Saturday, May 26, 2012

Liow: All Major Hospitals Will Have Two Breast, Endocrine Surgeons By 2015

Bernama PUTRAJAYA, May 25 (Bernama) -- The Health Ministry will station two breast and endocrine surgeons at all major hospitals nationwide by 2015, said its minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.

At present, he said there were only 25 such surgeons serving in government hospitals, in Putrajaya, Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Johor, Kelantan, Sabah and Sarawak.

"The number of Malaysians with breast cancer is on the rise. According to the latest National Cancer Registry report, one in every fourteen Malaysian women is a breast cancer patient.

"We hope that at least two such specialists will be stationed at all major hospital nationwide by the next three years. This will help relieve a lot of pressure on our surgeons.

"If there is only one, it means there is no break for the specialists and they have to be on call 24 hours everyday. If we have two, than we can handle the situation better," he told reporters after witnessing the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Malaysian government and the Academy of Medicine Malaysia (AMM) for breast and endocrine surgery (BES) courses to be conducted in the country.

Secretary-General of Health Ministry, Datuk Kamarul Zaman Md Isa represented the government while AMM represented by its Deputy Master.

Under the MOU, Liow said, two surgeons Breast Surgery International and International Association of Endocrine Surgeons would teach and train surgeons in BES in Malaysia.

Many cavities to fill

BorneoPost Online KUCHING: A time will come when we will have more than enough dentists as well as medical doctors to serve the country.
Sarawak is facing a shortage of dentists almost three times below the World Health Organisation (WHO) standard.
Assistant Minister of Public Health Dr Jerip Susil said the WHO standard was one dentist to every 4,000 people but here in Sarawak the ratio was one to 11,000.
“The shortage of dentists happens throughout the country and I was made to understand that in the peninsula, the ratio now is about one to 7,000 people,” he said.
Dr Jerip, who is Bengoh assemblyman, disclosed this at a news conference after representing Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud at the 2012 Commonwealth Dental Association (CDA)/Malaysian Dental Association (MDA) Joint International Scientific Convention & Trade Exhibition cum 69th MDA Annual General Meeting (AGM) at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) here yesterday.
“In fact, we are not only facing shortage in dental doctors but also medical doctors. Anyway, a time will come when we have more than enough dentists as well as medical doctors to serve the country,” he said.
He said the government, with the help of the private sector, was now training more and more dental and medical doctors to meet the ever increasing demand.
Meanwhile, he said, there was a dire need to improve dental services in both the public and private sectors to provide better oral care to the people.
“I was also told that we are having very high dentine hypersensitivity in the state and as such the government is very pleased to note that many non-governmental organisations (NGOs), such as the Lions Club and others, have been playing an active role in creating awareness of oral health not only in urban but also rural areas.
“Besides, the Health Ministry also has ongoing awareness programmes to promote dental healthcare in schools,” he said.
MDA president Dr Mohd Muzafar Hamirudin said in Malaysia about 40 per cent of adults have sensitive teeth which was much higher than the global average of 30 per cent.
He said in a bid to educate patients and raise public awareness on sensitive teeth and how it can lead to poor oral health and reduce the quality of life, the ‘Fight Against Tooth Sensitivity Campaign’ was launched, an initiative championed by MDA and Sensodyne.
Through this campaign, dentists from across the country would, for the first time, come together to pledge to fight tooth sensitivity and will screen an estimated 3.5 million patients a year.

Govt to expand neurosurgery services in state hospitals

theSundaily KOTA KINABALU (May 25, 2012): The Health Ministry plans to expand neurosurgery services in state hospitals under the 10th Malaysia Plan, Deputy Health Minister Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin said here today.

The federal government was committed to developing surgical sub-specialties in the country, including in Sabah, in the various disciplines, such as neurosurgery, cardiothoracic surgery and paediatric surgery, she said in her remarks at the 12th Annual Scientific Meeting and Annual General Meeting of the Neurosurgical Association of Malaysia.

