Thursday, June 27, 2013

Move for singular healthcare benchmark


The Health Ministry wants public and private healthcare to move away from a two-care system and to work towards achieving a seamless industry by having the same benchmarks in the areas of services, training and research and publication.
Health Ministry director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said there is currently a two-care system in which public and private healthcare have different strengths and weaknesses.
"We are trying to bridge the system in terms of them merging into one, meeting the same standards in quality of services and patient safety, accessibility to services and equity of healthcare," he said in his keynote address at the National Patient Safety Campaign and Seminar today.
Noor Hisham said patient safety has become increasingly crucial, and that it requires a two-pronged approach of problem-solving and a culture of prevention, made possible by sharing of information and expertise.
"The public sector has its own strengths and weaknesses, and the private sector too. So, if our staff members are confident they can report errors and preventable adverse events without getting blamed, everyone can learn from mistakes and work towards quality care," he said.
Noor Hisham added that international experts estimate between 4% and 16% of all hospital admissions worldwide result in adverse events, with half being potentially preventable.
"Thus, while a certain number of adverse events are inevitable, our duty is to minimise these incidences. We need to discard the blaming culture, presently inherent in many healthcare systems, including our own. Only then can we develop and nurture a 'reporting culture' where undesired incidents are reported as a matter of routine," he said.
The nation's first patient safety campaign saw the launch of 13 Malaysian patient safety goals to be initiated this year, among others, the implementation of various World Health Organisation challenges and patient identification.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Malaysia faces upsurge in haze-related health complications

Malaysia faces upsurge in haze-related health complications

Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia on Monday faced an upsurge in health problems after thick haze blanketing Singapore moved to many parts of the country with some provinces reporting 100 per cent jump in respiratory complications.

Prime Minister Najib Razak yesterday declared emergency in the southern districts of Muar and Ledang after the smoky haze shifted from Singapore, raising the air pollution levels to the highest in 16 years. 

Doctors today said public hospitals recorded an upsurge in asthma attacks, with those in Johor and Malacca jumping by more than 100 per cent. 

Other haze-related health complications have also increased, Health director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah said. 

Malaysia Airlines (MAS) has advised its passengers of possible last minute flight cancellations and re-timing of flights due to the haze. 

MAS is also watching five airports for possible closure or interruptions should the haze worsen. 

They are Kuantan's Sultan Ahmad Shah Airport, Kota Baru's Sultan Ismail Petra Airport, Kuala Terengganu's Sultan Mahmud Airport, Kuala Lumpur International Airport and Kota Kinabalu International Airport. 

Visibility in northern Penang state has dropped to 1km even though the Air Pollutant Index (API) in the island recorded moderate levels. 

"In Johor, there was a 38.5 per cent increase in cases of upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) and asthma (122 per cent) while conjunctivitis cases remained unchanged. 

"In Malacca, cases of asthma had also increased significantly by 127 per cent, URTI (20.7 per cent) and conjunctivitis (63.6 per cent)," Abdullah said today. 

API reached a measurement of 746 yesterday in Muar, the Department of Environment website said. It was far above the threshold of 300 for hazardous air quality. 

Malaysia and Singapore are proposing to bring forward the sub-regional ministerial steering committee meeting on trans-boundary haze pollution from the scheduled August 20-21. 

"We are proposing it to be held next week or on July 2," said Natural Resource and Environment Minister G Palanivel adding that "We are awaiting response from the other 3 member countries - Indonesia, Brunei and Thailand." 

Malaysia has offered to host the meeting in Kuala Lumpur. 

Meanwhile, Health Minister S Subramaniam said Malaysia was expected to convey a strong message to their Indonesian counterparts to find permanent solutions to end the annual 'man-made' haze problem. 

He said that issue related to the haze was discussed by the Cabinet with the Malaysian delegate tasked with raising haze related issues that covers public health concerns. 

The minister said Malaysia will support any action by Indonesia against errant Malaysian companies found to be involved in agricultural open burning activities blamed for the haze. 

