ministry of Health shows that dengue outbreak starts in May and peaks two to three months later.
“We cannot predict what will happen when the expected peak season arrives this year. It is all the more important to monitor the situation closely, as is being done by the ministry,” he said in an email interview yesterday.
The former director for the World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for dengue and dengue haemorrhagic fever added that everyone had a role to play in getting rid of mosquito breeding sites.
“Don’t leave it to the Government alone as resources are limited. It is impossible for the Government to send fogging teams all over the country to kill the mosquitoes.
On the possible impact that dengue would have on the public and the Government, Dr Lam who headed the medical team, which discovered the Nipah virus, said it would be very significant.
“Parents may have to take leave to look after their sick kids. In adults, there will be days lost from work. Work production will definitely suffer and there will be of course increase in medical expenses,” he said.
On whether the mosquitoes had become resistant to insecticide, Dr Lam said that while it was possible, there was no evidence of this happening in Malaysia and the ministry was monitoring the development.
“The difference of a day can make a significant difference, so see a doctor early. If a case is treated appropriately, the mortality rate is low,” he said.
He added that the increase in dengue incidence might be attributed to increased intermittent rainfall and high temperatures, which led to an increase in mosquito population and a change of dengue virus serotype after a few years.
MRCS To Help Sri Lanka's Tsunami Victims In Long Term

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 17 (Bernama) -- The Malaysian Red Crescent Society (MRCS) is committed to assist in the long-term rehabilitation of victims of the Dec 26 tsunami in Sri Lanka.
"I am confident we will be playing a role," said MRCS board member and chairman of its Media Committee, Datuk Ahmad Abdul Talib, who returned yesterday after leading a five-day fact-finding mission to Sri Lanka.
"Our trip was to find out how best we can fit into the Sri Lankan government's plans to help the tsunami-affected areas," he told Bernama.
The mission's report would be submitted to the MRCS executive committee and the process would be set in motion, he said, noting that MRCS had already responded with financial aid soon after the tsunami hit Sri Lanka's shores.
He said that the team was told by the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society (SLCS) in Colombo that the emergency requirements had "more or less" been met.
At displaced centres in Galle and Trincomalee, the mission was told there was an urgent need for tents in the short term, Ahmad said.
"In the long-term, there is a need for permanent housing, which the people can afford," he said.
Nonchalance over dengue threat in Sandakan

Despite frequent reminders and talks on the dangers of dengue fever, the people generally are often nonchalant over the looming health threat.
District Health Officer, Dr G Navindran, said this was evident in many housing estates and kampungs in the district where the people had not bothered to clear stagnant water in clogged drains around their houses, particularly in the back yard.
"By now, they should have heeded Government reminders to clear rubbish and drains as a preventive measure against being turned into breeding grounds for the aedes mosquito before the situation gets out of control," he said.
"While the Government provides several health programmes, including spot checks on suspected areas and fogging, the biggest problem remains in public apathy towards health and general cleanliness," he added.
Dr Navindran hoped that frequent reports of dengue fever outbreaks in various parts of Malaysia, including Sandakan, could instil a high sense of awareness on the importance of public cleanliness in the municipality.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

HFM ALERT: 37 down with HFM disease

Thirty-seven children in Penang have come down with the hand-foot-mouth disease since Jan 1. But it remains unclear if the children are suffering from the more virulent coxsackie virus.
Dr Ramlee Rahmat, the Health Ministry's Communicable Disease Control Division director, noted that there were 67 enteroviruses known to cause HFM disease.
"We have to know the virus that is attacking the children," he said, adding that it was the enterovirus 71, the most dangerous in the enterovirus family, that killed many of the 31 children during an outbreak in 1997.
Since 2000, Penang has been recording many HFM cases. In 2000 there were 459 cases followed by 776 in 2001, 1,384 in 2002, 436 in 2003 and 364 last year.
Dr Ramlee said that many children below five years of age in Penang could have come down with HFM because of poor personal hygiene and improper sanitation.
Dr Ramlee said the 334 sentinel centres - 106 private and 119 government health clinics and 109 treatment centres - nationwide were closely monitoring for any outbreak of the disease.
He said specimens taken from HFM disease victims were sent for analysis.
So far results showed they suffered normal symptoms of hand-foot-mouth disease.
Health Tourism To Contribute RM400 Million This Year