Rosnah pointed out that since 2004, neurosurgical services in Sabah have evolved from 'no service available' to monthly visits by surgeons and subsequently in-house neurosurgical services by resident specialists.

She said she had personally witnessed the development of the neurosurgical department of Queen Elizabeth Hospital, having collaborated with it on many previous occasions.

"What was once a dream is now a reality for the people of Sabah. We have seen the commencement of rehabilitative medicine, which was absent in the state of Sabah for many years. A great void has been filled and the patients now receive specialist-level rehabilitation and therapy to help them on their way back to a productive and fulfilling life.

"We cannot deny the importance of a good rehab care for patients who have undergone a neurosurgical procedure," she said.

Rosnah said that despite the setback in terms of hospital infrastructure, the government had been ceaseless in its effort to ensure that the people of Sabah benefited from adequate and quality health care.

She said the new tower block of Queen Elizabeth Hospital was under construction.

"Once the hospital is completed, we will then see a multi-disciplinary service which will incorporate neurosurgery, neurology, spine surgery and stroke care, including neuro-rehabilitation, neuro-intensive care and neuro-radiology.

"This is much-needed given the fact that the number of neurosurgical cases in the state has been steadily increasing from year to year. This centre will integrate brain and spine care under one roof to ensure optimal care for the patients," she said. – Bernama

Friday, May 25, 2012

Health Ministry to hold talks on private medical fees

MI SUNGAI PETANI, May 24 — The Health Ministry will hold discussions with insurance companies and managed care organisations (MCOs) to co-ordinate charges for private medical services in the near future.Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said the discussions aimed to protect patients from being charged excessively, especially those with insurance coverage cards. He said the discussions would also involve the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) as he needed to know their views on such issues so that a comprehensive solution could be achieved. “We received a lot of complaints from the public on the difference in charges for private medical treatment. For example, patients paying by cash for treatment would pay less compared to the rate for those using insurance coverage cards. “Such practices should be stopped immediately so that it would not have any impact on patients because sometimes the insurance coverage was bought according to the type of protection and had a certain limit,” he told reporters after attending a MMA dinner here last night. — Bernama

Umbrella walk raises RM125,000 for Lupus patients

Selangor Times PETALING JAYA: Over 1,000 umbrellas were raised by walkers in support of the World Lupus Day walkathon to spread awareness of the Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) disease. Organised by Persatuan SLE Malaysia, the walk, entitled “Walk-a-Payung”, on May 20 raised RM125,000 for the organisation and its patients. SLE, also known as lupus, is a life-threatening disease that causes the body’s immune system to turn against the body’s own healthy tissues. Awareness of the debilitating disease, which affects 43 out of every 100,000 Malaysians, was also created when participants made their way through the roads of Dataran Sunway in Kota Damansara. “People suffering from Lupus face potential strokes, hearth attacks, disabling pain and fatigue and other serious health problems,” said the organisation’s president, Professor Dr Esha Das Gupta in a statement. “The sad part is that Lupus targets people in the most productive years of their life, people who should otherwise be healthy.” It’s estimated that 12,000 Malaysians, 90 per cent female and as young as four years old, suffer from the autoimmune disease. She said some funds raised this year will be channelled towards patients who require joint replacement and cataract operations. Osteoporosis and cataract problems are among the major side-effects resulting from long-term usage of steroid medication for the Lupus disease. Besides lack of public awareness, the disease is also not easy to diagnose, some taking up to months or even years to detect, depending on which organs are affected. Although there are 10,000 people diagnosed with SLE in Malaysia, the disease is still unknown to many, leaving patients feeling alone and rejected. Due to this, awareness events like Walk-a-Payung are needed to both raise funds and help the public and patients’ family members understand the disease more. On May 27, Persatuan SLE Malaysia in Johor will also be holding their Walk-a-Payung event at Columbia Asia Hospital in Nusa Jaya to bring together patients, family members and the public. Those interested in taking part can call 012-762 8002 (Addaline). Those wanting to donate or volunteer can contact the organisation at 03-79577672 (Cecilia Wong), email, or visit

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Protection against 'fly by night' devices

AsiaOne PUTRAJAYA - The Medical Device Act to be implemented in October will protect Malaysians from medical devices that could jeopardise their health, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.

