Monday, September 30, 2013

Government plans to have mass CPR training

The Star Online

BATU PAHAT: The Health Ministry is planning to introduce cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training nationwide to increase first aid knowledge among the public.
Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya said not many people in the country had first aid skills.
“Many do not know what to do when an accident occurs and can only watch the victim. The first five minutes is extremely crucial to victims who collapse or faint due to other reasons by providing them the initial support while waiting for medical help.
“It is best that at least one member in each family knows CPR,” he said after launching a health carnival and mass CPR programme in conjunction with World Heart Day 2013 here yesterday.
Dr Hilmi said mass CPR training was a good programme that had been practised in Johor since 2009.
“Such good programmes should be spread to other parts of the country and I will bring it up to the ministry to get it promoted,” he said.
In another development, state health director Dr Mohd Khairi Yakub said there were 22 1Malaysia Clinic currently in the state and three more would be built this year.

Government increasing specialist doctor scholarships to 1,000

The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: In a bid to increase the number of specialist doctors, the Government is increasing the number of scholarships for the local Masters programme from 450 to 1,000 slots. The 1,000 scholarships will be available to doctors who plan to specialise in the fields of their choice beginning this year, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam.
He said there were currently 3,714 specialists in the government sector and an estimated 8,000 specialists in the private sector.
This number, he said, only filled up about 70% of current posts available in government and private hospitals.
“We also encourage our medical officers to pursue the specialist programme via various pathways such as the membership programmes,” said Dr Subramaniam before opening the 10th Health Ministry–Academy of Medicine Malaysia Scientific Meeting yesterday.
He urged medical practitioners to always strive for excellence and not be satisfied with being “run of the mill” doctors.
“Achieving adequate supply of trained human resource with the capacity and capability to meet the needs of the nation will always be a challenge.
“Despite changes and improvements in medical student education and post-graduate training over the past years, the Health Ministry is still facing a shortage of doctors and specialists,” he said in his speech, adding that the Government was looking to increase the number of specialists in areas including radiology, pathology and emergency medicine.
During the event, Dr Subramaniam was admitted as an Honorary Fellow to the Academy of Medicine Malaysia.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

IJN records 19-year-old as youngest patient to have heart attack

The Star Online
KUALA LUMPUR: The National Heart Institute (IJN) has recorded a case of a 19-year-old as the youngest patient to suffer from heart attack due to food factor.

As such, IJN chief executive officer Tan Sri Dr Robaayah Zambahari advised the people not to take lightly on the need for healthy and nutritious food.

If it is not practised, it can contribute to obesity that can lead to heart problems and stroke, she told reporters after the opening of a heart exhibition by Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya here.
Dr Robaayah also advised the people to lead a healthy lifestyle, like having regular exercise.

The two-day exhibition, organised by IJN and the Malaysian Heart Foundation (YJM), is held in conjunction with World Heart's Day.

Also present was YJM founder and chairman Datuk Dr J S Sambhi. - Bernama

Monday, September 23, 2013

30pc rural Johor adults decline health checks

The Malay Mail Online
SEGAMAT, Sept 22 — About 30 per cent of the rural residents in Johor aged 18 years and above are reluctant to undergo health checks at health clinics and hospitals for fear of finding out their real health conditions.
State health deputy director Dr Fatimah Othman said their excuse for not taking the test was the fear of losing their appetite when they were found to be suffering from diabetes or high blood pressure.
“In the first eight months of this year only, 7,941 new diabetic patients were detected in Johor compared to 12,808 new cases reported last year,” she said.
She was delivering the speech of state health director, Dr Khairi Yaacob at the opening of a diabetes and lifestyle awareness campaign for the Segamat parliamentary constituency in Buloh Kasap here today.  
The event, organised by the Buloh Kasap Health Clinic was, officiated by Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam, who is also Segamat MP, and was attended by 300 residents from the area. — Bernama

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Consumers unhappy with 'secrecy' over private healthcare charges