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 15 (Bernama) -- Health tourism is projected to contribute RM400 million to the nation's coffers this year and RM2.2 billion in 2010, Deputy Tourism Minister Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said Saturday.
He said that 150,000 overseas patients received treatment in Malaysia last year.
In 2003, the number was 103,000 with over 72 per cent coming from Indonesia and the rest from Australia, Japan, Korea, China, Europe and the United States, he said.
The 35 private hospitals in the country had achieved impressive growth between 2000 and 2003 with the number of overseas patients rising by 31.4 per cent, he added.
The Tourism Ministry was also promoting health tourism in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Papua New Guinea and Sri Lanka, he told reporters after launching the "Grand Testimonial Day 2005" organised by MP E-Worldwide Sdn Bhd, here.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Fogging not answer to dengue control

Contrary to popular belief, fogging is not the answer to the country’s dengue woes.
This is because fogging only kills adult Aedes mosquitoes but leaves the larvae untouched, said the director of the Health Ministry’s Communicable Disease Control Division, Dr Ramlee Rahmat, here today.
"People think fogging is the solution and that once an area is fogged, they are safe from the virus. But they are not if someone in the area is already infected," he said. "Fogging is not the answer to dengue control."
Yesterday, Federal Territories Minister Tan Sri Isa Samad said 58 cases of dengue fever were reported in the capital city since Jan 1. The cases were detected in Setapak (19), Kepong (15), Cheras (12), the town centre (eight), Old Klang Road (three) and one in Damansara.
He said local authorities would organise awareness and "gotong-royong" campaigns beginning in Cheras on Saturday before launching them nationally. Dr Ramlee said that according to scientists, Aedes mosquitoes could become immune to chemicals used in fogging. If that happened, then the chemical composition would need to be changed so that fogging could be effective.
"Entomologists constantly check whether fogging done in a particular location was effective after it has been carried out," he said. At the moment, fogging could still be used, but Dr Ramlee reminded the public that it was not a solution.
361 Dengue Deaths Recorded Over Last Six Years

PUTRAJAYA, Jan 14 (Bernama) -- A total of 361 people died of dengue fever from 130,673 cases reported since 1999, Health Ministry Disease Control Division Director Dr Ramlee Rahmat said Friday.
He said the total did not include the latest death reported in the second week of this year.
In the last six years, 2002 recorded the highest number of dengue deaths with 99 from 32,767 cases reported, he told reporters here Friday.
Based on Health Ministry statistics, a total of 37 deaths were recorded in 1999 from 10,146 cases reported, 45 died in 2000 (7,146), 50 people in 2001 (16,368), 72 in 2003 (31,043) and 58 last year (33,203).
He said in Putrajaya alone, 213 cases were reported for the whole of last year and for the first week of this year there were eight cases.
However, he said, the number deaths and cases reported in Malaysia remained at a low level compared with several neighbours, including Thailand and Singapore.
The tourism sector need not worry as the ministry was constantly monitoring the situation, he said.
He added that the disease could be contained if everyone played their part, including continuously destroying larvae breeding areas.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Government Hospital Specialists To Charge Fees Soon

KANGAR, Jan 14 (Bernama) -- Medical specialists in government hospitals will soon be allowed to charge fees for treating patients who are able to afford their services.
Deputy Health Minister Datuk Dr Abdul Latiff Ahmad said the scheme would be implemented in the Putrajaya Hospital and Selayang Hospital in Selangor as a pilot project.
If the effects were positive, it would be extended to specialists in all government hospitals, he told reporters after opening the RM100,000 Psychosocial Rehabilitation Unit building at the Beseri Health Centre here Friday.
"The charges would probably be similar to the fees in private hospitals and payments would be made directly to the specialists who provided the treatment," he said.
There are about 3,000 medical specialists out of the 9,000 doctors serving in government hospitals.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

HUSM's Emergency Unit Will Set Up 'Fast Track'