The act, which was gazetted in March, will ensure devices sold in Malaysia adhere to the country's standards.

He said manufacturers, importers, distributors and local authorised representatives would be required to register the devices with the Medical Devices Authority, which was set to function next month.

"It's akin to medicine being registered with pharmacies. The devices will be sold under strict conditions to ensure it won't affect people's health. This is good for the country and investors will have a lot of confidence here as their products will not face copyright issues because their patented products will be protected," he said after chairing the fifth Healthcare National Key Economic Area post steering committee, here, yesterday.

Liow said manufacturers, importers, distributors and local authorised representatives would be given a two-year grace period to register their products. Should they continue to sell unregistered products when the ruling is enforced in 2014, they can be slapped with a maximum fine of RM200,000.

Medical devices will be categorise into four groups namely, low risk, medium risk, high-medium risk and high risk. Low risk includes items such as bandages and stethoscopes, while condoms and gloves fall under medium risk. High-medium risk items comprises cat scan and Magnetic resonance imaging machines, while pace makers would be high risk devices.

He added that there were many products that claim which could cure various illness and the act would also go after these items.

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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Dengue cases in Selangor alarming, says Liow

Star: PUTRAJAYA: The Health Ministry has sounded the alarm over the drastic rise in the number of dengue cases which have claimed the lives of 20 people so far this year. Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said with more than 9,500 cases reported so far, the public ought to be vigilant to prevent the situation from worsening. In comparison, there were 7,850 cases with 12 deaths reported in the same period last year. Liow said that with more than 50% of the cases reported in Selangor, residents in the state needed to urgently ensure their areas were always kept clean. Keeping our residential areas clean is definitely the most effective method to keep the aedes mosquitoes away. Local authorities must also ensure they follow the garbage collection schedule strictly, he said after launching a health carnival in Bandar Baru Salak Tinggi near here yesterday. Liow it takes less than a week for aedes to breed in uncollected garbage sites, adding that local authorities in Selangor have to improve on this as the state has the highest population density. He also said that a study to produce a vaccine for dengue was expected to be ready by 2014. Later, at a separate function, Liow said all private sector pharmacists are required to attain a minimum of 30 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points for two years before they can apply or renew their 2014 annual retention certificate, starting from 2012. Subsequently, the minimum points must be accumulated within one year, he said at the 45th Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society (MPS) Annual Dinner.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Helpline to fight the fat

The Star SUBANG JAYA: Overweight and obese Malaysians can now seek free professional help and support from the new nationwide My Weight My Health Helpline.

Set up by the Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society (MPS), the helplines call centres will be manned by a team of pharmacists, nutritionists and dietitians.

MPS president Datuk Nancy Ho said the helpline was an initiative to help combat the worrying obesity level in the country.

She pointed out that obesity was often the underlying cause of cardiovascular diseases.

In Malaysia, it was reported that about 43% of adults, 20% of adolescents and 26% of primary school children were either overweight or obese.

She said the helpline would help patients embark on a lifestyle modification programme for a healthier life.

We will hold their hand, help them to be more conscious of their eating habits, she said at a press conference after the helpline was launched yesterday, adding that the advice also included tips for healthy lifestyle changes.

She said the information given by patients to helpline staff would be kept confidential.

Ho said those who sought help would receive four months of support and guidance to ensure they were making progress in achieving their individual needs and goals.

Dont expect overnight results. We dont want patients to go in for quick fixes, she warned.

The helpline is part of MPS public health campaign, which will also include public health education programmes via radio, television and print.

Community pharmacists will also undergo a Pharmacist Certification Programme so they can advise the public on various aspects of weight management.

