Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

More affected by rat urine disease than Hepatitis B, HIV.

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR: More Malaysians are affected by leptospirosis (rat urine disease) as compared to Hepatitis B and HIV, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S.Subramaniam.

In a written reply in Parliament on Wednesday, he said a ratio of 17.1 leptospirosis cases to every 100,000 people has been recorded.

“Hepatitis B and HIV have 12.6 and 11.0 cases for every 100,000 people respectively,” he said.

He added that dengue remains as the infectious disease affecting the most Malaysians as 328 of every 100,000 people are affected by it.

He stressed that despite efforts by the government to curb the diseases and aid with the recovery, Malaysians need to do their part in preventing the infections.

“Cleanliness is important and we call on the people to abide by the advisories set by ministry to tackle the situation,” he said.

By D KANYAKUMARI
Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2017/08/02/more-malaysians-affected-by-rat-urine-disease-than-hepatitis-b-hiv/#cFzyX3bSV1dVY46D.99

Sabah on alert for rabies outbreak

Friday, July 21st, 2017

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is maintaining a tight check on the movement of animals following the outbreak of rabies in Sarawak.

State Veterinary Department acting director Dr Nasip Eli said surveillance is being stepped up at the common borders with Kalimantan and Sarawak.

He said the department was monitoring closely movement of dogs and other animals coming into Sabah via Sindumin from Lawas in Sarawak.

“Our men are checking round-the-clock,” he said Friday, adding that so far, the department has not detected any move to smuggle in dogs or other animals into Sabah.

He said those using the land route to bring in dogs from Kuching, Sibu and Miri apart from Lawas in Sarawak would find it difficult because they had to pass through eight check points in the state, Brunei and Sabah.

He also said that surveillance has been stepped up along the remote land borders between Sabah’s southern Tawau and Pensiangan districts that straddles with Kalimantan.

“We have increased our surveillance and public health campaigns with the people in Salong, Pagalungan and Long Pasia as part of our measures,” he said.

Dr Nasip said there has also been an increase in cases of people being bitten by dogs but none of the animals were infected by the rabies virus.

On claims that dogs mainly for pets were still being brought from Sarawak illegally, Dr Nasip admitted that the department has been receiving such reports.

He, however, said there was no proof that the dogs had come in without any licences, dismissing claims spread on social media.

by MUGUNTAN VANAR
Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2017/07/21/sabah-on-alert-for-rabies-outbreak/#mlXHUeXpI6wGhRf8.99

Lam Thye: Focus on mental health of Malaysian youth.

Sunday, July 2nd, 2017

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia needs to focus more on the mental health and emotional well-being of young people, said National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye (pic).

Lee,a member of the Health Ministry’s Mental Health Promotion Advisory Council, said the recent increase in violent behaviour and suicidal tendency among Malaysian youth should be viewed seriously.

“The government and community cannot remain silent any longer and must address the issue, especially the stigma of mental disorder,” Lee said in a statement on Sunday.

He said that awareness of mental health issues must be raised in schools while mental healthcare be made more accessible.

“We must also ensure that patients’ rights are not being discriminated and they be allowed to make informed choices on their treatment and be legally protected,” he said.

Lee quoted data from the 2015 National Health and Morbidity Survey, which found that 29.2 per cent of Malaysians above the age of 16 suffered from mental illness. This number constituted an 11.2 per cent increase from 2006.

He said a government campaign is needed to encourage those facing depression and other mental health disorders to seek help from mental healthcare centres.

“At the same time, the government must address the shortage of competent experts, especially clinical psychologists, to deal with mental health problems.

“Malaysia is also lacking in psychiatrists as at present, there are merely 360 registered psychiatrists in the public and private sectors,” he added.

Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2017/07/02/lam-thye-focus-on-mental-health-of-malaysian-youth/#Bu4J0ICqgQf147ts.99

Tuberculosis still a threat in Sabah – doctor

Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

KOTA KINABALU: About 40 per cent of 10,000 people screened last year showed no symptoms of Tuberculosis (TB) in the state, said Sabah State Health Department (TB/Leprosy) principal assistant director Dr Richard Avoi.