KOTA BAHARU, Jan 13 (Bernama) -- The Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia (HUSM) in Kubang Kerian will set up a 'fast track' at the admission counter to enable emergency cases to be handled faster and more systematically.
Head of the unit Dr Wan Aasim Wan Adnan said the unit had been receiving many complaints about outpatients having to wait for a long time for treatment.
He said there were also complaints of a lack of system in the admission of patients in emergency cases.
"We just cannot treat all the patients and outpatients quicker," he told Bernama after attending a Medical Disaster Management seminar, organised by the university here Thursday.
Dr Aasim said the unit was short of doctors and supporting staff and that efforts were being made to overcome the problem.
He said the unit would also launch a 'Mobile Ambulance' programme in the various parts of Kelantan this year, beginning with this town.
"Ambulances will be stationed in areas classified as danger zones so they can attend to accident cases quickly," he said.
He said the unit was discussing with the Emergency Unit of the Hospital Kota Baharu (HKB) on how they could work together to make the programme effective.
Three children in Penang may have Coxsackie

Three children in a tsunami relief centre in Penang may be down with the coxsackie virus.
They were detected with symptoms of the disease a few days ago and have been put in isolation.
Dr Ramlee Rahmat, the director of the Health Ministry's Communicable Disease Control, said laboratory results would confirm if the children were victims of coxsackie.
It is learnt that four kindergartens in Penang have been temporarily closed to prevent the spread of the disease among children.
There was a coxsackie epidemic in Malaysia in 1997.
Dr Ramlee said the health team at the relief centre had stepped up checks.
"We do not know what type of virus has affected these children. While awaiting laboratory results, the health teams will take precautions to prevent its spread."
Dr Ramlee said since coxsackie was endemic to Malaysia and that the coxsackie virus type A was a recognised cause of the hand-foot-mouth disease, more than 100 health centres nationwide were constantly monitoring the disease among children. General practitioners were also on the alert.
Meanwhile, Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek said the public would be informed if there was an outbreak of the disease among children in Penang.
Symptoms include fever, sore throat, running nose, mouth ulcers, rash on hands, feet, or buttocks, vomiting and diarrhoea.
Dengue cases still low in Sabah: Dept

Kota Kinabalu: The number of dengue cases in Sabah is still relatively low compared to the peninsula states, said Sabah Deputy Health Director Dr Mohd Yusof Ibrahim Tuesday.
He said the State registered 792 dengue cases in 2003 and 877 last year, while some peninsula states recorded more than 1,000 cases.
On Saturday, Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek issued a dengue alert throughout Peninsular Malaysia.
According to him, dengue cases reported in Selangor went up to 350 cases a week from 120, while Federal Territory from 100 to 250, Penang (50 from 20) and Pahang (80 from 30).
He said the dengue situation in Selangor, Penang, Pahang and Kuala Lumpur could worsen unless the people took drastic preventive measures, adding some 1,000 cases were reported throughout the country weekly since December.
Dr Yusof, meanwhile, said the slight increase of dengue cases in Sabah could be due to several factors.
"Among the factors are non-controllable ones such as the wet season when the aedes mosquito breeds easily with the availability of stagnant water everywhere," he said.
Another factor was the increased mobility of people as evident by the fact that there were very few dengue cases in the rural areas previously, he added.
"In Sabah, abandoned buildings are also listed as one of the factors that contribute to dengue cases," he said.
Dr Yusof said community awareness on dengue had also been rather complacent as many had been blaming the illegal immigrants for an outbreak of the disease.
"While it may be true that the illegal immigrants have contributed to the outbreak, the local community also play a part role too to prevent such an outbreak," he said.
He said the public should change their mindset by taking proactive measures to clean and clear their own surroundings of stagnant water.
He said the department would no longer issue warnings to owners of premises that breed the dengue virus-carrying mosquitoes.
"We have given enough reminders and warnings through the mediaƉwe have to compound them if they fail to comply with our directive," he said.
Chua Advises Tsunami Volunteers To Take Health Precautions