"If at all they (companies) are Malaysians and Indonesia does take action, Malaysia will surely support such action," Subramaniam told reporter

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Haze: Health Ministry orders all govt hospitals to provide face masks

 The Star Online
People wear masks as they go about their daily lives in the worsening haze.People wear masks as they go about their daily lives in the worsening haze.
PUTRAJAYA: Face masks will be made available to the public at all Government hospitals in view of the worsening haze nationwide.
Selangor Health Department director Datuk Dr Azman Abu Bakar said the Health Ministry had already issued a directive for all public hospitals to provide the masks.
"The priority will be for those in high-risk groups, especially children and the elderly," he said at a press conference here Sunday.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

New measures to be introduced to tighten tobacco control

The Star Online

PETALING JAYA: A slew of reforms will be introduced to tighten tobacco control, including banning direct and indirect promotion of tobacco products and reducing the nicotine content in cigarettes by 2015.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said the graphic health warnings on cigarette packets would also be replaced with new and bigger images which would take up half the front panel.
He said discounts on cigarette prices to customers would also be prohibited.
“We will also tighten our definition of no-smoking buildings. Smoking will be forbidden in all roofed areas, including covered walkways,” he told reporters after launching the World No Tobacco Day at Sunway Pyramid yesterday.
Subramaniam noted that tobacco companies were very innovative in using sales as an indirect promotion gimmick, including employing attractively-dressed girls to sell cigarettes.
“So it is an indirect attraction, but the intention is the (sale of) cigarettes. We want to differentiate between promotional intentions and sales intentions.”
He said large cigarette displays in convenience stores, which served as indirect advertising, would also be an area the ministry will look into.
Subramaniam discouraged any party, including NGOs, from getting direct or indirect sponsorship from tobacco companies.
He said tobacco companies should not be allowed to use corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes as a tool to promote their brand.
“The sponsorship may be for a noble cause but we don't agree with the source,” he said.
Subramaniam said the reduction in tar and nicotine content would be done in two phases in January 2014 and June 2015.
The current maximum allowable tar and nicotine content is 20mg and 1.5mg per cigarette respectively and will be dropped to 10mg and 1mg by 2015.
He said the ministry would make the necessary amendments to the Tobacco Control Rules and Regulation 2004, which is under the Food Act, and added that he hoped to have it gazetted by year end.
Subramaniam said he would also reopen negotiations with the Malaysian Council on Tobacco Control regarding the passing of a standalone bill on tobacco control.
Regarding the issue of cigarette smuggling, he said the ministry would work with the Customs Department and relevant agencies to tackle the problem collectively.
Malaysia's 2011 Global Adult Tobacco Survey revealed that smoking prevalence amongst adults aged 15 and above were 23.1% or some 4.74 million people.
Malaysia is a party to the World Health Organisation's (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and is legally-bound to implement the articles in it. WHO's representative to Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore, Dr Graham Harrison, lauded the new measures as a further step to reduce the number of smokers and smoking-related fatalities in Malaysia.

Malaysia has advanced healthcare system

 BorneoPost Online 
OPENING CEREMONY: Dr Chin hitting the drum to mark the opening of the ‘12th Aosra-PM Congress’. Also seen are (from left) president of Malaysian Society of Anaesthesiologists Dr Sushila Sivasubramaniam and organising chairperson Datin Dr V Sivasakthi.
KUCHING: Malaysia has achieved an advanced healthcare system with universal standard with accessible network of affordable primary care services.
Director-general of Health Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said this is in line with the fourth thrust of 10th Malaysia Plan which began in 2011 to improve the standard and sustainability of quality of life of the rakyat by transforming healthcare to universal standards.
“As of Dec 31 2011, the Ministry of Health provides healthcare services through 138 hospitals with 38,394 official beds, and more than 2,880 health clinics and 184 mobile health clinic teams and five flying doctor service teams.
“As of July 2012, there are 109 1Malaysia Health Clinics throughout the country. There are also private healthcare facilities in the country that complement the public healthcare delivery system – with 220 private hospitals, 39 maternity and nursing homes, 46 ambulatory care centres and 6,589 medical clinics,” he said.
His speech was read out by his deputy Dr Chin Zin Hing who represented him at the opening of the ‘12th Asian and Oceanic Society of Regional Anaesthesia (Aosra) and Pain Medicine Congress’ yesterday.
Dr Noor Hisham added since independence, Malaysia has achieved higher living and economic standard for the people, greater personal wealth and most significantly, higher standards and requirements for medical and health care.
He said in recent decades, there have been major improvements in the health status of the population, with steadily rising life expectancies and declining mortality rates.
“Life expectancy at birth for both males and females improved from 55 and 58 years respectively in 1957 to 72 and 77 years presently.
“The maternal mortality rate has dropped from 3.2 per 1,000 live births in 1957 to 0.3 today. Likewise, the infant mortality rate came down from 75.5 per 1,000 live births in 1957 to 6.8 at present,” he pointed out.
On the providers’ perspective, he said our doctor to population ratio of 1:791 as of Dec 31 2012 is set to improve to 1:600 by 2015 and 1:400 by 2020.
Overall, he estimated the value of Malaysia’s healthcare industry at around USD8.4 billion, saying total expenditure on healthcare in 2009 was 9.96 per cent of GDP.
In their estimation, he said spending on both public and private healthcare would rise to around seven per cent of GDP by 2020 if Malaysia is to match developed-country standards.
He also pointed out that they had a rotation system in place as well as a scaled incentive scheme for public servants in rural and remote areas to encourage more medical professionals to serve in rural areas.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Medical grads in limbo, want govt help