The Star Online

PETALING JAYA: Consumers are unhappy that private healthcare charges are still being shrouded in secrecy, said Federation of Malaysian Consu­mers Association (Fomca) secretary-general Datuk Paul Selvaraj.
“Will consumers only find out about the increase in specialist fees after they are slapped with a hefty bill?” he asked.
“The fees must be put on hospital websites so that consumers can compare healthcare charges. Now, consumers are paying ‘5-star rates’ without knowing what it’s for.”
Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said most of the professional fees submitted by the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) in its latest proposal increased by 30% from the last one.
“However, all medical practitioners in private hospitals have always adhered to the 13th Schedule of the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services (Private Hospitals and Other Private Healthcare Facilities) Regulations 2006 for their professional fees,” he added.
He said the ministry would add new clauses to the regulations to reduce any attempt by medical practitioners to manipulate the cost of procedures.
MMA president Datuk N.K.S. Tharmaseelan explained that the association was preparing a new, comprehensive fee schedule which would cover new procedures, such as advanced robotic and computer-assisted navigational surgery.
Dr Tharmaseelan also dismissed a claim that specialists earn RM150,000 monthly, saying most specialists only earn an average of RM25,000 to RM30,000 per month.
On Aug 23, a reader from Kuala Lumpur claimed that a private specialist earns an average of RM150,000 per month and “have ways to fleece the patients”.
Citing an example, he said an ENT surgeon could do an operation and charge for four separate procedures.

Patients brace for a 'deeper cut' over fees for specialist procedures

 The Star Online

PETALING JAYA: Patients will have to brace themselves for a “deeper cut” if a proposal to increase fees for specialist procedures is adopted by the government.
Association of Third Party Medical Claims Administrators Malaysia (TPA) vice-president Paul Cheok said the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA), in asking for a 30% increase in consultation charges last month, had also proposed staggering increases in charges for specialist procedures.
TPA members, who form part of the country’s managed care organisations, provide administrative and medical claim processing services for insurance companies and more than 1,000 employers, mostly corporations.
“We are not against the approved 14.5% hike in consultation fees agreed on by the Health Ministry, but the MMA’s proposal for an increase in surgical procedures and anaesthetist fees must not be allowed. Patient volume has increased over the years, so based on the current rates, specialists are already fairly compensated,” he said.
Click on image for larger view
“Specialists think private hospitals make a lot of money, but the reverse is true.”
TPA estimates that there are about 800 to 1,000 procedures listed in the 5th Edition of the MMA Fee Schedule.
Cheok said the MMA must also justify why certain procedures have been upgraded to a higher surgical fee category.
“Some procedures which were previously categorised as minor, have been pushed into the ‘major category’.
“Coupled with the new rates, this will lead to patients paying more than 200% of current charges.
“Patients should be more concerned over the proposed cost of surgical procedures instead of worrying about a rise in consultation fees,” he said, adding that often, one operation consists of multiple surgical procedures which could lead to multiple charges.
MMA president Datuk Dr NKS Tharmaseelan however said specialist procedure fees in Malaysia were still the lowest in the region.
He said doctors should not be blamed for high hospital bills as their fees only amounted to 20% of the bills.
“If hospital bills have risen, it is due to the hospitals charging higher fees for their services and other items,” he claimed.
“Many specialists in private practice can hardly make ends meet. And, they have to pay exorbitant indemnity insurance. For example, obstetricians and gynaecologist and plastic surgeons pay almost RM80,000 per annum in premiums.”
On TPA’s claim that MMA’s proposal to increase the fees for surgical procedures would lead to patients paying more than 200% than current charges, he said their calculations for the new fee rates for specialist procedures were “mere conjecture”.
“I don’t know where they are plucking the numbers from,” he said.
Medical Practitioners Coalition Association of Malaysia (MPCAM) and Malaysian Primary Care Network (MPCN) president Dr Jim Loi said the proposed rate for procedures are justified if “100% goes to the specialists”.
“The cost of items and materials have risen in tandem with the current economic state and the total cost of procedures. Specialists need to invest a lot of money,” he said.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