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 12 (Bernama) -- Volunteers going to tsunami-devastated regions such as Aceh and Sri Lanka need to take all the necessary health precautions to avoid being infected by contagious diseases, Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek said.
He said they should not simply leave for the disaster-stricken areas as if going on a vacation.
"We are worried that there are volunteers who have left without proper preparation.
"They need to have their blood tested and jabs taken against various diseases like cholera and typhoid," he told reporters Wednesday.
Earlier, Dr Chua on behalf of the staff of his ministry presented a RM85,350 cheque to NSTP Group Deputy Editor-in-Chief Datuk Hishamuddin Aun as a donation to the New Straits Times Press Group's tsunami victims fund.
He said preventive measures were important in making volunteers less susceptible to illnesses while working in tsunami-hit regions.
Volunteers also needed to go for a health check-up upon their return to detect symptoms of infections, he said.
He said the volunteers were not quarantined on arrival but were only placed under observation for one or two days.
Dr Chua said it was advisable for volunteers not to spend more than 10 days in tsunami-hit areas.
Asked whether any volunteers had contracted diseases, he said it was not known yet.
"The incubation period is a week or two. We will know (if the volunteers are infected) in one or two more days," Dr Chua said.
Several Malaysian volunteer groups have been in Banda Aceh in the past two weeks including Mercy Malaysia, Salam Foundation, Peace Malaysia and Malaysian Red Crescent Society.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Dengue fears deepen

The dengue situation in the country appears to be growing worse.
And here is more discomfiting news: The current rainy season may encourage the breeding of Aedes mosquitoes, leading to more cases of dengue.
The Health Ministry warned last week that there was a dengue epidemic in four States — Selangor, Penang, Federal Territory (of Kuala Lumpur) and Pahang. Today, it reported an 11 per cent spike in the number of cases in just one week.
Between Dec 26 and Jan 1, there were 1,077 cases, up 108 cases from 969 the week before.
Also, since the outbreak started after Hari Raya in November, 12 people have died of dengue haemorrhagic fever.
Dr Ramlee Rahmat, the Health Ministry's Communicable Disease Control Division director, said: "We are concerned about the increase and worried that the rainy season may cause the situation to escalate." Selangor is the worst-hit with 469 cases between Dec 26 and Jan 1, up from 365 cases the week before. In Kuala Lumpur, there were 249 cases compared with 211 the week before. There was only a marginal difference in the number of cases reported week-on-week in Penang and Pahang.
Faced with the possibility that Malaysia might be facing a dengue epidemic, Dr Ramlee said state health departments had been directed to submit weekly reports on the dengue situation while the district health departments had been ordered to monitor and do ground surveillance.
Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek also directed Dr Ramlee to hold Press conferences twice a week to keep people informed.
"We will be very transparent and the media can get all the information it wants," he said.
It is learnt that the ministry has put control measures in place to prevent a national dengue epidemic.
Dr Ramlee said the ministry's health teams were working closely with local authorities, agriculture departments and non-governmental organisations to carry out operations to destroy the breeding grounds of the Aedes mosquito.
As of Jan 1, a total of 2.8 million premises had been checked and 25,529 of them had been found to be breeding the Aedes mosquito.
"We encourage people to put Abate in stored water to kill and prevent the breeding of Aedes mosquitoes," said Dr Ramlee.
Three Gov't Medical Funds To Merge Into One

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 11 (Bernama) -- The Health Ministry plans to set up a Medical Assistance Fund (MAF) under which the National Health Welfare Fund, Special Chronic Diseases Fund and Special Fund for Handicapped People with Chronic Disease will be merged.
Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek Tuesday said the ministry would soon table the proposal in the Cabinet for approval.
"This follows the Cabinet decision last year that the health fund be merged with the fund for chronic diseases to facilitate better channelling and management," he told reporters after launching a health insurance product, "Allianz Care", here.
"We already have an allocation of RM25 million for the MAF and we hope to get an annual grant of similar amount," he said.
In addition, the MAF would be allowed to accept donations from the public and private sector, he said.
He said with the establishment of the MAF, confusion among the public on various aid funds, set up by the government, would be avoided.
In addition, more people with chronic diseases would be able to tap into the fund as currently the allocation for chronic diseases had almost been fully used, he said.
The National Health Welfare Fund, set up in 2002 with a RM5 million government grant and RM526,000 contribution by the private sector, is for patients who are seeking treatment which is not provided by government hospitals.
"Up to Sept 2004, 156 patients had benefited from the fund with RM4.36 million used and the fund will be closed when the balance of RM1.8 million is fully utilised in the next three months," Dr Chua said.
The Special Chronic Diseases Fund was established after the 2003 Budget while the Special Fund for Handicapped People with Chronic Disease after the 2004 Budget.
"The MAF will have the same function as the National Health Welfare Fund but the procedure to apply for the aid will be made easier," Dr Chua said.
He said the MAF would be placed under a board of trustee, operational all year round and provide long-term assistance, especially for patients with chronic diseases and the handicapped.
Dr Chua said the condition and qualification criteria to tap into the fund would be announced once the Cabinet gave its approval.
He said several conditions would be relaxed and the requirement that applicants must earn less than RM600 monthly would be abolished and replaced with verification from the Social Welfare Department.
In addition, the applicants will not be required to get certification of their chronic illnesses from a special panel. All they need to have is a confirmation from a government hospital's doctor.
The financial aid would also be given for treatment in private hospitals locally if such treatment is not provided by government hospitals.
National Health Welfare Fund to be replaced