Free Malaysia Today

GEORGE TOWN: There are some 450 jobless but qualified medical doctors in Malaysia from unrecognised universities abroad. Last year they were given a lifeline when the Malaysian Medical Council allowed them to sit for the Medical Qualifying Examination (MQE) at private medical universities. As a result more of these unscheduled doctors managed to pass MQE last year than previous years.
But their respite was short-lived when MMC suddenly cancelled this year’s MQE intake in private universities without any explanation.
Now the qualified doctors are in limbo.
Led by Penang Consumers Protection Association (PCPA) K Koris Atan, some of these unscheduled doctors sought the help of new Health Minister Dr S Subramaniam.
They met Dr Subramaniam on June 10 in Putrajaya, hoping that the MIC strongman would somehow end their predicament. But, they returned home dismayed by his indifferent ministerial response.
After listening to them for only eight minutes, the minister finally told them that “I can’t do much on this matter.”
Koris said the medical doctors were terribly upset with Subramaniam’s tepid response.
“He just washed his hands off the issue,” said Koris. Also present with Koris were Hindraf advisor N Ganesan and seven affected doctors, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The doctors graduated from unrecognised medical universities in Romania and Ukraine. They have also passed the European Union examination for medical graduates to obtain practising licences. But these medical graduates from unrecognised universities need to pass the MQE in order to start their housemanship and be registered as medical doctors in Malaysia.
Previously unscheduled medical graduates from unrecognised foreign universities could only sit for the MQE at three local universities – Universiti Malaya (UM), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) and Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM).
But the number of those unscheduled doctors who managed to pass the examinations was extremely low. Last year however, many unscheduled doctors managed to pass MQE when MMC expanded the examination to private medical institutions AIMST University, Melaka-Manipal Medical College and Monash University Sunway Campus.
Now that too had stopped for reasons best know to MMC and the Health Ministry. “Until today no one knows why MQE was suddenly stopped this year. “The doctors and their families are in dilemma,” said Ganesan.
Although qualified as doctors recognised by European and Commonwealth countries, he said they were left in a lurch in Malaysia because their degrees were not recognised by the government.
Currently MMC recognises 375 universities in over 30 countries. Each medical graduate spends about RM200,000 to 300,000 to complete a six-year medical degree course in unscheduled universities abroad. It’s cheaper than the over RM500,000 needed to pursue a medical course in Malaysia.
Ganesan said some unscheduled doctors were forced to sit at home unable to get employment, while some have taken up jobs unrelated to their medical degrees.
Some are working in pharmaceutical warehouses, as car salesman and insurance agents, and some had resorted to selling different products to make a living. Several others have left Malaysia to earn a livelihood as medical doctor in foreign land.
“We are qualified professionals, and yet we are unrecognised by our very own government when others recognise us. “The MQE path too had been closed now. “We want to serve the country but we are denied the chance,” said the disappointed doctors.
Hindraf will refer the issue to Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister Department, Senator P Waythamoorthy. “The government should end its flip-flop and step in immediately to address this issue,” said Ganesan.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Health Ministry launches I-Dengue website

Health Ministry launches I-Dengue website

SUNGAI PETANI: The Health Ministry today launched the I-Dengue website and application system to provide the public with the latest information on dengue hot spots in the country and on measures to avoid getting the disease.