M’sia set to be No 1 in SE Asia in providing high tech healthcare

Free Malaysia Today
PETALING JAYA: Malaysia is poised to be the number one nation in offering the latest in healthcare high tech in South-East Asia.
According to Mitchell Silong, general manager for healthcare and information technology at General Electric Healthcare Asia Pacific (GE), the IT infrastructure and the healthcare sector in Malaysia is growing in line with the government’s commitment to upgrade these sectors.
“Malaysia is the No 1 nation in the region, in terms of investment in high-tech healthcare equipment which include advanced MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) technology,” Silong said in an exclusive interview for The Malaysian Reserve.
Silong said the wider acceptance of new technologies by the Malaysian healthcare authorities and the fact the country is already a leading destination in health tourism have been instrumental in turning Malaysia into a major healthcare destination in the region.
“Asia has a very disparate healthcare market, with some countries having strong public healthcare while others have very strong private services. Japan for example has a matured market,” he said.
He said that while Australia was relatively advanced in healthcare IT, Malaysia is more advanced in infrastructure and knowledge when looking into comparison at the higher end of the scale.
The country’s healthcare sector is rapidly changing in line with the government’s vision towards an industrialised Malaysia by the year 2020 under the various economic transformation programmes.
Malaysia has progressively undertaken various initiatives and programmes to improve the healthcare facility and engineering services.
GE is currently the technology partner in the government’s Diagnostic Services Nexus Teleradiology programme, one of the Entry Point Projects outlined under the Economic Transformation Programme.
The programme aims to establish Malaysia as a global imaging centre of excellence, providing teleradiology services for public and private institutions. The programme is currently connected to six institutions, and GE is partnering with the government to understand the opportunities for future expansion of the project.
With the introduction of GE’s “Universal Viewer” in Malaysia, GE Healthcare is helping local institutions to deliver a powerful unified workspace for radiologists and clinicians and this will help curtail the shortage of radiologists in the country.
As a result, Teleradiology and remote reading have also improved Malaysia.
“This has changed the healthcare industry. The new technologies and the efficiency in managing the MRI’s and scans allows medical practitioners and hospitals to communicate faster on the images and so on,” he said.
This Silong said, has changed the face of radiology itself and has impacted on the provision of healthcare of higher standards in this era of technological informatisation of the sector.
GE’s global growth is sustained by Asia’s demands for advanced IT healthcare systems, and Malaysia is one of the countries where most of these systems are being put to use.
GE healthcare worldwide generate s about US$18 billion (RM56.7 billion) — US$1.3 billion in Asia, whereas healthcare IT stands at US$1.4 billion, which places GE as the number one in the world in the healthcare IT services sector.

3rd Malaysian International Conference On Holistic Health For Cancer Next Month


KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 20 (Bernama) -- The 3rd Malaysian International Conference on Holistic Health for Cancer hosted by Cansurvive Centre Malaysia Berhad will be held on Oct 27 at Sime Darby Convention Centre, here.

Its president, Vaidya C D Siby said the one-day conference, which begins at 9am, will feature prominent speakers from the United States, Germany, Italy, Australia, India and Malaysia who are experts in Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Yoga and Mental Health Discipline.

He said, the conference aims to create greater awareness about the benefits and availability of these holistic, non-invasive cancer therapies that include nutrition and diet and other forms of orthodox treatments, so that patients would have a truly holistic approach to cancer.

"The theme for this year's conference is 'Holistic Healing for Lung Cancer', which is one of the major causes of cancer death in Malaysia characterized by uncontrolled cell growth in the lung tissues.

"If left untreated, it can easily spread beyond the lung," he said.

He said, the most common cause for lung cancer was long-term exposure to tobacco smoke which causes 80 to 90 per cent of lung cancers followed by genetic factors.

Siby said that based on available cancer statistic from 2008 to 2010, 6.88 per cent of men and women born today or one in 15 people were diagnosed with lung cancer and bronchus during their lifetime.

"The statistics also showed it was estimated that men had about 44 per cent chance of developing cancer in their lifetime, while women had about 38 per cent chance of developing cancer," he said.

He said this conference is open to the public for free and those who wish to attend can call Pushpa at 012-9732528 for reservation, which will be made available on a first come first served basis.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Najib: Healthcare sector changing in line with Vision 2020

