Saturday, May 30, 2015

Health Ministry allocates RM200 million to rebuild Kelantan clinics

The Malaysian Insider

The Health Ministry has put aside RM200 million to rebuild clinics in Kelantan which was hit by floods last December. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, May 30, 2015.
The Health Ministry has put aside RM200 million to rebuild clinics in Kelantan which was hit by floods last December. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, May 30, 2015.The Health Ministry is rebuilding 11 rural clinics in Kelantan which were destroyed in the floods last December with an RM200 million allocation from the federal government.
Its Deputy Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahya said the clinics were being constructed in stages and were expected to be completed soon.
"We received RM200 million from the federal government so we are building new clinics in Kelantan," he told reporters after launching the Treated Water Pilot Project at Kampung Star yesterday.
In the meantime, he said, tents were being used as makeshift clinics but the ministry would replace these to provide more comfort for patients.
He added that the pilot project was a joint initiative between the ministry and the Rural and Regional Development Ministry to provide clean water for the 1,500 residents of the village.
"The project is the first in the country and if successful, will be implemented in other villages including in Sabah and Sarawak.
"From what I observe, modern and state of the art technology is being used to produce water that is so clean and need not be boiled to consume directly," he said. – Bernama, May 30, 2015.

Malaysia back to square one in dengue research

GEORGE TOWN: Malaysia appears to be heading nowhere with dengue research.
The plan to release genetically altered male Aedes mosquitoes so that they cannot breed with wild females has proven too costly and impractical.
Another plan for a dengue vaccine by a pharmaceutical company which was slated to be marketed next month was shot down by the Health Ministry since it was not satisfied with the research data.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said the genetically changed mosquitoes were only useful in small areas but “dengue is all over the place” in Malaysia.
Dengue cases reached an all-time high of nearly 100,000 last year.
“We would have to flood the country with huge numbers of mosquitoes.
“We are concerned because nobody has studied the ecological effects of releasing such a huge number of genetically changed mosquitoes”
The genetic modification of Aedes came from Oxford University and Malaysia’s Institute of Medical Research tested it in the laboratory in 2006.
Speaking to reporters after launching the 9th National Conference for Clinical Research here yesterday, Dr Subramaniam also said the dengue vaccine’s clinical trials were completed and the pharmaceutical company wanted to market it.
“But the research data they gave us is not enough for us to use the vaccine on a large scale.
“We are back to square one with dengue research,” he said.
He said Malaysia had to take the lead in dengue research.
“We cannot rely on developed nations for medical discoveries which tend to be skewed towards issues they face.
“Malaysia has our own set of medical problems so we need to scale up our research,” he said.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Malaysia: Dengue cases top 45,000, ‘monkey malaria’ accounts for majority of human malaria cases

Mosquito borne diseases are taking a significant role in the health of Malaysians as some 200 additionaldengue fever cases are reported on a daily basis and two out of three cases of malaria in the country are derived from monkeys, according to health officials.
As of Friday, the Malaysia Health Ministry has reported 45,284 dengue fever cases in 2015. Of that total, 136 fatalities ( as of May 16) due to the virus have been documented.
In addition, just six months after we reported that 68 percent of malaria hospitalizations in Malaysia were due to infection with Plasmodium knowlesi,health officials report sixty-six per centor 2,584 out of 3,923 malaria cases reported in the country last year derived from monkey (zoonotic) malaria.
And that trend continues into 2015 according to Head of Health Ministry’s Vector-Borne Disease Sector Dr Rose Nani Mudin. She said in the first quarter of this year, 356 cases, or 67.6 per cent of the 527 cases of malaria were detected to be derived from monkeys.
The good news is the total malaria burden in the country has dropped significantly in recent decades, from the 10s of thousands in the 1990s to just under 4,000 last year.
Plasmodium knowlesi, “the fifth human malaria”, is mostly found is mostly found in South East Asian countries particularly in Borneo, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Health Ministry prepared to conduct screenings on Rohingya migrants