The toll-free helpline number is 1300 800 373.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Another attempt to make smokers kick the butt

Free Malaysia Today PETALING JAYA: There is another move to make Malaysian smokers kick the butt. This time it will be in the form of an ambitious rally on May 31 – World No Tobacco Day.
The anti-smoking organisation You1Quit has plans to make this the world’s biggest anti-smoking rally. But, till todate no venue has been earmarked
The founder Julian Leicester has themed the rally as “Don’t Just Quit It, CRUSH IT!”. He hopes to achieve this through the social media.
Leicester’s ambition is to make as many people as possible to kick the RM10 habit. So far, most anti-smoking campaigns have not been successful.
The government’s costly RM100 million Tak Nak campaign has literally gone up in smoke with former health minister Dr Chua Soi Lek himself admitting that there was no indication that the number of smokers had gone down since the five-year campaign was launched in February 2005.
The huge sum spent on billboards was a failure and the message through various media channels did not reach the target group, those below 18 years.
A UPM study done of 18,000 people some years ago revealed that the smoking age is getting younger: among 15-year-olds, 21% smoked; 16 (32.2%); 17 (35.6%); 18 (45.5%); 19 (51.4%); and 20 (49.2%).
The main reason given for starting to smoke at such a young age was peer pressure; a conveniently true reason, sadly enough.
Fomca adviser Prof Hamdan Adnan had said that fear no longer works when it comes to curbing smoking. He urged the government to work with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and look at new approaches to curb smoking and target schoolchildren, teachers, youths and smokers.
If a school teacher can step behind the staff room to have a cigarette in full view of students passing by, what then is the use of the Tak Nak signboards going up in the first place at schools?
As twisted as it sounds, perhaps a cue should be taken from Nazi Germany which instituted a strong anti-tobacco movement and led the first public anti-smoking campaign in modern history.
Novel tactic
Anti-tobacco movements grew in many nations from the beginning of the 20th century, but these had little success with the only exception being Germany, where the anti-tobacco campaign was supported by the government after the Nazis came to power. It was the most powerful anti-tobacco movement in the world in the 1930s and early 1940s.
Several Nazi leaders openly criticised smoking and anti-tobacco research thrived under the Nazi rule. At that time, the most important research on smoking and its effects on health was conducted in the Third Reich.
Hitler himself was a heavy smoker in his early life when he used to smoke about 25 to 40 cigarettes per day. But he gave up smoking after realising it was a waste of money. He viewed smoking as “decadent” and lamented over the fact that “so many excellent men have been lost to tobacco poisoning”.
He promised to terminate the use of tobacco in the military after the end of the war. Hitler personally encouraged people not to smoke and rewarded those who quit smoking.
However, Hitler’s personal distaste for tobacco was not the main cause behind Nazi anti-tobacco movement; it is only one of the several catalysts behind the anti-smoking campaign.
Perhaps You1Quit should also look at the energetic efforts of tobacco companies which are almost Machiavellian in their efforts to net in more smokers.
For example, in an attempt to halt the adoption of pictorial health warnings on packages of tobacco, the industry recently adopted the novel tactic of suing countries under bilateral investment treaties, claiming that the warnings impinge the companies’ attempts to use their legally-registered brands.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) selected “Tobacco industry interference” as the theme for this year’s World No Tobacco Day. In keeping to this theme, it would perhaps be prudent for You1Quit to keep its eye focused on going after the industry by way of smart and effective information capsules, rather than jumping into a rally that is in fear of burning out even before it begins.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Sabah's mobile eye clinic to start in December - General - New Straits Times

