Health Ministry looking at policies for traditional medicine use in primary healthcare

Monday November 26, 2012 



KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is developing policies to integrate traditional health medicine services into the primary healthcare.


Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said discussions had been held with Asean countries to produce comprehensive and effective regulations for implementation in the primary healthcare sector.


“Previously, such services are only provided in hospitals.


“It is time for us to introduce them at the primary healthcare as it is an effective preventative measure,” he told a press conference after launching the 4th Conference on Traditional Medicine in ASEAN countries on Monday.


It was reported 11 government hospitals in the country were offering traditional medicine alongside modern medicine.


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Those aged between 19 and 39 make up bulk of HIV cases

Sunday December 2, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR: More than 70% of HIV/AIDS cases are comprised of those aged between 19 and 39 years old, says the Malaysian AIDS Council (MAC).


“Every year, one out of four new HIV cases reported in Malaysia involves a person aged between 13 and 29 years.


“Since 2011, transmission through sexual activity has overtaken what used to be the main driver for HIV in Malaysia, which was injecting drug users,” MAC president Datuk Dr Raj Karim said in her speech at an event to commemorate World AIDS Day 2012 here yesterday.


This year’s theme is “Getting to Zero: Zero Discrimination, Zero New HIV Infection, Zero AIDS Death”.


The Health Ministry’s director of infectious disease Dr Chong Chee Kheong, who launched the event, emphasised the Government’s com­mitment to tackle the spread of the disease.


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Shaken baby syndrome on the rise, says doc

Saturday December 8, 2012


KUALA LUMPUR: Lack of awareness among parents and childcare providers has resulted in a rise in Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) cases over the past three years, said an ophthalmologist.


The number of SBS cases requiring vitrectomy (removal of the gel from within the eyeball) increased to 16 this year from nine last year and five in 2010, said Hospital Kuala Lumpur’s (HKL) ophthalmology department head Dr Joseph Alagaratnam.


He said vigorous or repetitive shaking of an infant could result in bruising, swelling, pressure and bleeding in the brain.


“Forceful shaking can also cause other injuries such as damage to the neck, spine and eyes because the baby’s head is rather heavy while the neck muscles are still weak,” he said at a media briefing yesterday.


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Penang records distinctive rise in sharp object injuries

Monday December 3, 2012



PENANG recorded 112 sharp object injury cases among its healthcare workers last year, the fifth highest state in the country.


Penang Health Department director Datuk Dr Lailanor Ibrahim said the sharp object injuries among the healthcare employees, including those from hospitals and health clinics, had increased over the last four years.


“Based on statistics provided by the Ministry of Health, Penang was the fifth highest state after Selangor, Johor, Kuala Lumpur and Sarawak.


“There were 90 cases in 2009, 92 recorded in 2010 and the number shot up to 112 cases last year,” he told a press conference after officiating the state’s Health & Safety Awareness Week campaign at the Penang Hospital recently.


He added that there were about 50 sharp object injury cases recorded until September this year.


Dr Lailanor said negligence was the main factor, and the majority of those involved were over-enthusiastic new staffers.


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New surgery to treat facial disorder

Wednesday, 5 December 2012 


PIONEERING WORK: UMMC operates on toddlers with life-threatening Crouzon syndrome


KUALA LUMPUR: UNIVERSITY  of Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) carried out surgery to treat two toddlers with functional problems caused by facial deformities last month.   The children, aged 2 and 3, are doing well.


UMMC consultant oral and maxilofacial surgeon Prof Datuk Dr Zainal Ariff Abd Rahman said the condition could now be treated better using a new technique known as monobloc distraction osteogenesis.


“The syndrome when not treated can be fatal as the skull does not expand in line with an infant’s growth,” he said during a briefing at Universiti Malaya yesterday.


“We need to educate the public on this rare syndrome that should be treated early.”


He added that as the skull did not expand, space to accommodate vital organs, such as the brain and eyes, was restricted.


“The empty space or airway behind the nose is also cramped, which may cause breathing difficulty.”


The situation will increase pressure in the skull, causing headaches, dizziness and seizures.


The baby would also have a higher risk of eye infection as the eye socket could hold the eyes.