GEORGE TOWN: The Health Ministry is prepared to conduct health screenings on Rohingya migrants if they are accepted into the country, says Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya.
He said it was normal for health screenings to be conducted on foreign nationals when they were accepted to live in the country to ensure they were disease-free.
“We will carry out health screenings on them to make sure they are in good health,” he told reporters after a dinner hosted by the Malaysian Pharmaceutical Association at Batu Feringhi here Saturday.
Dr Hilmi added that it was necessary to ensure the migrants were free from diseases like tuberculosis and leptospirosis. – Bernama

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Nurses question why govt hospital understaffed but grads jobless

KUCHING: Nurses working in a public sector hospital have questioned how it is possible for thousands of nursing graduates to be jobless when the hospital they work for is acutely short of nurses.
According to them, it was heartbreaking to read of the plight of the nursing graduates in thesundaypost as most wards in their hospital are understaffed.
They claimed many nurses often have to work double shifts, are forced to work overtime, while some cannot take their day off.
The nurses said they feared being overstretched and unable to give their patients the standard of care required.
“Imagine how you feel. When you are already half-dead working and yet you still get complaints. It is a very frustrating and demoralising thing,” said one nurse, who requested not to be identified.
The nurses said they have raised the matter with their immediate supervisors, but their superiors seemed powerless to make changes.
As such they were shocked to learn that so many qualified nurses were desperately waiting to be employed while there should be many vacancies in the government hospital.
“What a sad irony the situation is,” said one nurse. “Is there really nothing anyone can do about such a tragic state of affairs?”
She added that those in top management roles may not know the true situation on the ground.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Health minister: Government providing aid to thousands of migrants in Langkawi

KUALA LUMPUR, May 13 ― The Health Ministry, Foreign Ministry and National Security Council will jointly hold discussions to address the entry of illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and Myanmar who landed in Langkawi last Sunday.
Health Minister Datuk Seri S.Subramaniam said at present the government had yet to make a decision on the status of these illegals but had given them appropriate humanitarian aid.
"Clinics and hospitals in Langkawi have also prepared for any eventualities concerning the health issues of these illegals," he told reporters before launching the "My Home" programme here today.
He said so far there were no health cases or infectious diseases involving these illegals being reported.
His ministry also had yet to plan any health screenings or check-up on all the foreign immigrants, he said.

Friday, May 08, 2015

IHH, Sime Darby Said to Make Bids for HMI Malaysia Hospital

IHH Healthcare Bhd. and Sime Darby Bhd.’s medical venture made offers for a Malaysian hospital owned by Health Management International Ltd., people with knowledge of the matter said.
The two companies submitted first-round bids for the Mahkota Medical Centre in the state of Malacca, the people said, asking not to be named as the process is private. Health Management, which is listed in Singapore, is working with Credit Suisse Group AG to sell the hospital for about $250 million, people with knowledge of the matter said last month.The bidders aim to boost growth by buying a hospital that provides specialist services including chemotherapy day care and in-vitro fertilization, drawing more than 287,000 patients last financial year. Aging populations and a burgeoning middle class are boosting health-care spending in Asia Pacific, which is projected to increase 10.5 percent annually to reach $2.2 trillion by 2018, according to Frost & Sullivan.Health Management shares jumped 20 percent, the most since September 2013, to close at a record 39 Singapore cents.Revenue at the 266-bed Mahkota, which opened in 1994, rose 11 percent to 212 million ringgit ($59 million) in the year through June 2014, according to Health Management’s annual report. The hospital, located about 120 kilometers (75 miles) southeast of Malaysia’s capital, has offices in Indonesia, Cambodia and Singapore to attract patients from overseas, its website shows.Sime Darby, the world’s largest listed palm oil producer by market value, bid through its 50-50 medical joint venture with Australia’s Ramsay Health Care Ltd., the people said. The business operates three medical centers each in Malaysia and Indonesia, according to its website.