New Straits Times KOTA KINABALU: The 1Malaysia mobile eye clinic will commence operations in Sabah in December, where a bus will bring a team with equipment from district to district to accommodate rural folk.
Deputy Health Minister Datuk Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin said the bus will go to designated hospitals and stay there for two weeks, where their focus is more on conducting cataract operations.
"There will be a schedule, the bus with a team that includes medical officers and eye specialists will start first at Sipitang and end in Tambunan.
"Now, we are fine-tuning details before the launch at year-end.
"As for Peninsular Malaysia, we have not decided (the dates) but we probably will kick-off the service simultaneously there," she said after launching the inaugural flight of the Flying Doctor Service (2012-2016) under Sabah Air Aviation Sdn Bhd's new contract.
Rosnah said cataract had been identified as the most common eye-related problem in the country.
On the Flying Doctor Service (FDS), she said the Health Ministry, through the state Health Department, had covered about 25,000 population over 11 districts through this initiative last year.
There are currently two FDS teams, with the Kota Kinabalu team serving 34 villages and Sandakan team covering 29 villages on a regular monthly schedule.
"However, we expect the number to benefit from this service to increase to 70,000 population this year," Rosnah said, following an expected increase in the number of villagers and villages involved.
She said this initiative not only served as a mobile clinic providing basic primary medical care, but also Medical Emergency Evacuation (Medevac) service for people in the remote areas.
Sabah Air Aviation chairman Datuk Yusoff Mohd Kasim said the Kota Kinabalu and Sandakan teams would be provided with a helicopter each, which had been upgraded to Twin Engine operation in accordance with the standard requirements.
The four-year contract, effective April 1, this year, involved a cost of over RM18 million, he added.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Malaysia to host world conference on maternal mortality issues

The Star KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will become the first Asian nation to host a world conference dedicated to reducing maternal mortality and achieving universal access to reproductive health.

The Global Women Deliver Conference 2013, the third in the series, is expected to attract 5,000 delegates and generate an estimated RM47.4 million in economic impact.

The conference has been held in London and Washington previously.

Malaysia was chosen to be the host country due to its status as a fast-growing democratic and liberal progressive country with stability and sound socio economic and developmental policies, said Datuk Dr Raj Karim, a consultant of Women Deliver.

Women Deliver, which has its headquarters in New York, is a global advocacy organisation which brings together voices from around the world to call for action to improve the health and well-being of girls and women.

It will organise the conference with the support of the Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB).

Dr Raj said Malaysia had been noted for its efforts to improve women's health and reduce maternal mortality as a national initiative and a national priority long before international agencies called for attention to lower maternal mortality.

She said the selection of Malaysia as the venue of the conference was based on the government's commitment to improve the health of the people.

"Malaysia is internationally recognised for its comprehensive and well-planned health care system reaching out to remote rural populations and providing free or affordable health care across all ages.

"In fact, Malaysia has one of the best primary health care service delivery systems in the region or even globally," she said.

Dr Raj said that by hosting the conference, Malaysia would have an opportunity to share its experience with other lesser developed countries with high maternal mortality and learn of new advances and modern technology that can save women's lives and improve their health.

The conference could also provide a platform for participating countries to share their experiences on elimination of poverty, empowerment of women and education of girls, which are crucial to improving women's health, she said.

Dr Raj said Malaysia provided a compelling setting for the conference as the country aimed to work globally to generate political commitment and financial investment for fulfilling Millennium Development Goals which called for reducing maternal mortality and achieving universal access to reproductive health.

More information on the conference can be obtained from - Bernama

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Hospital should remain under Health Ministry

'New Straits Times SERDANG: A Serdang Hospital Visitors Board member wants the hospital to remain under the Ministry of Health (MOH) and not handed over to Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM).
Board secretary Dr Mahendran Maniam said there is no reason to change the hospital's management because it never had problems since the hospital was set established.
"If Serdang Hospital is handed over to UPM, it will be hard to control the treatment fees and on this basis, the hospital management must remain under MOH.
"After all, the hospital meet the needs of about one million people in the vicinity and the number is rising, especially for heart patients," he here yesterday.
Several UPM associations want to turn Serdang Hospital into a teaching hospital and the management handed over to UPM for the benefit of medical and health science students.
It is understood that UPM students had to do practical training at Kuala Lumpur Hospital, Kajang Hospital and Kuala Pilah Hospital although Serdang Hospital is nearby.
He said that it was untrue that Serdang Hospital did not accommodate UPM students wanting to undergo practical training.
"Serdang Hospital has given adequate places for students to do practical training in accordance with the memorandum of understanding signed by both parties." Bernama

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

More liberal

theSundaily PUTRAJAYA (May 6, 2012): Medical graduates from unrecognised varsities will be able to sit for the Medical Qualifying Exam (MQE) in any local medical university in the next five years or so.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai told theSun today that regulations have been amended to allow all 33 local medical varsities, both public and private, to conduct the MQE.

