Saturday, November 29, 2003

Plans for Rehab Hospital with Australian help
26 November, 2003
Kuala Lumpur: The Health Ministry is planning to set up a Rehabilitation Hospital with the co-operation of the Australian health authorities.

Health Minister Datuk Chua Jui Meng (pic) said Tuesday that the hospital, the first in the country, would be built at the site of the former Lady Templer Hospital in Cheras with the objective of dealing with post-road accident cases, stroke victims, brain injury patients and other physically crippling injuries.

“We are looking at the Australian (model) because they have very advanced rehabilitation centres, while we are far behind in terms of rehabilitating patients,” he told reporters after attending the Hari Raya Open House hosted by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, at the Putra World Trade Centre here.

Chua explained that Malaysia had an excellent health care system but was lacking in terms of rehabilitation of patients.

“In Australia, there are so many rehabilitation hospitals, for example in Melbourne and Adelaide. They have several but in Malaysia, we do not even have one,” he added.

Chua said during his visit to Australia, from Nov 14 until Nov 24, he secured the co-operation of the Australian health authorities to help Malaysia set up a rehabilitation hospital. A co-operation agreement would be signed soon.

He said similar co-operation had also been secured to set up a Women and Children’s Hospital, also the first in the country, which would be situated near the Kuala Lumpur Hospital.

This included getting one of Australia’s top paediatric specialists, Prof. Hock Tan, a Malaysian living in Australia, to help the Health Ministry set up the hospital.

“He (Hock Tan) has persuaded the Southern Australian health authorities to receive medical staff from Malaysia to be trained in Adelaide to be specialists of paediatric care,” said Chua. - Bernama

Saturday, November 15, 2003

Medicinal products to carry new seal

MUAR: A hologram label similar to that used as security seals on ?500 notes will be used by Malaysia to protect consumers from fake and unregistered medicinal products from next year.

At present all medicine and health-related products carry the label “MAL”. But this could be printed by anyone, said Health Minister Datuk Chua Jui Meng.

He said Malaysia wanted to introduce the seal to authenticate the contents of such products and to ensure consumer safety.

The move is also aimed at putting a stop to the sale of fake, uncertified and unregistered medicine, he said on Wednesday.

He said a recent call by the World Trade Organisation for Malaysia to curb the entry and sale of fake medicine had caused concerns, and the ministry would step up its plans to introduce the hologram seal.

“The ministry’s pharmaceutical division is looking into the hologram sealing system, which is being used as security seals in the European Union on ?500 notes,” he said.

Friday, November 07, 2003

Getting tough with sellers of illegal health products

PETALING JAYA, Nov 4: There will be no more mercy for those selling illegal health and herbal products — the Health Ministry will prosecute offenders and ask for custodial sentences.

Health Minister Datuk Chua Jui Meng said today they would be charged under the Sales of Drugs Act and were liable to be fined RM25,000 or three years' jail or both for the first offence, and RM50,000 or five years' jail or both for subsequent offences.

"We will appeal to the judiciary to impose jail sentences as a deterrent," he said after presenting diplomas and certificates to 168 nurses at the Tun Tan Cheng Lock College of Nursing, Assunta Hospital, here.

He said the ministry's pharmaceutical division had been directed to prosecute those caught advertising, distributing and selling illegal health products, including herbal ones.

"We will not compromise or show mercy as we have issued sufficient warnings over the years," he said, adding that the ministry had to resort to such measures as the market had been flooded with products that were not registered with the Drugs Control Division.

He said there were cases of people admitted to hospitals in critical condition after consuming illegal health products.

"We have also come across people who suffered damage to organs." The increasing number of Malaysians coming down with renal failure, Chua said, could also be due to consumption of products that were not approved by the ministry.

"We do not know the contents in these products. If there are steroids, then they can damage the kidneys in the long run," he said, adding the public must ensure that products sold in the market were approved by the division.

The ministry will soon include the names and brands of approved products on its website.

Chua said the pharmaceutical division had been directed to submit a report on its enforcement operations.

He said he also knew of enforcement officers who took bribes from those selling illegal health products.

The ministry would not hesitate to bring corruption charges against them.

Yesterday, the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry had asked direct-selling companies dealing with herbal or health products to get certification from the Health Ministry before selling them.

Deputy Minister Datuk S. Subramaniam said the Health Ministry's endorsement was vital if the products constituted food supplements.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Malaysia registers over 54,900 HIV/AIDS cases

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov. 4 (Xinhuanet) -- Malaysia has registered a total of 54,914 HIV/AIDS cases by the end of June this year, a senior official at the Health Ministry said here on Tuesday.

And 51,487 cases or over 93 percent of the total are men, Parliamentary Secretary to the Health Ministry S. Sothinathan toldthe parliament.

Ethnically, 39,881 cases are Malays, 8,296 Chinese, 4,642 Indians, 637 others while 1,458 foreigners, he said.

Malaysia is a multi-racial country with a population of some 24million. The Malays make up 58.1 percent, the Chinese 24.3 percent, the Indians 6.9 percent and the rest 3.2 percent of the total.

He said Johor State has the highest number of cases at 11,020, followed by Selangor State 6,917, Negeri Sembilan State 5,499, Terengganu State 5,486, Pahang State 5,471 and Kelantan State 4,405.

Kuala Lumpur Federal Territory saw 3,818 cases, Perak 3,623, Kedah 3,394, Penang 2,106, Melaka 1,869, Perlis 722, Sarawak 347 and Sabah 237, he added.

In the high risk group, the infection rate among drug addicts was 18 percent and prostitutes 5 to 7 percent, said the official, adding that infection through blood donation and from mother to child accounted for only about 0.03 percent of the cases.

Malaysia is making efforts to enhance awareness of the deadly disease among the people, including prisoners and rehabilitation center inmates, said the official. Enditem