Teen pregnancies, child marriage behind high maternal deaths in Malaysia, say activists

KUALA LUMPUR, May 6 — The higher risk of women dying during pregnancy or in childbirth in Malaysia compared to Singapore is because of teen pregnancies and child marriage, activists said today.
Social activist Azrul Mohd Khalib said the government’s push for pro-abstinence sex education has resulted in the rise of teen pregnancies and child marriages, which affects the girls’ maternal health.
“If you look at countries that have been pushing for pro-abstinence like Uganda and other African countries, you can see there is an increase in the mother’s mortality rate,” Azrul told Malay Mail Online today.
Azrul said teen mothers face a greater risk of dying during pregnancy or in childbirth, as they are too young to give birth, or they give birth to too many children in a short span of time without proper medical care.  
“If they are married at the age of 15 to 18 and immediately give birth in numbers, this can cause death as well,” he added.
The State of the World’s Mothers 2015 report by international children’s rights group Save the Children released on Monday showed that one in 1,600 women in Malaysia are at risk of maternal death, nine times higher than Singapore’s at one in 13,900.
The report also showed that a child born in Malaysia is three times more likely to die before turning five compared to Singapore, with the child mortality rate here at 8.5 per 1,000 births, while Singapore’s is 2.8 per 1,000 births.
Local daily The Star reported last December United Nations resident coordinator in Malaysia, Michelle Gyles-McDonnough, as expressing concern over child marriage, saying that based on the 2010 consensus, 80,000 married women in Malaysia were between 15 and 19 years of age, while there were 70,000 young married men.
According to the Health Ministry, 16,528 teen pregnancies were recorded last year based on the number of adolescents that registered at government clinics. On average, there are around 50 teen pregnancies a day, with three-quarters involving married teens.
The Health Ministry’s statistics showed an increase in teen pregnancies from 18,652 cases in 2011 to 18,847 cases in 2012, but a drop after to 16,528 cases last year.
However, Dr Raj Abdul Karim, Asia director of Women Deliver, a global group advocating girls’ and women’s health and rights, said the government statistics do not necessarily reflect the actual number of cases as they only rely on registered government sources like public clinics and government health organisations.
“If you look at it properly, there are a lot more unregistered places like certain private institutions that people actually turn to,” she told Malay Mail Online.   
Dr Raj said strict government policies on family planning that only allow contraceptives to be given to married couples have contributed to the country’s decline in maternal health and a rise in teen pregnancies.
“This service is not available to unmarried girls who are sexually active. Hence they either go to private clinics or are more likely to have unprotected or unsafe sex resulting in unwanted pregnancy, unsafe abortions, STIs or HIV and AIDS.
“Thus resulting in a decline in maternal health or maternal mortality,” she added. 
Dr Raj also said religion should not prevent people especially married couples from family planning, like Islam only forbids the use of contraceptives for those unmarried. 
“We should emphasise that religion should not stop you from family planning or the use of contraceptives. 
“Even Islam allows the use of contraceptives but does not condone permanent methods like sterilisation. Also Islam allows family planning only for married individuals, not unmarried unless it is for medical or health reasons,” she added. 
Regional women’s NGO Asian-Pacific Resource & Research Centre for Women (Arrow) executive director Sivananthi Thanenthiran said maternal deaths in Malaysia have been increasing in proportion to the growing number of teen pregnancies.
“There is a lack of family planning efforts compared to the 1970s and 1980s, as well as a lack of access to services for women in Sabah and Sarawak, migrant women workers and even indigenous women,” Sivananthi added, when contacted.