Dr Richard said the key strategy to TB control is to ensure the general public are aware of the deadly disease and know that the TB situation in Sabah is still not under control.

He added that compared to other infectious diseases, the airborne TB is actually the main disease to tackle.

“One of the main activities to control this disease is to diagnose it as early as possible. Those with the disease must take the medication and get cured from the disease. Now the challenge is to diagnose the disease as early as possible. That is where the awareness comes in,” said Dr Richard, who is also Sabah Anti-Tuberculosis Association (SABATA) medical advisor.

“One of the activities done is mobile TB screening through our mobile bus X-ray. We have screened more than 10,000 last year and we picked up a number of TB cases through these activities by doing X-ray among the high risk group population.

“What I found from our data so far, of the number of TB cases detected through these activities, about 40% do not have the symptoms but they have TB. That is why it is important that, even though you do not have symptoms, you must come forward for TB screening, especially if you have history of exposure to TB,” he stressed.

Dr Richard disclosed that a total of 4,953 newly diagnosed TB cases were detected in Sabah last year, which is 19 per cent of the national 25,739 figure.

From January to May 2017 there were 1,875 newly diagnosed cases, only 109 short of the 1,984 within the same period last year.

“It is almost the same. That means if the trend continues, at the end of the year, we will hit almost 5,000 cases of newly diagnosed TB cases (in Sabah),” he said.

“You see the burden of TB cases in Sabah is still high. Therefore a lot of activities must be carried out to control TB in the state.

“If people don’t come forward to check, the detection will be late. People must come forward as soon as possible if they experience chronic and prolonged cough for more than two weeks, that is the standard.

“Once diagnosed, they must take medication for at least six months without interruption as failure to do so would not cure them from the disease and they will continue to be the source of infection for other people,” he explained.

Dr Richard said 1,264 foreigners and 3,689 Malaysians were diagnosed with TB last year, and 255 foreigners and 732 Malaysians were found TB positive between January to March 20 this year.

He noted both foreigners and Malaysians alike have resisted coming forward to get tested for TB in the past.

“We have experienced a contact of a TB patient who did not want to come forward for check-up. We have to beg and tell them to come but yet they refused.

“The more activities we do to find TB cases, the more cases we pick up. It just means there are still a lot of TB cases out there that had not been detected, so the detection activities must go on.

“From our experience, to control TB among immigrant population is very challenging. I think most people know they are not coming forward and majority of them, once they are diagnosed, are not able to complete the six-month treatment because either they are sent back home or they just disappear and you cannot trace them, especially those with the status of illegal immigrants. These are the group of people who will not come forward until the disease become very severe and they have no choice but to come to us for check-up. We have seen a lot of situations where the patient ends up dying because of the late detection,” he disclosed.

Read more @ http://www.theborneopost.com/2017/06/25/tuberculosis-still-a-threat-in-sabah-doctor/

Malaysian children need to start young too.

Friday, June 23rd, 2017

MALAYSIA recently received the questionable honour of being the most obese country in Southeast Asia.

Presented at the Asia Roundtable on Food Innovation for Improved Nutrition in Kuala Lumpur, the Tackling Obesity in Asean report said this is mainly due to Malaysians’ strong love for food and lack of exercise – it revealed that only a third of Malaysian adults had ever exercised, while only 14% exercised adequately.

Critically, said Nutrition Society of Malaysia’s president Dr Tee E. Siong, Malaysian children risk growing up obese unless parents tackle their unhealthy lifestyle – in 2011, the National Health and Morbidity Survey showed that almost 500,000 children in Malaysia were obese, and childhood obesity is likely to continue into adulthood.

Dr Tee attributed this growing problem to the society’s emphasis on academic excellence, which he said had resulted in additional tuition hours and academic work among children to the detriment of physical activities.

Malaysia also scored D (on a scale of A for excellent to F for failing) for overall physical activity, active transportation and sedentary behaviour in its 2016 Active Healthy Kids report card.