The Malay Mail Online
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 12 — The country’s healthcare sector is rapidly changing in line with the government’s vision towards an industrialised Malaysia by the year 2020, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
He said the sector demands high quality patient care services, in an environment that is continuously challenged by changes in customer requirements, emergence of new health risks, changes in medical technology and new applications of information technology.
“Hospital engineering is the fundamental foundation that is pre-requisite to quality healthcare facility, that, in return, is expected to promote and enhance quality patient care services.
“Thus, the theme ‘Empowering Facility Management in Healthcare Engineering’ is more relevant and mirrors the government’s transformation strategies in improving healthcare services on a continual basis,” he said in his opening speech at the Hospital Engineering International Conference and Exhibition 2013 here today.
Najib noted that among others, the empowering strategy on facility management in healthcare engineering is expected to move the healthcare sector economy up the value chain, as well as raise the capacity for knowledge, innovation and nurturing of a first-class mentality in healthcare engineering.
He said the country has progressively undertaken various initiatives and programmes to improve the healthcare facility and engineering services.
“The development of public hospitals in Malaysia has migrated from the traditional design and build contract through to turnkey concept and most recently the public-private partnership approach.
“The latter is expected to provide long-term private sector commitment in developing and maintaining quality healthcare facility in partnership with the government,” he added.
The two-day event beginning yesterday was organised by the Biomedical Engineering Association of Malaysia in collaboration with principal partners Advance Pact Sdn Bhd and Medivest Sdn Bhd, as well as partners Faber Mediserve Sdn Bhd and Radicare (M) Sdn Bhd, and supported by the Ministry of Health.
The conference is held in conjunction with the Executive Council and Council Meetings of the International Federation of Hospital Engineering, with more than 30 council member countries participating. – Bernama

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Kapit tops number of melioidosis cases in Sarawak


MIRI: Out of the 505 melioidosis cases reported in the state from 2010 to 2012, 80.2 per cent were detected in the districts of Kapit, Kuching , Miri and Bintulu.
This was revealed by Director of State Health Department Datuk Dr Zulkifli Jantan in his situational analysis of the disease in the state during a workshop, ‘Melioidosis in Malaysian Borneo: Neglected No More’ at a leading hotel here yesterday.
“A total 252 cases were reported in Kapit, 58 in Bintulu, Belaga (50), Miri (44) and Kuching (19).”
He added in the first six months of this year 24 cases of melioidosis were reported in the state resulting in five deaths.
In 2010, 343 cases were reported wtih 17 deaths. The number decreased in 2011 to 121 (11 deaths) and the number dropped further to 40 cases in 2012 with just one fatality.
He said, melioidosis or also known as Whitmore’s disease is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei found in the soil and water.
Meanwhile, a PhD candidate at Menzies School of Health Research and Research Officer at Institute of Health and Community Medicine University Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) Yuwana Pondi yesterday unveiled her new research finding on the disease at the workshop.
Yuwana said she hoped further studies and research would be carried on melioidosis as to find better ways in diagnosing the disease and treating patients.
About 60 participants comprising health professionals from Sabah, Sarawak, Peninsular Malaysia and Australia attended the workshop.
The three-day workshop is a joint effort between Menzies School of Health Research Darwin Australia, Unimas, state Health Department and Australia-Malaysia Institute.

Dengue fever hits 19,367 in Malaysia


KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 10 (KUNA) -- Dengue fever claimed lives and infected 22 percent of people in Malaysia, reaching 19,367 cases of infections since the beginning of 2013, till September 5.
Malaysian Deputy Health Minister Dr Helmi Yahya said in press remarks on Tuesday that Dengue infection cases remarkably increased this year in Malaysia, hitting 19,637, compared to 15,118 in 2012, while the death toll went up this year to reach 39, compared to 27 in 2012.
The Malaysian Ministry of Health launched a series of campaigns to fight Aedes bug, which is the main cause behind Dengue fever, with the first campaign in July 8, and the second in August 20.
Dengue Fever also known as breakbone fever is an infectious tropical disease caused by the dengue virus. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle and joint pains, and a characteristic skin rash that is similar to measles.
Aedes bug is located in The humid tropical climate regions, spread in northern Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Philippines. (end) KUNA 101234 Sep 13NNNN