He had on May 1 announced that medical graduates from unrecognised universities will be able to sit for the MQE at 16 local universities, compared to only three previously – Universiti Malaya (UM), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) and Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM).

The 13 other universities are Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas), Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS), Penang Medical College, International Medical University, AIMST University, Melaka-Manipal Medical College, Royal College of Medicine Perak, Monash University Sunway Campus, UCSI University, Cyberjaya University College of Medical Sciences, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia, and the Management and Science University.

"These 16 universities (which can hold the MQE now) are matured universities and they are able to conduct the examination along with their own students," he added.

Yesterday, Liow said the remaining 17 local varsities offering medical degrees "will be allowed to conduct the examination once they have successfully produced their first batch of medical graduates."

He said the changes are to make the exam more liberal and accessible to such graduates, but gave the assurance that quality will be maintained at all times.

"It will be more liberal but at the same time, we will focus and control the quality of our medical graduates," he said after attending a national briefing for the 1MCA Insurance Scheme here.

The MQE, which is compulsory for graduates from unrecognised foreign medical varsities, is set at par with the final-year examinations for local medical graduates.

Graduates from universities unrecognised by the Health Ministry have to pass the exam to begin their housemenship and eventually be registered as doctors in Malaysia.

Liow had also announced previously that medical graduates will be able to sit for the MQE an unlimited number of times until they pass the exam, compared to just three tries previously.

"The reason is... you must be fair to the graduates. Studying medicine is getting more challenging, and if they are committed and they feel they can pass, they should be given the chance to try. Medicine is a lifelong learning process," he said when asked about the rationale behind the move.

According to statistics from the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC), passing rates for the MQE are low, with less than 10%-15% of candidates passing each session.

However, the number of candidates who have sat for, and failed all three times is low. Last year, only two candidates had failed all three times.

"That is not the main problem now... the main aim is to make sure we (the ministry) do not hamper their pursuit of medicine, especially since they have completed five years of studies," Liow added.

On the political front, Liow, who is also MCA deputy president, said the initial list of potential MCA candidates for the upcoming general election is ready.

"The first round of names (is based on) the same number of seats (to be contested by the party), no increase," he said briefly when approached.
In the last general election, the MCA which contested 40 federal and 90 state seats saw its worst defeat when it won only 15 federal and 32 state seats.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Nurses free to work abroad, says Rosnah - Latest - New Straits Times

New Straits Times PETALING JAYA: The government will not prevent nurses from working abroad or limit the number of foreign nurses coming into the country, said deputy minister of Health Datuk Rosnah Rashid Shirlin.

She said the government was looking at ways to handle the glut in nursing students such as a moratorium on new nursing colleges and increasing the requirement to at least five Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia credits compared to three previously.

"Apart from handling the glut, the move also aims to produce better calibre and educated nurses," she said at a press conference after closing a health camp at Sekolah Kebangsaan Section 6, Kota Damansara here today, in conjunction with International Nurses Day which is on May 12.

Apart from providing free health checks, the one-day camp also included a speech on the government's 1Malaysia policy by deputy minister in Prime Minister's Department Datuk Ahmad Maslan.

Rosnah explained that among the factors which caused the glut was the refusal of private hospitals to employ nursing graduates with the excuse that they were inexperienced, even though most of them were from institutions of higher learning.

"We have asked the private sector to employ them and set aside the matter of experience on the basis that experience can only be gained if they're given the jobs," she said.

Commenting on the ministry's target of achieving a one to 200 nurse to patient ratio by 2015, Rosnah said it was possible as the current ratio was one to 347.