Comparing 38 countries, the study by the Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance analysed the physical activity of children and youth according to nine indicators: overall physical activity, organised sport participation, active play, active transportation, sedentary behaviour, family and peers, school, community and the built environment, and government strategies and investments.

The report card demonstrated that Malaysian children and adolescents are engaging in low levels of physical activity and active commuting, high levels of screen time, and have extremely low compliance with dietary recommendations.

More efforts are needed to address the root causes of physical inactivity while increasing the opportunities for children and adolescents to be more physically active, it said.

Malaysian school and government strategies and investment were interestingly graded B, but to no one’s surprise, diet was assigned the lowest grade of F.

Malaysia has been looking at emulating Finland’s academic record, perhaps we should also look at its initiative to improve students’ physical activity – Finnish Schools on the Move.
Read more @  http://www.thestar.com.my/news/education/2017/06/18/malaysian-children-need-to-start-young-too/#3EYgqkFFritlDuUi.99

Making it cheaper for patients

Sunday, June 18th, 2017

PETALING JAYA: Consumers will soon be able to make better decisions when buying medicine, with a proposal by the Government to compel pharmaceutical companies to declare the prices of drugs to the Health Ministry.

This, in turn, would lead to the recommended retail price (RRP) of drugs being displayed on the product packaging and prevent retailers from making unreasonable increases in pricing.

“This will promote transparency in the pricing of medicines and drugs,” said Health Ministry deputy director-general Datuk Dr Jeyain­­dran Sinnadurai.

“But if retailers want to push the price even lower than the recommended retail price, no problem,” he said when contacted recently.

The move is still at an early stage but is in line with the ministry’s plan to compel drug price disclosure under a proposed amendment to the Sale of Drugs Act 1952 (Revised – 1989).

Ministry (pharmaceutical services division) senior director Dr Salmah Bahri had said earlier that the amendment would make it compulsory for companies and suppliers to register the retail prices of their products with the Govern­ment’s database, or face penalties.

“At present, there is already a database of some 23,000 drugs and medicines,” she said, adding that the ministry now wanted to make it mandatory for pharmaceutical companies to register the prices.

Dr Jeyaindran said displaying the RRP to consumers would stabilise pricing.

“Such added transparency in the pricing of drugs and medicines is practised by countries like India and Australia.

“Malaysia is trying to move in this direction as well,” he said.

On whether or not the proposed move would affect the pricing of medicines at clinics, he said this was unlikely because those medicines would be purchased in bulk.

Medical Practitioners Coalition Association of Malaysia deputy president Dr Raj Kumar Maharajah said that based on information he had gathered so far, the proposed move would not affect general practitioners (GPs) much.

“This is because medical GPs have been practising the ‘bundling’ system for many decades, whereby consultation, examination, procedures and medication are bundled to keep the price of private primary healthcare accessible and affordable even to the poorest of the poor,” he said.

He added that while the price of some components may either de­­­crease or increase in bundling, the final cost would remain the same.

“On the surface, this price control may seem to benefit patients who wish to buy their medicines over the counter, at provision stores or pharmacies.

by YUEN MEIKENGMARTIN CARVALHO, and FATIMAH ZAINAL
Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2017/06/18/making-it-cheaper-for-patients-ministry-wants-pharmaceutical-firms-to-display-prices-on-medicines/#tTpLCBy0jltC0qOR.99

Malaysian children need to start young too.

Sunday, June 18th, 2017

MALAYSIA recently received the questionable honour of being the most obese country in Southeast Asia.

Presented at the Asia Roundtable on Food Innovation for Improved Nutrition in Kuala Lumpur, the Tackling Obesity in Asean report said this is mainly due to Malaysians’ strong love for food and lack of exercise – it revealed that only a third of Malaysian adults had ever exercised, while only 14% exercised adequately.

Critically, said Nutrition Society of Malaysia’s president Dr Tee E. Siong, Malaysian children risk growing up obese unless parents tackle their unhealthy lifestyle – in 2011, the National Health and Morbidity Survey showed that almost 500,000 children in Malaysia were obese, and childhood obesity is likely to continue into adulthood.

Dr Tee attributed this growing problem to the society’s emphasis on academic excellence, which he said had resulted in additional tuition hours and academic work among children to the detriment of physical activities.