Friday, September 06, 2013

BP Healthcare eyes new growth area


KUALA LUMPURL Malaysia’s industry leader BP Healthcare Group is looking to expand its referral base as a new source of growth following the very positive feedback to its GP Referral Programme launched in the second quarter of the year.
In the past four months alone, the programme had registered a take-up rate of 1,000 general practitioners (GPs) who were drawn to the range of advanced medical diagnostics and faster turnaround times for examination results by BP Healthcare which has the largest medical diagnostic chain in Malaysia.
“The strong response is an endorsement of the leadership role, high quality services, affordability and convenience access that is supported by our 365-day nationwide network. Clinics which used to refer to hospitals are looking to us as a faster alternative,” said Mr Chevy Beh, BP Healthcare Group Executive Director.
The referral programme is the latest extension to the diverse range of services offered to the Group’s network of 4,000 private clinics throughout the country, that included pharmaceutical supplies, IT solutions, medical devices and clinical testing.
BP Healthcare is the first medical laboratory in Asia to be accredited by the U.S-based Joint Commission International, the global leader in accrediting healthcare organisations, and was also recognised as the Health Screening Company of the Year by Frost and Sullivan at its 2013 Malaysia Excellence Awards.
Over 70 per cent of its staff are medical professionals ranging from radiologists, surgeons, ENT specialists, hepatologists, physicians, ophthalmologists, dermatologists, audiologists, dentists, pharmacists and nutritionists.
The depth of its medical specialists and integrated IT system allows the Group to facilitate easy and quick access to referrals and diagnosis, as well as to focus on acute multi-disciplinary team-based care.
Advanced diagnostic testing available at BP Healthcare includes colour Doppler imaging, digitised X-ray, mammogram, stress test, CT scan, ENT (ear, nose and throat), dental, hearing and ultrasound tests.
“By pulling our resources together and through closer partnerships, we can deliver more personalised, comprehensive and proficient medical care to patients. This resonates with our emphasis to promote prevention and wellness,” Mr Beh added.
The GP Referral Programme provides affiliate clinic partners with more competitive rates on diagnostic services, periodical workshops, access to other services offered by BP Healthcare, networking with the Group’s specialists and on-line updates on services and specialist clinic schedules.
BP Healthcare is the country’s healthcare group in diagnostics and imaging, laboratory, pharmacy, dental, food, environmental testing, hearing and medical technologies. It offers a comprehensive range of medical services, health well-being programmes as well as online and wholesale pharmacy.
It has the largest medical diagnostic chain with over 100 outlets spanning every state in Malaysia as well as over 70 laboratories, 50 pharmacies and dispensaries, 50 hearing aid centres, 50 food and industrial testing centres, and three dental specialist clinics. – Bernama

Thursday, September 05, 2013

In Malaysia, more students getting HIV, many through sex

Malay Mail

PETALING JAYA, Sept 5 — Young Malaysians between the ages of 20 and 39 formed the largest segment of those infected with HIV over a five-year period.
That is pretty much general knowledge, but the most alarming piece of statistic is the dramatic jump in the number of students contracting HIV.
The total number of new cases of Malaysians infected with  HIV and AIDS had held steady over the five years since 2008.
The number of cases in 2008 was 4,633, while in 2012, the figure was 4,799.
The number of deaths from HIV and AIDS over the period, however, declined from 1,050 in 2008 to 702 in 2012.
In 2008, only 28 students contracted HIV and seven contracted AIDS.
That figure rose to 35 and six in 2009, 44 and eight in 2010 and 69 and 15 in 2011.
But in 2012, a startling 170 students contracted HIV while 16 contracted AIDS.
The number of students contracting HIV that year saw an explosion of 148 per cent — from 69 to 170.
In contrast, the increase of new HIV cases from 2008 to 2010 was at a steady 25 per cent.
These figures are striking compared to those from the period between 1986 to 2007.
Over the earlier 22-year period, only 205 students had been found to be HIV positive, while only 48 were found to be suffering from AIDS.
Over the 2008 to 2012 period, 35 students died from either HIV or AIDS.
The ministry was not forthcoming in outlining the details, but it is believed that the majority of students newly-diagnosed as HIV infected were college and university students.
Malaysia Aids Council Executive Director Roswati Ghani said they are deeply concerned by the growing number of new HIV infections among students.
“What’s also alarming is the proportion of new HIV cases reported in the younger age group of 13-29 years, to the overall population (1 to 4 in 2012),” she said.
“We are also cognizant of this situation; and that the HIV epidemic in this country continues to be driven by sexual transmission since beginning 2010.”
She encouraged students, especially those who engage in high-risk behaviours, to get tested regularly and be aware of their HIV status.
“To address the rising number of new HIV infections among students, the management of universities and colleges must also make accurate HIV information accessible to their students,” she said.
“They  should formalise HIV education in the curriculum and provide counselling services that are evidence-based while, at the same time, respecting the students’ sensitivities and rights.”
The health ministry, upon learning of a student diagnosed as HIV positive or having AIDS, will set in motion a chain of actions.
The amount spent in response to HIV and AIDS, such as on antiretroviral therapy and treatment, medicines and campaigns, since 1993 has reached RM1.23 billion.