Earlier during the day, Ahmad in his speech on the 1Malaysia policy said that it was initially considered rhetorical and not grounded but is clearly being accepted and absorbed by the people.

He said after three years, the idea based on the philosophy of 'People First, Performance Now', is being accepted as an efficient product which could be held, felt and enjoyed.

"Through 1Malaysia all races in the country are considered as friends and not foe, assets not liability and as the nation's most valuable treasure," he added.

He also drew attention to how the Prime Minister was inspired by the episode of Prophet Muhammad uttering "ummati, ummati, ummati" before he passed away.

"In current times, that can be interpreted as "my people, my people, my people" and the Prime Minister has translated it into People First and that's why his administration puts the people first in all matters," he concluded. - Bernama

Read more: Nurses free to work abroad, says Rosnah - Latest - New Straits Times

TB outbreak in Johor claims 53 lives this year

AsiaOne/Star MUAR, Malaysia - A total of 53 people have died of tuberculosis in the state so far this year and the authorities want those who suffer from prolonged coughing to seek treatment quickly.

State Women, Family, Health and Community Development Committee chairman Dr Robia Kosai said the disease had been regarded as an outbreak.

As of March, she said 497 cases were reported with 49 per cent involving contagious pulmonary TB which could spread fast and also cause death.

"Last year, we recorded 2,038 cases and 93 per cent of the patients had never contracted or suffered from TB before.

"This year, about 550 cases have been reported and 91 per cent of the cases are new patients with 52 per cent suffering from pulmonary TB," she said after distributing BR1M aid to 213 villagers in Sungai Balang yesterday.

Dr Robia said Johor Baru recorded the highest number with 246 cases.

She said two deaths caused by the contagious pulmonary TB had been reported in Muar up to yesterday.

Those who suffered from coughing for more than two months should undergo checks, she said.

She said diabetic patients and senior citizens were regarded as high-risk groups.

Friday, May 04, 2012

No exemptions from Medical Qualifying Exam — UKM

BorneoPost KUCHING: The Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) Medical Centre will not exempt graduates from unrecognised universities from sitting for the Medical Qualifying Examination (MQE) no matter what their grouses are.
Faculty of Medicine dean and UKM Medical Centre director Professor Datuk Dr Raymond Azman Ali said this in a press statement in response to three Shanghai Jiaotong University medical graduates who requested the authorities exempt them from taking the MQE so that they could be attached to a hospital in Sarawak or elsewhere in Malaysia.
The three graduates – John Hii, Steven Wong and Kong Ing Hui – had claimed during a press conference on April 2 that they failed the MQE because the exam was conducted unfairly and several UKM Hospital lecturers had treated them badly and used different teaching methodologies.
They also complained that the hospital treated them like final year medical students although they had medical degrees from China.
In response Dr Raymond said: “Our hospital has a Quality Department, within which there is a Clinical Practice Guidelines committee. Each department has its set of protocols of guidelines which guides the clinical practice of every member of staff in our hospital.
“As in any hospital elsewhere, where medical practice is concerned, there are often different schools of thought with regard to clinical management.”
Dr Raymond pointed out that UKM has been examining medical graduates from unrecognised university for many years.
“In last year’s examination, 14 out of 55 candidates of the medical graduates from unrecognised universities made the mark and we passed them,” he said.
He quoted several examples of gross incompetence amongst medical graduates from unrecognised universities, who had sat for the examination in the past and failed.
Referring to Hii, Wong and Kong, Dr Raymond said they were scheduled to sit the same examination taken by the university’s final year undergraduates.
Therefore, he said, it was only right they be treated as final year medical students and not as doctors.
“Not being treated as doctors is certainly not a reason for them to fail, since all medical undergraduates are not treated as doctors until they pass and obtain their practising certificates,” he pointed out.
All medical graduates scheduled for the MQE are taught for six weeks according to a structured schedule of bedside teaching in all the relevant departments, he said.
Within each department, a timetable is set for lecturers to take the medical graduates for clinical teaching sessions.
If this was not carried out, he said, the medical graduates could always complain to the Secretariat for Undergraduate Studies or even the deputy dean in charge.
With regards to the examination, Dr Raymond said medical graduates from unrecognised universities always sit for the examination together with UKM’s medical students to eliminate bias.
To say “lecturers were unwilling to teach them” without quoting specific circumstances was unfair, he said, as there may be lecturers who were not scheduled to teach them at that particular time, or were busy with other teaching, service, research or administrative activities at the time when asked by the medical graduates to teach.
“Each lecturer has his or her own schedule or timetable. Each of them comes from different education backgrounds with variations in the way they were taught before, but the basic essentials of what they teach are the same,” he said.
If graduates were looking for simple straightforward answers in written hospital protocols to the various clinical scenarios that they encounter, more often than not they will not be able to find it, just as they will seldom find straightforward answers in textbooks to real life situations, he said.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