KUALA LUMPUR: The National Health Welfare Fund, which has been plagued with controversy, is set to be replaced by one that will be more effective in disbursing funds to the poor or disabled, said Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek.
He said the ministry was proposing to the Cabinet that the fund be closed once the money had been exhausted and the Special Chronic Diseases Fund and Special Fund for Handicapped People with Chronic Diseases be merged to form the Medical Assistance Fund.
"This is an extension from the Cabinet decision that the National Health Welfare Fund, if possible, would be combined with the Special Chronic Diseases Fund to ease administration and management.
"But seeing how the fund (National Health Welfare Fund) is at its last stages and with RM1.8mil left, it will be exhausted in the next three to four months.
"Once it is finished, we will merge the Special Chronic Diseases Fund and Special Fund for Handicapped People with Chronic Diseases. This is to not confuse the public," he told reporters yesterday after launching the Allianz General Insurance Malaysia Bhd's "Allianz Care".

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Don't Eat Dead Fish Collected From The Beach, Says Chua

PUTRAJAYA, Jan 10 (Bernama) -- People in areas affected by the Dec 26 tsunami have been advised not to consume dead fish which end up on the beach due to possible health risks.
Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek said Monday they should instead buy fresh fish and cook it properly before consumption.
"There is nothing to worry about if one consumes properly cooked fish," he told reporters after attending a function at the Putrajaya hospital, here.
He said that the ministry had been receiving a lot of calls from people who wanted to know whether it was safe to eat fish as there was this lingering fear that marine life had eaten the remains of humans who perished in the tragedy.
"We haven't received any report of people falling ill after consuming fish. So don't listen to rumors that it is not safe to eat fish," he added.
On another matter, he said relief workers returning from tsunami-stricken areas abroad should undergo medical observation for a few days to ensure that they had not contracted any disease.
Touching on the dengue outbreak, Chua said the people should not panic as the situation was under control.
Only Penang, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Pahang had shown a marked increase in the number of cases, he said, adding that 60 deaths due to dengue were reported last year.
"We'll keep the public informed on the latest situation. We won't hide anything from them," he said.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Chua raps NGOs over dengue alert

Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek has hit back at those who suggest that his ministry should have issued a dengue alert earlier.
"Non-governmental organisations should think of ways to combat the disease rather than question whether the Government had issued the warning too early or too late.
"The outbreak started on the 47th week of last year. Usually when the number of cases go up within three or four weeks, we would issue a warning. If we issue an unjustified warning, we would be accused of crying wolf," he said.
He added that the ministry had to study the disease's trend to determine whether an outbreak was inevitable as it could not risk raising a "false alarm".
He said people should stop blaming the ministry for the way it handled the dengue outbreak and concentrate instead on eradicating the disease.
"All quarters should buck up, from the health officials to the people themselves.
"The people are equally to be blamed. If they throw rubbish around their compound, they can't expect health officials or the local authority to keep picking it up," Dr Chua said.
He was responding to comments by the Centre for Environment, Technology and Development Malaysia and the Residents Action Committee for Taman Nirwana, Ampang, which on Friday called on the Government to be transparent and pro-active in the fight against dengue.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