Cosmetic surgeries gone wrong

Free Malaysia Today

GEORGE TOWN: Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) wants the federal government to legislate tough laws to allow criminal charges with severe punishments, including jail sentences, on unqualified cosmetic surgeons; especially those who caused death or disfigurement on clients.
CAP president SM Mohamed Idris calls on the Health Ministry to legislate the law to prevent these bogus surgeons from conducting cosmetic surgeries, which had often caused tragic sufferings and deaths of clients due to a botched job.
He wants the legislation to be enacted as soon as possible to govern the fast growing industry. Lack of such laws has encouraged the mushrooming of illegal surgeons and beauty salons.
In view of an increase in botched surgeries, he called upon the ministry to take stern action against doctors who performed such procedures despite not being qualified.
He wants the ministry to upgrade the current guidelines on aesthetic medicine into law so that it can be legally enforced and regulated.
Presently the Health Ministry applies the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act (PHFSA) 1998 and the Medical Act 1971 if untrained and unqualified doctors conduct cosmetic surgeries.
But this is insufficient and Idris said currently most cases ended up in the Consumers’ Tribunal where victims, who suffered permanent damages, would only be compensated monetarily.
To complicate matters further, many victims are shy to come forward to lodge police reports on botched surgeries.
Since the eighties CAP has been receiving complaints in regards to botched cosmetic surgeries; but Idris lamented that not much has changed to-date since there is a lack of proper legislation.
“Current antiquated laws are insufficient to protect consumers from being duped by these unqualified cosmetic surgeons.
“The Ministry should strictly regulate cosmetic surgery with direct laws.
“The culprits must face criminal charges and jailed if found guilty,” Idris told a press conference in his office today. Also present was CAP officer Hatijah Hashim.
Mounting cases of botched surgeries
He pointed out that media had recently reported several botched cosmetic surgeries, including on a woman who died from complications after a breast enlargement procedure at a beauty centre.
Other reports were on death after undergoing liposuction and allergic reactions.
Idris said nerve damage and disfigurement caused by injected substances during cosmetic procedures were other instances
Unlike a responsible doctor who would conduct a thorough examination on the patient before deciding on the best treatment option, he said beauty centres often bent backwards to follow the customers’ wishes, regardless of the medical risks.
“Media reports shared common features of disfigurement, deformity and death as results of procedures directed at altering external appearances,” he said further.
Following are press reports on some cosmetic surgeries that went wrong:
• Nov 2009 – A 34 year-old woman suffered a swollen nose after injections were made to enlarge it.
• Jan 2010 – 44 year-old wife of a politician died after being in a 10 month coma following complications that resulted from an eight hour surgery for eye-bag reduction, tummy tuck and liposuction.
• Feb 2010 – A 28 year-old salesgirl ended up with a disfigured face after a collagen injection to look younger.
• May 2010 – A 37 year-old woman who went for a breast reduction surgery suffered nerve damage and had to have her nipples removed.
• June 2010 – After liposuction at a beauty salon, a woman died when she went back for a follow-up procedure. She is believed to have had an allergic reaction to the anesthetic.
• May 2011 – A 35 year-old woman from Petaling Jaya paid RM8, 180 for four injections to her buttocks with what the beauty centre claimed to be sheep placenta. When the injected areas started swelling she went to a specialist hospital and found that the centre had actually used silicone.
• June 2011 – A 30 year-old clerk got an infection from a procedure in which fat from her abdominal was used to pad her breast.
• June 2011 – An 18 year-old trainee beautician was left with part of her earlobe missing after a surgery to remove a scar on the ear lobe.
• June 2013 -A 46 year-old woman was pronounced dead after undergoing a breast enlargement procedure at a beauty centre in Petaling Jaya.
Greed for money
The beauty and wellness industry is a rapidly growing lucrative business in Malaysia.
According to the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC), the billion-dollar industry is growing by 15% annually.
Idris said the potential for huge profits had spurred growth of backstreet practitioners with little experience or expertise in handling the surgeon’s scalpel or even other non-surgical cosmetic equipments.
“This has lured not only quack doctors but also general practitioners who are untrained in the field wanting to make a quick buck,” he said.
According to Malaysian Association of Plastic, Aesthetic and Craniomaxillofacial Surgeons (Mapacs), if a survey was conducted among plastic surgeons in the country on the number of botched cases, it would be only one or two per month.
But Idris argued such study had failed to include surgeries done by illegal and backyard operators.
He noted that many unsanctioned cosmetic surgery centres had mushroomed in Penang. They promote and market their services and goods as tourism products to foreigners.
As the society is obsessed to look beautiful, he said many consumers did not think twice to spend thousands of ringgits to go under the knife for enhancements.
He said many, especially young women, were falling prey to unscrupulous beauty centres, which feed on their insecurities and desires.
He said the need for cosmetic procedures had almost become a necessity for many modern women as they are driven by relentless adverts in the media.
Though patients are far better informed today on cosmetic surgery, “we still hear of human tragedies,” he said.
“The amount of money spent on such operations all over the world may well exceed the budgets of some developing countries, in which people die of hunger and are unable to sustain life.
“Many people are suffering from botched surgeries after spending so much to look beautiful. Some have caused deaths.
“It’s a waste of money, tragic, sad and bad,” stressed Idris.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Sarawak needs doctors, not high-end equipment