“The cramped airways will also cause sleeping difficulties and parents need to constantly monitor their child as the baby might turn blue in minutes because of lack of oxygen.”


He said the treatment was available in countries like Australia five years ago, but was only available in Malaysia after intense research.


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Malaysia’s healthcare costs set to rise 8.8pc a year

Monday December 3, 2012 


MALAYSIA could face a potential shortfall in healthcare financing of US$4.1 billion (RM12.46 billion) in 2020, which will require additional fiscal spending or higher out-of-pocket funding by individuals.


A study by Swiss Re entitled “Health Protection Gap: Asia-Pacific 2012” revealed that total healthcare costs in the country are projected to rise by 8.8 per cent yearly to US$25.8 billion by 2020, thus creating the gap in healthcare protection.


The reinsurer said private insurance plans have strong value propositions to support individuals to better manage their future healthcare financing needs.


The health protection gap is defined as the difference between the level of healthcare costs which would be required to meet consumer needs, versus the amount that would be available to cover those costs, if society’s total healthcare expenditure remained a constant percentage of the gross domestic product (GDP).


According to the study, the health protection gap in the Asia-Pacific region could reach US$197 billion in 2020.

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Liow: Malaysia needs more rheumatologists

Sunday, 02 December 2012 


KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia needs more rheumatologists if it is to fulfil the one for every 640 people ratio according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).


Health minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said yesterday that currently there were 24 rheumatoid arthritis specialists in Malaysia, mostly in government hospitals.


He said early diagnosis was necessary to treat the disease because joint disfigurement could be delayed with proper treatment.


“Early diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis can help prevent permanent damage to the joints of wrists, fingers, knees, feet and ankles,” he said at a press conference after launching the Fly My 1 Dream campaign aimed at creating awareness of chronic inflammatory conditions.


Liow said some 0.5 per cent of the Malaysian population was suffering from the disease and no one knows what causes it.


“It can be due to genetics, environment or hormones. This affects people in the middle age and also young children,” said Liow adding that women were more prone to the disease.


He added that those affected would need life-long treatment, which included expensive medication, and physical and mental therapy.


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Jakim to check use of halal logo on health supplements

Thursday December 6, 2012

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysia Department of Islamic Development (Jakim) has warned that it will go all out to enforce regulations on the use of halal certification for health supplements.


Jakim senior assistant director of Islamic Affairs Nor Hanim Abdul Hanim said the Trade Descriptions (Certification and Marking of Halal) Order 2011 stipulated that those guilty of breaching local halal standards could be fined up to RM200,000.


“Enforcement will be carried out strictly to ensure all parties abide by the laws accordingly,” she said after a halal certificate presentation ceremony.


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Hospital hoping to gain insight from Taiwan visit

Saturday December 8, 2012


THE Penang Hospital will send a team on a five-day working visit to a hospital in Taiwan so they can learn more about the latest medical technology available there.


The hospital’s board of visitors chairman Lim Thoon Deong said the team of 10 people — six from the board and four from the hospital — would depart on Dec 14 to visit the Kaohsiung Medical University Chung-Ho Memorial Hospital in Taiwan.


“Taiwan is more developed in medicine. We should learn about the medical facilities there which are more advanced than what we have in Penang,” Lim said.


“The hospital there is also an independent one which does not depend on the g Almost done: A participant putting his finishing touches to his artwork. overnment for funding. They established a hospital without government funding and we want to learnt about it,” he said.


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CIA: Malaysians die younger than people in conflict zones

Thursday December 6, 2012



PETALING JAYA: Malaysians have a lower life expectancy than citizens in conflict zones like the Gaza Strip, Israel, Syria and Libya, according to the latest figures by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) World Factbook.


The country fell by four spots from last year’s index to 112 out of 222 ranked countries, with an average life expectancy of 74.04 years.


It said Malaysian women would usually live up to 76.99 years, while men are expected to live up to 71.28 years.


“Life expectancy at birth is a measure of overall quality of life in a country and summarises the mortality at all ages.


“It can also be thought of as indicating the potential return on investment in human capital and is necessary for the calculation of various actuarial measures,” CIA said in its publication.


It also said Malaysia ranked 58 in the world for health expenditures, outspending other Asean countries where investments in healthcare were concerned.


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