Malaysia also scored D (on a scale of A for excellent to F for failing) for overall physical activity, active transportation and sedentary behaviour in its 2016 Active Healthy Kids report card.

Comparing 38 countries, the study by the Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance analysed the physical activity of children and youth according to nine indicators: overall physical activity, organised sport participation, active play, active transportation, sedentary behaviour, family and peers, school, community and the built environment, and government strategies and investments.

The report card demonstrated that Malaysian children and adolescents are engaging in low levels of physical activity and active commuting, high levels of screen time, and have extremely low compliance with dietary recommendations.

More efforts are needed to address the root causes of physical inactivity while increasing the opportunities for children and adolescents to be more physically active, it said.

Malaysian school and government strategies and investment were interestingly graded B, but to no one’s surprise, diet was assigned the lowest grade of F.
Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/news/education/2017/06/18/malaysian-children-need-to-start-young-too/#D3Cgaqx0uKqQ6qEt.99

Consume food in moderation

Tuesday, June 13th, 2017
Spoilt for choice: Malaysians buying food before breaking fast at the Mampan Ramadan Bazaar in Rawang.

Spoilt for choice: Malaysians buying food before breaking fast at the Mampan Ramadan Bazaar in Rawang.

Prophet Muhammad set the example of how to break fast, and overeating goes against what he practised.

RAMADAN is a holy month for Muslims worldwide, when Muslims fast and refrain from actions that will nullify the fast between dawn and dusk. It is also a month when Muslims focus on increasing their spirituality by observing many acts of worship.

Ramadan provides Muslims with opportunities to reap bounties from God through acts such as prayers, recitation of the Quran, doing charity in many forms and also self-reflection. Among the charitable acts that are encouraged by Islam is for Muslims to provide food for others who are fasting.

That is why it has been a practice among some Muslim communities in the country to give food to neighbours before the breaking of fast. This is quite a norm in the villages and in some neighbourhoods. With urbanisation however, the practice of giving food to neighbours may no longer be widely observed.

Nonetheless, there are many people (as well as corporate bodies) who provide sponsorships for the breaking of fast as well as for the pre-dawn meal (sahur) at their local mosque and surau. This is a noble practice that can help to forge greater unity within the community.

There are also many efforts to provide meals for the breaking of fast for the less privileged such as orphans, old folks, the homeless, the disabled and also students who are away from their families.

Such efforts are commendable, and they are very much encouraged in Islam, provided the intention is pure and not to seek fame or fortune. If the deed is done with the right intention, that is to attain the pleasure of God, then the deed will be rewarded.

In this day and age where commercialism has taken roots in our economy, there is a trend in over-commercialising Ramadan. While there is nothing wrong in doing business – on the contrary, doing business is encouraged in Islam – the over-commercialisation of the holy month is unfortunate.

Even before the month of Ramadan begins, it is very glaring to see hotels and restaurants aggressively advertising Ramadan buffets at a hefty price. There seems to be a race among hotels and restaurants to entice people to choose their establishments for breaking fast.

This trend has been going on for a number of years now, so much so that it has also attracted many criticisms. Aside from the pricing, the major concern regarding Ramadan buffets is food wastage.

There are hotels that have gone on record to say that patrons will have to finish all the food that they take at the buffet table or pay a fine for the food not finished.

However, whether this actually is practised is another matter altogether. Also, questions arise whether this measure is effective in curbing food wastage.

Ramadan is not about indulging one’s self in food. If one were to observe the examples shown by the Prophet of Islam, we would see that overeating goes against what the Prophet practised. The Prophet broke his fast by eating three dates.

Islam stresses the need for moderation in all actions, and this includes food consumption. There are many traditions from the Prophet when it comes to eating and drinking in moderation, which would also contribute towards avoiding food wastage.

It has been reported from previous years that food that could still be eaten that was thrown away as solid waste amounted to 270,000 tonnes in the month of Ramadan alone. This is a staggering figure, and one that we should not condone, let alone allow to continue.