Health Ministry: No reports of products containing DNP in Malaysian market

PETALING JAYA: There have been no reports of dietary products containing 2.4-dinitrophenol (DNP) in the Malaysian market, says the Health Ministry.
The Ministry’s pharmacy enforcement division deputy director Mazlan Ismail said, however, that the situation was being monitored closely, especially after Interpol’s global alert on Monday.
“Based on the monitoring and post marketing activities conducted by the department, we have yet to come across any pharmaceutical products containing DNP being marketed in Malaysia,” said Mazlan when contacted on Thursday.
He explained that DNP is an organic compound and is usually used in the manufacturing industry as an industrial chemical and might also be used as antiseptic.
He said that legally, any products containing DNP that are meant for consumption could not be sold in the country.
“This chemical is not suitable for human consumption and can be extremely dangerous to human health.
“Currently, no products containing dinitrophenol are registered with the Drug Control Authority of the Health Ministry.
“(So) legally there should not be any products containing dinitrophenol available in the market,” he said.
He added that dinitrophenol can only be brought into the country with a valid licence.
When contacted, Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society told The Star that pharmacists in Malaysia are careful and do not sell drugs containing DNP.
“Pharmacists are very careful as safe custodians of medicines,” she said.
Malaysian Medical Association president Datuk Dr Krishna Kumar added that although there have been no reports of deaths caused by DNP, the association’s pharmaceutical division was working to identify international websites selling products containing DNP.
“Our pharmaceutical division is working with the Interpol and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MSMS) to identify and take these websites down,” he said.
The Interpol alert was issued after a woman died in the UK and a French man was left seriously ill after taking products containing DNP.
The agency said that DNP was found to have been sold in the form of yellow powder or capsule form and as a cream marketed as dieting and body-building supplements.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

MMA donates RM20,000 to Nepal's relief fund

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) donated RM20,000 to the Nepal Disaster relief fund under Mercy Malaysia.
MMA President Dr Krishna Kumar said that although the sum is small, he hopes that it will help the victims of the quake.
“We share the sorrow faced by the Nepalese people in this time of need and hope that this small contribution will help them,” he said at a cheque presentation ceremony at the Sun Media Corporation office here.
The MMA is also sending 15 volunteer doctors under their new Volunteer Organisation Corp (VOC).
“The VOC has provided assistance during the recent floods in the East Coast of Malaysia where several assistance missions were conducted. We have also assisted in an Orang Asli settlement in Perak where we are building houses and getting basic amenities to the villagers,” he said.
He added that since the volunteers' experiences at Kelantan, many of them now want to go and assist in Nepal.
“We want to donate to Mercy Malaysia because they are doing a wonderful job on the ground, at the same time, we will send our volunteers there to see how they can assist in any way possible,” said Krishna.
He said that Malaysia has been a relatively lucky country because it does not have disasters like Nepal and the MMA wants to lend a helping hand.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Study on factors affecting youth’s reproductive health underway – BorneoPost Online | Borneo , Malaysia, Sarawak Daily News | Largest English Daily In Borneo

MIRI: The National Population and Family Development Board (LPPKN) is doing a research on Risk and Protective Factors Affecting Youth’s Sexual and Reproductive Health in Sarawak and Sabah.
In revealing this, Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim said a similar research was conducted in Peninsular Malaysia in 2011.
“A research on Risk and Protective Factors Affecting Youth’s Sexual and Reproductive Health in Peninsular Malaysia conducted by LPPKN in 2011 found that family closeness is one of the factors contributing to youth’s sexual behaviour and reproductive health.
“We are now implementing similar research in Sarawak and Sabah this year,” she said when officiating at the 2015 Happy Family Roadshow at Bekenu community hall near here yesterday.
Rohani admitted that modern living posed tough challenges to the family institution, resulting in the so-called ‘commuter family’ and ‘sandwich family’.
In an effort to save marriages, she said her ministry through LPKKN in collaboration with registered non-governmental organisations (NGOs) started the SMARTSTART pre-marriage programme to provide knowledge, guidance, skills and tips for a happy marriage and family life.
She called on more NGOs in Sarawak to submit their applications to LPPKN Sarawak to enable them to conduct the SMARTSTART pre-marriage course.
Another programme called SMARTSTART 2nd Honeymoon, she added, had been extended to couples who had been married for more than five years.
She pointed out that the ministry and LPPKN had lined out five core values; namely love, attitude, health, safety and harmony, as the basic guideline in developing a happy family.
On the roadshow, she said the event in Bekenu was the fourth this year after Pusa (Sarawak), Menumbok (Sabah) and Tanjung Malim in Perak.
The theme for this year’s roadshow is ‘I Love My Family’.