Its minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said the website was developed using remote sensing technology and the geografic information system (GIS), with the public able to assess it at
"The website will be updated every week. The government hopes this access to information for the public will make the fight against the dengue menace more effective," he said after opening the National-Level Asean Dengue Day 2013 at the Inland Revenue Board hall, here.
Also present were Health deputy director-general Datuk Dr Lokman Hakim Sulaiman and Kedah Health director Dr Ismail Abu Taat.
Dr Subramaniam also reminded the public on the heavy penalty imposed for creating breeding grounds for Aedes mosquitoes, namely  RM500 compound for the first offence and a fine of up to RM10,000 for repeated offence.
He said the ministry was serious about tackling the dengue menace, especially with the rising number of dengue cases from 10,352 with 19 deaths recorded from January to June, 2012 to 10,401 cases with 20 deaths in the same period, this year.
He noted that increase in the number of dengue cases were also seen in other Asean countries like Laos at 81 per cent, Singapore at 79 per cent and Vietman, 19 per cent.
In Malaysia, he added, the areas recording a high number of cases were Johor Baru, Petaling Jaya and Kuala Lumpur.
At the event, Dr Subramaniam also introduced three celebrity icons to assist the ministry in its anti-dengue campaign. They are Imam Muda reality programme winner Muhammad Asyraf Mohd Ridzuan, former Miss World Malaysia (2008-2009) Soo Wincci and THR Raaga radio announcer Uthaya Kumar. -- BERNAMA
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S.Subramaniam puts a jacket on for K. Uthaya at the opening of National-Level Asean Dengue Day 2013, while Soo Winnci(third from right) dan Muhammad Asyraf Mohd Ridzuan(second from right) look on. Also present are Health deputy director-general Datuk Dr Lokman Hakim Sulaiman (right) and Kedah Health director Dr Ismail Abu Taat (left). NSTP/Lim Poh Chin

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Health Ministry: Adenovirus outbreak under control

The Star Online

    BUKIT MERTAJAM: The Health Mi­­nistry says that the viral outbreak in the National Service Training Pro­gramme (PLKN) camp here is under control.
    Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahya said initial laboratory tests showed that it was adenovirus (illness of the respiratory system).
    “It is not serious. All 48 students from this camp (Machang Bubok), who were earlier admitted to the Bukit Mertajam Hospital after coming down with influenza-like symptoms have since been discharged. “They have been advised not to have close contact activities and to maintain good personal hygiene as well as to cover their mouths when coughing,” he said in an interview yesterday.
    Dr Hilmi said that the students concerned have been advised to be isolated at home until they got better.
    He said that the ministry had formed a task force comprising doctors from the Penang Hospital, camp wardens and public health officers to closely monitor the situation.
    “The situation is under control and there is nothing to worry about,” he said. In March 2011, three police trainees from the Kuala Lumpur police training college (Pulapol) in Jalan Semarak, Kuala Lumpur succumbed to adenovirus infection after they were admitted to the Kuala Lumpur (KL) Hospital’s intensive care unit.
    They were trainee inspector Mohd Redzuan Ishak, 26, and trainee constables Mohd Azizan Azirid, 25, and Mohammad Siman, 23.
    Some 35 trainees were treated at the KL Hospital, while another six were treated in the Sungai Buloh Hospital after they were found to have contracted the virus.