1,000 Suspected Dengue Cases In Selangor This Week

SHAH ALAM, Dec 8 (Bernama) -- Concerned over the rise of suspected dengue cases, Selangor is expected to launch a gotong-royong programme in all districts and municipal councils next week to curb the spread of the disease.
Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo regarded the 1,000 suspected dengue cases in the state this week as very alarming although the actual number of confirmed cases was not known.
"We are not sure of the confirmed cases but the 1,000 suspected cases call for immediate action," he said after opening the Selangor Youth Council's Annual General Assembly here Saturday.
Selangor reported 350 suspected cases last week, the highest in the country over the past two months while Kuala Lumpur recorded 250 cases, Penang (50) and Pahang (80) for the same period.
Dr Mohamad Khir said the gotong-royong programme would be focused on clearing breeding areas of dengue mosquitoes.
He urged all relevant authorities and the public to cooperate to ensure their areas were free from dengue.
Meanwhile, in KUALA LUMPUR, Federal Territories Minister Tan Sri Mohamed Isa Abdul Samad said high risk areas affected by dengue in the Klang Valley would be announced on Tuesday.
He said the local authorities including city hall had taken steps to identify the areas deemed to be carrying a high risk and were continuously monitoring the progress in such areas.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

USM To Help Who Set Up Medical Laboratory In Aceh

PENANG, Jan 7 (Bernama) -- Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) will send a medical team to Aceh on Jan 16 to assist the World Health Organisation (WHO) set up a microbiology and virology laboratory to study infectious diseases in the area in the aftermath of the tsunami disaster.
Its Vice-Chancellor Prof Datuk Dzulkifli Abdul Razak said three experts from USM -- clinical microbiologists Dr Azian Harun and Dr Zakuan Zainy Deris and chief medical technologist Rosliza Abdul Rahman -- would be in the initial group.
He said the team, together with another expert from Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS), would identify a suitable location for the laboratory.
"Two containers of equipment for the laboratory are already ready. USM will provide the planning and manpower for the setting up of the laboratory while WHO will bear the cost," he said.
Speaking to reporters after the opening of USM's Education and Career Expo opened by Higher Education Minister Datuk Dr Shafie Mohd Salleh at the university Friday, he said the USM and UNIMAS team would remain there until the situation stabilised.
Dzulkifli said that shortly after the disaster struck USM had sent a medical team in cooperation with Yayasan Salam to set up the Yayasan Salam USM clinic in Aceh to help survivors of the tragedy.
Meanwhile, USM's Kubang Kerian campus health director Prof Datuk Mafauzy Mohamad said 16 USM medical experts had been stationed in Aceh since Dec 29 and another specialist in Sri Lanka since Dec 30.
He said the first team to Aceh comprised Dr Zainal Abidin Mohamed Ismail and Dr Fazilah Mohd Zin who joined Mercy Malaysia's mission while Dr Yong Chee Tien went on Jan 2.
He said they were among the first on the ground to provide medical and humanitarian assistance and in the process gained invaluable experience in the handling of such a calamity.
According to Prof Mafauzy, another team comprising paramedics, pharmacists and emergency medical specialists will leave for Aceh this Sunday with the Yayasan Salam mission.
Ministry Warns Of Potential Dengue Outbreak In KL And Three States

KUALA TERENGGANU, Jan 7 (Bernama) -- Selangor, Penang, Pahang and Kuala Lumpur Federal Territory may face a dengue epidemic in one or two months unless the people in these areas take drastic preventive measures, Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek warned Friday.
He said in the past month Selangor reported an increase from the normal average 120 cases a week to 350 cases, Federal Territory from 100 to 250, Penang from 20 to 50 and Pahang from 30 to 80.
"This is a signal that we will be faced with an outbreak of the disease in certain states," he told reporters after visiting the Kuala Terengganu Hospital today.
He said as a preventive measure the ministry had inspected 2.83 million premises throughout the country, of which the owners of 14,186 premises were fined for breeding mosquitoes, 59 were charged in court and 13 closed down.
The ministry also disinfected more than 155,000 premises and carried out fogging from time to time.
"However, I urge the people especially those living in urban areas to give their full cooperation in preventing stagnant water from forming in their premises as no amount of enforcement or fogging will bring the desired results if they don't.
"The people must make sure their homes are not breeding ground for mosquitoes which multiply very quickly during the rainy season," he said.
Chua also said the ministry would give more attention to the Kuala Terengganu Hospital as it is the only major hospital in the state in the absence of private ones.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Families worried over dengue cases