According to statistics from Solid Waste Management and Public Cleansing Corporation, even on normal days nearly 45% of solid waste in Malaysia consists of food. It is ironic that in a month when people fast, the amount of food wasted is exponentially higher. Wastage, what more food wastage, is very much not in line with the true teaching of Islam.

Consumers have a role in ensuring that food is not wasted.

We should only buy food that we really need, not food that we think we need.

We must equally acknowledge that those involved in selling food (restaurants, hotels or food traders at Ramadan bazaars) also have a similar – and perhaps bigger – role and responsibility.

What is lacking in Malaysia is a comprehensive plan in preparing food. Those who prepare food (either for their own consumption or to be sold) only think about the ingredients, the cooking and the presentation.

Rarely, if ever, we include the aspect of what to do if the food prepared is not consumed.

by dr shaikh mohd saifuddeen shaikh mohd salleh
Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/opinion/columnists/ikim-views/2017/06/13/consume-food-in-moderation-prophet-muhammad-set-the-example-of-how-to-break-fast-and-overeating-goes/#G1Idxi02wSZemPY7.99
Read more at http://www.thestar.com.my/opinion/columnists/ikim-views/2017/06/13/consume-food-in-moderation-prophet-muhammad-set-the-example-of-how-to-break-fast-and-overeating-goes/#G1Idxi02wSZemPY7.99

Zika alert: Doctors told to pay particular attention to patients with fever

Tuesday, June 13th, 2017
(File pix) Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said they should refer the patients to medical institutions capable of conducting diagnostic tests for the disease. (pix by AHMAD IRHAM MOHD NOOR)
By Bernama - June 13, 2017 @ 10:19am

SEGAMAT: Doctors in the country have been advised to pay particular attention to patients with fever, as they could be infected with the Zika virus.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said they should refer the patients to medical institutions capable of conducting diagnostic tests for the disease.

“For the time being, Zika has only been detected in Singapore. We have so far not received any reports in Malaysia, and we are screening fever cases especially for signs of Zika.

“But as we have done in the past, we will step up screening at checkpoints, apart from asking people who have signs of fever, rashes, eye and muscular pains to see a doctor,” he told reporters at the ”Jom Sihat sempena Ramadan” event at Makam Lubuk Batu Mosque in Gemereh here yesterday.

Subramaniam, who is the Segamat MP, said all doctors are reminded to take blood samples of patients, as it is the only way to detect the virus.

BERNAMA.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/node/248358

Study: Sabah farmers at higher risk of catching monkey malaria.

Sunday, June 11th, 2017

KOTA KINABALU: Adult male farmers are more than twice as likely to contract Plasmodium knowlesi (P. knowlesi) – a malaria parasite usually found only in monkeys – than other people in their communities, according to a report.

The study was conducted by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Menzies School of Health Research, Darwin, and the Sabah Health Department.

The research team found that farmers in Sabah who work in plantations, clear vegetation and take part in forestry work are the most at risk.

P. knowlesi is a zoonotic malaria parasite which is common in forest-dwelling macaque monkeys and transmitted between hosts by mosquitoes. It has a rapid growth rate in the blood that can lead to a high level of parasites in a short time and can cause severe and fatal disease.

Recent deforestation in the Sabah region has brought humans into closer contact with the forest.

P. knowlesi is now the most common form of human malaria in many areas of Malaysia, and has also been reported across South-East Asia.

In 2014, the Health Ministry reported that 2,584 out of the country’s 3,923 malaria cases derived from P. knowlesi, and that proportion is known to have risen further.

The researchers conducted a large case control study of more than 1,000 people in the Sabah districts of Kudat and Kota Marudu. Individuals with P. knowlesi were compared with those with other types of human malaria and a control group without malaria.

Detailed questionnaires recorded information on daily activities, residence and the frequency with which participants saw monkeys.

Men are four times more likely to have P. knowlesi infection than women, and although male farmers are more likely to contract monkey malaria, they are not at higher risk of contracting other types of malaria.
Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2017/06/11/study-sabah-farmers-at-higher-risk-of-catching-monkey-malaria/#AwSkhohHwZFo8SMv.99