    Health D-G: Be fully informed before undergoing cosmetic surgery

     The Star Online
    PETALING JAYA: Those going for cosmetic procedures must be fully informed about the risks and benefits involved, said Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
    He said aesthetic surgeries had li­mitations and possible complications.
    He added that aesthetic surgical procedures required general anaesthesia, invasive entrance and mani­pulation of the body – and occasionally there could be problems related to fluid overload, low blood pressure, blood clots and drug interactions.
    On Saturday, Jane Lim Mei Jiuan, 46, underwent a breast enlargement cosmetic surgery here but died alle­gedly due to complications.
    Dr Noor Hisham said before proceeding with an aesthetic proce­­dure or surgery, patients should know the procedure involved, where it would be performed and who was the doctor performing the surgery.
    Customers must also know what results could be reasonably expected from the procedure and its possible risks.
    He added that the ministry had not received any report from the family members relating to Lim’s death.
    “I have asked my officer in the Medical Practice Division to investigate this. Until I have a full report, I cannot make a statement,” he said.
    Dr Noor Hisham said the ministry received few reports on botched cases – three complaints this year and one last year, which were captured from the media.
    All the cases involved women, ages 20 to 40, and they suffered complications from liposuction and cosmetic surgeries, he added.
    Two cases which resulted in deaths were received in 2004 and 2009 involving ethical issue and breach of Code of Professional Conduct, he said.
    MCA Public Services and Com­plaints Department Datuk Seri Michael Chong said he received 11 complaints last year and two this year.
    The cases involved liposuction complications, laser burns, facial or body scarring or allergic reactions, he added.

    Saturday, June 08, 2013

    Ministry eyes healthcare services at shopping malls

    | The Star Online

    IPOH: First, it was courier and drive-through services to obtain medication from government healthcare facilities.
    Now, the Health Ministry is looking into making the service available at shopping centres.
    “We are looking into expanding the service for dispensing medication at shopping centres,” said director-general Datuk Seri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah after opening the 8th Asean Conference on Primary Healthcare seminar here yesterday.
    This was part of the ministry's move to ease congestion at public healthcare establishments and to have a better delivery system.
    There are currently about 55 hospitals and 51 health clinics nationwide using the courier and drive-through methods, he added.
    Dr Noor Hisham added that public hospitals and government health clinics nationwide were being upgraded and healthcare services were also being improved.
    “The people want all public hospitals to be like private hospitals in terms of services. All public hospitals and government clinics need to improve their quality of service first,” he said.
    He said the Malaysian Health System Study formerly known as 1Care national healthcare scheme was still being studied and that the blueprint could be ready in 2015.

    Friday, June 07, 2013

    Private and healthcare providers to collaborate?

    The Star Online

    KUALA LUMPUR: In an effort to make healthcare services more accessible to patients nationwide, the Health Ministry is considering collaborating with private healthcare providers.
    Its Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniamsaid on Thursday the ministry was thinking about how patients could be treated at private hospitals as well.
    "We are exploring the concept of collaboration with the private sector but it will also depend on whether they can accept our cost," he said during his first visit to KL Hospital.
    On whether the Ministry would consider the private sector's request for them to be incorporated and collaborate in providing healthcare services for the 1Malaysia Clinic, Subramaniam said the Ministry would re-visit the details of the request to find conclusion to the issue now that he has taken over the Ministry.

    Thursday, June 06, 2013

    Health Ministry to review CSMU

     Free Malaysia Today
    Health Ministry is in the midst of reviewing the deregistration of CSMU, says Dr S Subramaniam.
    KUALA LUMPUR: The medical programme offered by Crimea State Medical University (CSMU) in Ukraine which has been withdrawn from the second schedule of the 1971 Medical Act is now being reviewed, said Health Minister Dr S Subramanian.
    Graduates of CSMU were required to pass the medical qualifying test to register with the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) as a doctor.
    “Our medical standards are very high and not only CSMU but if we have any issues with other medical programmes, we will not hesitate to de-register the programme,” the minister told reporters here today.
    On Aug 7, 2001, CSMU received recognition to offer a medical study programme, however many complaints were received with regard to the institution and the performances of its graduates.
    The Cabinet supported the withdrawal of the recognition of CSMU by MMC in 2005, but to ensure it would not affect Malaysian students studying there, the decision only involved students registered with the university after Dec 31, 2005.
    In early 2004, the Malacca Manipal Medical College which had mostly Indian students was de-recognised by the MMC. Later in the year, AIMST’s Medical Faculty was also de-recognised by the MMC.
    “During the reevaluation in October 2010, following several requests by CSMU, the evaluation panel found there were still serious weaknesses as found in the previous visits,” Subramaniam explained.
    “It is not easy for the MMC to monitor all the colleges and universities registered, hence as and when we receive complaints we will monitor and audit.
    “We want to ensure that medical status is maintained, hence the review will be professionally done with regard to the institutions and the performance of its graduates,” he added.
    HKL undergoes expansion
    Speaking to reporters during his official visit to the KL General Hospital (HKL), Subramaniam announced that HKL is undergoing an expansion with an additional eight wards which consists of 240 beds. The expansion programme also includes a seven-storey car park.
    “The government has allocated approximately RM300 million for this project which will meet the demand of the growing number of patients,” he said.
    HKL is also undergoing an upgrade in its facilities to allocate a separate ambulance pathway, banking and postal facilities and mechanical support centres.
    “We do have plans for a one-stop Women and Children Hospital as well,” said the minister.
    In his briefing to doctors, Subramaniam explained the process of managing patients and the importance of educating them.
    On his actions to curb the shortage of specialist consultants, he commented that the ministry is venturing into possibilities of training for doctors and multiple pace training for doctors among which are in his pipeline.