A neighbourhood in Pandan Jaya has become a breeding ground for aedes mosquitoes where many cases of haemorrhagic fever have been detected.
Today, teacher Mohd Sabri Mahamud, 38, and his neighbour M. Jayamala, 19, were admitted at Kuala Lumpur Hospital (KLH) and a private hospital after bouts of high fever and vomiting.
Relatives said doctors suspected that the two had dengue.
Another resident Rosidah Omar, 35, said she had been down with fever for the past six days and was required to undergo daily checks at KLH for the past four days.
She said from her neck down she was covered with tiny red dots after a bout of fever.
Others who were down with fever today included Mohd Asri Mohd Isa, 38, a driver attached to the Prime Minister's office, his son Muhamad Hazim, 13, and three of Jayamala's siblings.
Asri said he was asked to get a second check at the KLH tonight after seeking treatment yesterday.
"This concerns us as the fever cases have become too frequent in our area. This cannot be mere coincidence," he said.
He added that a neighbour died of haemorrhagic fever about three months ago.
He said a few other neighbours also had high fever and were diagnosed as suffering from dengue after they sought treatment at hospitals recently.
His neighbour Nor Aishah Ali, 33, who is a teacher, said she was hospitalised for one week at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Hospital a fortnight ago.
Another resident Mohd Sabri Mat Nor, 27, said his sister was warded for four days at KLH for dengue last week and she has since recovered.
The neighbours claimed that the source of the problem was a clogged drain and a thick undergrowth behind the flats.
They said the local authorities have done little to clear the area.
Baby Can Now Go To Australia For Treatment

PUTRAJAYA, Jan 6 (Bernama) -- Intervention by the Education Ministry has made it possible for an eight-month-old baby from Terengganu to seek medical treatment for his complex heart ailment in Australia soon.
Thanks to the persuasive power of several ministry officials, the Public Service Department (PSD) finally gave its approval for a RM330,000 fund to enable Mohamed Adib Irfan Che Hussin to undergo an operation at the Royal Hospital For Children in Sydney.
On top of that, the Yayasan Guru and the ministry's Sports and Cultural Association each contributed RM100,000 to help the child and his family.
His parents, both teachers, personally thanked Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein for going the extra mile in helping their sick child.
Speaking to reporters after meeting the minister on the sidelines of a function here Thursday, Che Husin Ismail, 44, expressed his heartfelt gratitude to all those concerned.
"We leave it to the Education Ministry to make the necessary travel arrangement for us," said the Sekolah Kebangsaan Kuala Besut headmaster who was accompanied by his wife, Roselina Abdullah, who teaches at the Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Tengku Mahmud.
The couple's baby was diagnosed with the ailment by a specialist at the Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) hospital in Kubang Kerian in July last year.
Mohamed Adib Irfan is expected to be in Australia for about three months for the first phase of treatment, Che Husin said.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Number of suicides to rise

Suicide is set to be the second leading cause of deaths in Malaysia in the next 10 years, said Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek.
The current top three killers are heart diseases, accidents and cancer.
“Don’t think you are okay if you can work, eat and sleep. Depression, being a type of mental problem, is very dangerous,” he told reporters.
Dr Chua said the World Health Organisation has stated that suicide would be the second leading cause of deaths in developing countries in the next five to 10 years.
“People who are more at risk of depression and suicide include those from broken families, having financial problems, suffering from acute depression and living with single parents.
“It is important for one to know when one is suffering from a mental problem,” he said.
Dr Chua also said the MCA would launch a living skill campaign on March 5 which would focus on stress and mental illnesses, marriage, sex and eating disorders.
The rest are financial management, career development and lifestyle, he added.
He said there would be a living skill seminar on communication skills for MCA leaders and elected representatives on Feb 26.
Pharmaniaga to gain from growth in biotech sector

PHARMANIAGA Bhd, one of Malaysia's largest integrated healthcare players, is well poised to take advantage of the vibrant growth in the pharmaceutical industry as well as the spillover effects from the growth in the biotech and medical tourism industries this year.
Given the group's bright prospects, analysts are recommending a “buy” on the stock with a 12-month target price of between RM5.95 and RM6.46 per share.
MIDF Sisma Securities in its recent research notes said Pharmaniaga's capacity for growth was unquestionable in view of the industry's potential and continuous efforts to enhance shareholder value via steady dividend payouts.
“We believe the company is making good progress by shifting its earnings dependence away from government concessions,” MIDF Sisma Securities said.
The Pharmaniaga group currently receives a steady income from a 14-year concession with the Health Ministry.
Malaysia Declared Free Of Bird Flu