KUCHING: Has the federal government got its priorities all wrong with Sarawak and the state’s healthcare?
The Sarawak Malaysian Medical Association seems to think so.
According to its chairman Dr Donald Liew the government should focus on boosting and retaining manpower in the state’s medical and healthcare instead of spending millions on infrastructure.
“There’s just too much emphasis on upgrading hospital infrastructure, equipments, facilities and services.
“A lot of sub specialised care are too expensive and not cost effective to be set up in all hospitals.
“It is pointless to approve thousands ringgit for an implant for instance, when the patient can’t even make it to the hospital due to logistical hindrances.
“We need to re-prioritise and focus on manpower training, deployment, and last but not least retention manpower,” Liew said adding that social welfare funding for patients often did not adequately take into account the logistics issue in the state.
He further pointed out that Sarawak had only one tertiary referral centre in Kuching and that too was lagging because of lack of manpower.
“The hospital in Kuching especially is packed to the brim. The lack of manpower is making things worse as it takes longer to sort the patients out.
“Even with the consultants making visits to the district hospitals, it is only a stopgap measure,” Liew told FMT recently.
He added that a much more cost effective and comprehensive strategy would be to keep patients out of hospitals by ensuring excellent primary and preventive care.
Lack of training opportunities and overwork
Liew was responding to a recent confession by state Assistant Minister of Health  Dr Jerip Susil that despite good financial packages for doctors, it was difficult to retain them, including Sarawakians, in the state.
He reasoned that there were many reasons why doctors generally don’t want to work in Sarawak beyond the mandatory term stipulated by the Health Ministry.
“The main reasons are training opportunities but there is also lack of private practise here.
“Fact is there are many issues in our hospitals. Currently the bigger issue is overcrowding and those who are committed to public service are overburdened with too much work. The vicious cycle of a lack of doctors makes it worse.
“When doctors think about lack of manpower and overwork, the tendency is to stay in a more comfortable environment, hence the disinterest in staying on in Sarawak, “ Liew said.
It was recently reported that unlike Peninsular Malaysia which hard a 1: 700 doctor-patient ration, Sarawak’s was 1:1,500. Sarawak’s population is approximately 2.4 million according to the 2010 consensus and they are scattered across 124,450 km2 of land.
According to the state Health Department there are only 1,352 doctors stationed in government hospitals, district and Mother and Child clinics in the state.
The state has two general hospitals – Miri, Sibu – outside of Kuching and 19 district hospitals.
Other facilities serviced by visiting doctors (VMOs) are Sarawak’s three Flying Doctors Service and its two mobile Boat Clinics which service villages along the Baram and Rajang rivers.