    Wednesday, June 05, 2013

    Health Ministry: Registry on practitioners of aesthetic medicine to be set up -

     The Star Online

      SEREMBAN: A national registry on doctors and specialists in aesthetic medicine will be set up to curb allegations of disfigurements or deaths arising from aesthetic procedures performed by incompetent medical and non-medical practitioners.
      Medical and surgical specialists will be required to possess a higher qualification and be properly trained in their respective fields before they can have their names included in the National Registry of Registered Medical Practitioners Practising Aesthetic Medical Practice.
      These are among new provisions introduced by the Health Ministry in a move to regulate the industry following a significant increase in the number of doctors engaging in this practice.
      Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the main objective of the registry was to ensure the safety of aesthetic medical practice in Malaysia.
      “In recent years, aesthetic medical practice has gained popularity and as it is a consumer-driven service, the public needs to be protected.
      “Aesthetic medical practice is not risk-free as many may perceive. In the pursuit of trying to satisfy the aesthetic desires of patients, practitioners need to be aware of the health risks and potential complications,” he said in the foreword of the just-released Guidelines on Aesthetic Medical Practice for Registered Medical Practitioners on Tuesday.
      Aesthetic medicine procedures range from botox injections, hyaluronic acid injections (to treat knee pain caused by osteoarthritis), laser hair removal, micro-dermabrasion (anti-ageing treatment) and chemical peels (to improve and smooth the texture of the facial skin) to breast augmentation, liposuction, facelift and rhinoplasty.
      Malaysian Society of Aesthetic Medicine president Dr Chin Shih Choonsaid the registry would help the people to verify the credentials of the said doctor before they decide to undergo any procedure.
      “Once the registry is up, the people will be able to distinguish between a trained doctor in aesthetic medicine and a fly-by-night operator,” he said.
      The national registry will have three chapters for general practitioners, medical specialists and surgical specialists.
      These guidelines would define the scope of practice allowed, the minimum level of competency required and the process of registration for medical practitioners, said Dr Noor Hisham.
      The ministry sought expert opinions from various stakeholders including professional bodies, universities and doctors over several years before coming up with the guidelines on aesthetic medical practice for general practitioners, medical and surgical specialists.

      Saturday, June 01, 2013

      Malaysia praised over maternal, child health


      KUALA LUMPUR (May 29, 2013): Malaysia can be a "light for other countries in the region" when it comes to maternal, newborn and child heath, international health experts said today.
      According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Malaysia has made tremendous progress by achieving the United Nations-prescribed Milennium Development Goals (MDG) of "improving maternal care" and "lowering child mortality".
      In a press conference at the "Women Deliver Third Global Conference" here today, WHO Maternal, Newborn, Adolescent and Child Health director Dr Elizabeth Mason said Malaysia has lowered its child mortality rate from some 300 per 100,000 births to only 29 per 100,000 births.
      "In addition, there are only less than 10 neonatal deaths per 1,000 births," she said.
      London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine maternal reproductive and child health director Prof Joy Lawn said Malaysia should look at improving outcomes for babies after birth, including focusing on child care and education.
      "Malaysia should look at what happens after birth in terms of the child's general health. For instance, hearing and motor functions, as it has met all relevant MDGs.
      "Also, think of other outcomes for the mother as well. Maternal care is very important in ensuring the child has a healthy life," she added.
      Mason congratulated Malaysia for its progress, saying that the country is "on par with many European countries" in this area.
      "That said, the media has the responsibility to keep the pressure up to hold parliamentarians to account on people's well being so respective authorities will do their work," she said.