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 5 (Bernama) -- Malaysia is officially free of bird flu as of Wednesday, Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Ministry Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin declared.
He said the last case of the potentially deadly H5N1 avian influenza in an animal was reported on Nov 22 last year and, to date, no new cases had surfaced.
"Thus, as of today, Malaysia is free of the bird flu. However, the threat is still high as neighbouring countries are still grappling with the disease," he said.
As such, he said, the ban on the import of chicken, ducks and eggs from Thailand and other affected countries, as well as monitoring and enforcement activities, would continue.
He said the movement of fowls within the previously affected state of Kelantan was now allowed but export from the state would be subject to permits from the Veterinary Services Department.
"However, the movement of fighting cocks from the state is still prohibited," he said.
Muhyiddin said it was hoped that Malaysia's bird flu-free status would result in a resumption of exports of fowls and eggs to countries which had banned those items at the height of the scare.
"The control protocol will be an example for us to ensure that this (the bird flu) does not recur in this country," he said.
On compensation to breeders who had their livestock culled, Muhyiddin said the matter would be resolved in a few days.
"There are 845 chicken and 350 bird breeders involved," he said.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Get your shots first, doc tells volunteers

Malaysian volunteers heading to tsunami-hit areas are urged to get vaccinated against diseases like malaria and cholera prior to departure.
Hospital Kuala Lumpur emergency department head Datuk Dr Abu Hassan Asaari Abdullah said the present situation in Aceh was critical and health workers would be exposed to potential diseases as there were about decomposing 80,000 bodies.
“In Aceh, there is no clean supply of water and no proper infrastructure. We are worried that many Malaysians will rush there without the proper knowledge or preparation to face such situations,” he said yesterday.
Dr Abu Hassan said vaccinations were recommended against diseases such as meningitis, typhoid, and Hepatitis A and B. Anti-tetanus injections are also necessary to prevent infections from cuts or lacerations.
Chua: No outbreak of infectious diseases

There have been no outbreaks of infectious diseases in tsunami hit areas such as Penang and Kedah, according to Health Minister Dr Chua Soi Lek today.
“We have not detected any significant increase in the number of cases,” he told a press conference at the MCA headquarters in Kuala Lumpur this afternoon.
He attributed this to basic infrastructure having remained intact, as well as the availability of clean water and food, following the tsunami which has displaced several communities in Penang and Kedah.
The International Committee of the Red Cross has warned of the possibility of epidemics caused by water-borne diseases, particularly malaria and diarrhoea, as well as respiratory tract infections among survivors.
Experts said the top five issues to be addressed in relief operations are the provision of drinking water, sanitation, food, shelter and health services.
Chua also dismissed rumours spread through the short message text service (SMS) that certain seafoods are unsafe for consumption.
“(The news) spread by SMS are rumours, and (an) irresponsible (thing to do),” he said.
New SMC is a 'hospital of the future'

Kota Kinabalu: The new Sabah Medical Centre (SMC) is a "hospital of the future" and is comparable to some of the top private hospitals in Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore.
Resource and Information Technology Development Minister, Datuk Dr Yee Moh Chai, was told of this when he visited the site of the new eight-storey complex along Jalan Damai here.
Briefing Dr Yee who is also Kota Kinabalu MP, SMC Chairman Dr Tsue Fui Loong said the RM150 million hospital would have modern medical equipment which are currently not found in any hospital in the region.
One of them is the linear accelerator, a scanning machine used for external bean radiation treatments for cancer patients.
Its unique feature lies in its ability to deliver a uniform dose of high-energy x-ray to destroy cancer cells while sparing the surrounding normal tissue.
The new SMC, scheduled to be operational this June, would have 120 beds to start with, and has room for expansion to 300 beds.
SMC was initiated by the State Government in 1988 and lost some RM33 million before it was privatised.
A management buy-out facilitated a smart deal with the Ministry of Health, which is developing it into the city's second hospital after Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
The new facilities would specialise in pediatrics and gynaecology.