Dengue cases top 40,000 in Malaysia

Although the Malaysia Health Ministry has not updated the dengue fever death toll in two weeks (remains at 117), the country’s total case count has exceeded 40,000 as of May 2 after an additional 179 cases were reported on that day.

To date, Malaysia has seen 40,007 dengue fever cases with 23,376 cases reported from Selangor state alone.

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Clinic finally taking shape in Kg Terian: Resort to rescue of 1,400 folks

Kota Kinabalu: Some 1,400 people in remote Kg Terian near the Crocker Range Park need not have to walk for hours anymore to get medical treatment.
Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa's construction of a concrete two-storey clinic is running on schedule and due for completion in July.
"When the construction of this clinic is completed, the villagers living around this area can finally get easy access to medical advice and health-care. They have had to endure hours of walking just to get basic health care in the past," said the resort's general manager, Andrew den Oudsten, who visited the site recently.
He is happy with the progress of the construction.
The construction of Kampung Terian's clinic is one of the resort's corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects, which it undertakes yearly to assist the local community.
"We are working closely with Mercy Malaysia (also known as Medical Relief Society Malaysia) to build and equip this health clinic for the villagers," he said. The clinic comprises a consultation room downstairs and living quarters for the nurses and visiting doctors upstairs.
The resort is also working closely with its business partners and friends to provide these villages with basic medical facilities. Once completed, the clinic will be handed over to the Ministry of Health. While he was there, den Oudsten and his team distributed bars of soap made in the hotel, under another CSR initiative "Soap For Hope".

Friday, May 01, 2015

Malaysia Named World’s Medical Travel Destination for 2015 –

MALAYSIA – The International Medical Travel Journal (IMTJ) Medical Travel Awards 2015 has named Malaysia as “Medical Travel Destination of the Year”, further boosting the country’s medical tourism sector.
Malaysia won the award, which was handed at the Royal Garden Hotel in London, based on all-round excellence in promoting inbound medical tourism, verified statistics of yearly growth in medical tourists served, evidence of high levels of patient satisfaction and coordinated activities that delivered an increase in medical tourism.
Sherene Azura Azli, the CEO of Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC) received the award in London. MHTC was established in 2009 under the Ministry of Health to develop and promote Malaysia’s healthcare travel industry.
A total of 13 awards in four categories (Healthcare Provider and Agency, Marketing, Quality and Service, and Overall Achievement) were handed out at the ceremony.
Malaysia’s private hospitals received several awards during the event, namely Excellence in Customer Service (Gleneagles Hospital, Kuala Lumpur), Best Quality Initiative of the Year (Imperial Dental Specialist Centre), Best Travel Website of the Year (Ramsay Sime Darby Healthcare), International Cosmetic Surgery Clinic of the Year (Beverly Wilshire Medical Centre), and International Dental Clinic of the Year (Imperial Dental Specialist Centre).
Besides that, two hospitals also came in as the most Highly Commended hospitals.
The Imperial Dental Specialist Centre and the Prince Court Medical Centre, also came in as the most Highly Commended hospitals for their travel website and customer service, respectively.
Organised by the IMTJ, which was established in 2007, the annual IMTJ Medical Travel Awards is a prestigious award that recognises innovation, excellence and best practices in the medical travel and medical tourism sector. It is judged by an independent panel of medical travel experts.
Malaysia, as one of Asia’s most recognized developing countries, has immense potential in an increasingly important sector – medical tourism.
Healthcare in Malaysia under the responsibility of the government’s Ministry of Health has an efficient and widespread system of health care, operating a two-tier health care system consisting of both a government-run universal healthcare system and a co-existing private healthcare system. –