TCM Act ready for tabling in Parliament by June, says Liow

The Star KUCHING: The Traditional and Complementary Medicine (TCM) Act is ready for tabling in parliament by June, the latest, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.

He said the ministry was confident that with the existence of the Act, TCM practitioners in this country would adhere to the medical discipline and regulations in a more professional way, besides protecting the rights of patients seeking this form of treatment.

"So far, 10 government hospitals nationwide have a TCM unit each that is registered and recognised by the ministry," he said after opening an international TCM conference, here, Tuesday.

Liow said the implementation of the TCM Act would also assist the ministry in carrying out research and development (R&D) activities on TCM practices in this country.

On the hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) in Sarawak, he said although the number of cases had dropped, the ministry continued to monitor the situation.

He said there were now only 261 cases reported within a week since such cases had been reported over a 17-week period.

"The HFMD situation in Sarawak is improving, but my ministry would like to remind parents to immediately report to the nearest hospital or clinic if their child has suspected symptoms of HFMD," he added. - Bernama

Medical qualifying exam now available at 16 local varsities

The Star KUCHING: Medical graduates from unrecognised universities overseas can now sit for the Medical Qualifying Examination (MQE) at all 16 medical schools in the country, including private universities.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said previously these graduates could only sit for the exam at three local universities - Universiti Malaya (UM), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) and Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM).

"From now onwards they can sit for the exam in all medical schools in Malaysia. We have 16 medical schools offering 17 medical programmes.

“All students coming back from unrecognised universities overseas can sit for the exam in all these universities," he told reporters after holding a dialogue with several Sarawakian medical graduates who earned their degrees in China here on Tuesday.

The 16 universities are UM, UKM, USM, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas), Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS), Penang Medical College, International Medical University, AIMST University, Melaka-Manipal Medical College, Royal College of Medicine Perak, Monash University Sunway Campus, UCSI University, Cyberjaya University College of Medical Sciences, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia, and Management and Science University.

Liow said this move would make it easier for medical graduates to sit for the MQE, particularly Sarawakian students who would no longer need to travel to Kuala Lumpur for it.

"They prefer to take the exam here because the cost will be lower," he said, adding that this was one of the problems brought up by the graduates during the dialogue session.

Liow also announced that the medical graduates could now take the exam an unlimited number of times.

"In the past it was limited to three times. Now they can sit for it unlimited times to make sure they pass," he said.

Medical graduates from unrecognised universities need to pass the MQE in order to start their housemanship and be registered as medical doctors in Malaysia.

In addition, Liow said the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) was currently in the process of recognising medical programmes in China.

He said MMC would focus on accrediting the 11 top universities in China first as many Malaysian students were studying there.

He said although Malaysia and China had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on recognising the universities, medical courses needed to be accredited by MMC.

"MMC will visit the universities in China to accredit their medical degrees so that we can recognise them as soon as we can," Liow said, adding that MMC would try to complete the accreditation process in one year's time.

At present, MMC recognises 375 universities in over 30 countries, not including China.