Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

‘See a doctor at once if you have symptoms’.

Saturday, March 11th, 2017

KOTA BARU: Anyone having flu-like symptoms must seek imme­diate treatment following the detection of the H5N1 avian flu virus in a village near here.

Confirming that no one has been infected with the highly patho­genic virus as of Thursday evening, Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said those with such symptoms or respiratory infection must seek treatment at once.

“This is especially if they have had contact with dead birds or fowl,” he added.

Among the symptoms are a fever exceeding 38°C, sore throat, cough, headache, muscle aches, joint pain and lethargy.

“A directive has been issued to all health facilities to be on high alert for influenza-like illnesses and respiratory infections to enable early detection,” he said in a statement yesterday.

“Health personnel have also been told to strictly observe infection control procedures,” Dr Noor Hisham added.

Five samples from fowl carcasses found in Kampung Pulau Tebu tested positive for H5N1 on Monday.

He also advised those involved in the slaughtering, processing and selling of poultry to observe proper handling practices.

“They should wear masks covering the mouth and nose, besides wearing gloves, apron and waterproof rubber boots. They must wash their hands with soap and clean water,” he said.

Dr Noor Hisham said the prevention and control measures were in accordance with the Avian Influen­za Management Guidelines drawn up in 2004.

He said they were checking areas within a 300m radius of Kampung Pulau Tebu for H5N1.

As of Thursday, health authorities have examined 235 villagers in 58 households, as well as 21 health and 45 veterinary personnel.
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Kelantan acts to stop spread of avian flu.

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

KOTA BARU: Kelantan has taken immediate measures, including setting up road blocks, to contain H5N1 avian flu outbreak after three cases were recorded in one village.

State agriculture committee chairman Datuk Che Abdullah Mat said police help was sought to stop the trafficking of fowl within a one kilometre radius of Kampung Pulau Tebu where 15 kampung chickens were found dead recently.

“The Veterinary Services Department had since culled 170 avians including chicken, ducks and birds, and destroyed 100 eggs in the affected village,” he said.

He said culling activities were carried out on March 6.

“Just in case animal lovers try to smuggle the avians out of the vicinity to avoid culling, we have requested police to set up road blocks.

“This is a serious matter. We can’t take risks that would take a toll on public health and the poultry industry,” he said, adding Kelantan recorded the last avian flu outbreak in 2004.

Che Abdullah also confirmed that none of the chicken farms in the state were affected so far, therefore poultry in the state were safe for consumption.

“The infection is contained in one kampung. The three positive cases were from neighbouring houses,” he said.

“The authorities are still in the process of tracing the source of infection,” he told newsmen at his office on Wednesday.

Che Abdullah said they have activated the state-level animal disease control action committee comprising representatives from various departments and agencies including police, local government, community leaders, State Veterinary Services Department, and Orang Asli Department.

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Expert: Many plastic food wrappers and containers unsafe

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017
Healthier way: A ‘char kway teow’ seller putting an order into a plastic bag. Consumers in Selangor are advised to bring their own containers for takeaways as a safer option.

Healthier way: A ‘char kway teow’ seller putting an order into a plastic bag. Consumers in Selangor are advised to bring their own containers for takeaways as a safer option.

PETALING JAYA: The Government should look into the use of paper wrappers for foodstuff to replace the plastics used now, a toxicologist said.

Universiti Malaya toxicologist Prof Dr Mustafa Ali Mohd said plastic wrappers were not only bad for the environment but many had compounds not yet verified as safe.

These compounds were Bisphenol A (BPA) and newer types Bisphenol B (BPB), Bisphenol S (BPS) and Bisphenol AF (BPAF), he said.

“These may affect the endocrine system in the long term and can also lead to fertility and thyroid problems, as well as diabetes,” said Dr Mustafa, adding that phthalates, chemicals used in making plastics, had been linked to obesity.

He explained that Bisphenols make plastic stronger and prevent yellowing in the products but the substances could leach when in contact with fat, such as that in meat and milk.

“They can react with food having a strong acidic content, such as assam and lime juice.

“The chemicals can also leach when hot liquids, such as teh tarik or coffee, is poured into a plastic container,” he added.

Although feeding bottles containing Bisphenol A (BPA) was banned in 2012, the chemical was still used in making other plastic products, such as containers and wrappers, said Dr Mustafa.

He also pointed out that BPA which is also still being used in most plastic material, cooking material and the lining in soft drinks can to prevent rusting, was known to affect the estrogen receptor in women.


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KKIA toilets not clean enough – Mavcom

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

KOTA KINABALU: Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) service standard is improving but has yet to reach full satisfactory level, mainly because of the cleanliness of the toilets, said Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) executive director General Tan Sri Abdullah bin Ahmad.

Abdullah said there were complaints on the lack of signage to direct foreign travellers to the Immigration counters.

Nonetheless, he said Mavcom was pushing Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) to improve its airports in order to commensurate with the new Passenger Service Charge (PSC) rates.

On that note, Abdullah said Mavcom was working on creating a mechanism to monitor service standard and passenger comfort in airports.

“We are also looking at other countries on how they do it,” he said in an interview here yesterday.

With the mechanism in place, he said airports could be penalized for poor cleanliness.

Mavcom had also launched Consumer Protection Code for Aviation Services last year, which Abdullah said was well received given that the number of complaints had shot up since then.

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‘Every individual plays a vital role in controlling spread of disease’

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016

BELURAN: Communities play an important role in controlling the spread of diseases such as HIV/AIDS and this requires them to know how it can be prevented, said Beluran member of parliament, Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee.

Putting an end to AIDS is not an easy task said Ronald but he believes that with the commitment and cooperation of all parties, it can be possible.

According to him the government, on principle, will remain committed to addressing the problem and will continue to be the biggest donor of funds to implement prevention and control programmes on HIV/AIDS.

He said the government therefore, welcomed active involvement and contributions from corporate bodies and particularly non-government organisations to help implement programmes on the prevention and control of the disease.

Ronald was speaking when launching the state-level celebration of World AIDS Day 2016 here last Saturday. Also present was the director of the Sabah Health Department, Datuk Dr Christina Rundi.

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Not healthy to depend too much on foreign labour

Monday, December 12th, 2016

THE Cabinet has decided that the mandatory health checks to be carried out annually for registered foreign workers be reinstated. While this is commendable, it is a half measure at best.

Currently, foreign workers undergo medical checks before being sent here, within a month upon arrival and before their permits are renewed for their third year.

But Health Ministry officials estimate that up to 3% or 60,000 of the estimated 1.9 million to two million registered foreign workers here could be medically unfit.

The rationale to reverting to the pre-2006 regulation – to medically screen them every year – is to enable authorities to detect those with communicable diseases contracted either in Malaysia or while on leave in their home countries.

In addition, the measure is to forewarn authorities if the foreign workers were involved in drug abuse and to detect those with other chronic ailments, reportedly jamming up government health facilities.

It must be said that Malaysia’s policy of treating any foreign worker with such diseases until they are cured before sending them back to their home country is commendable.

This exercise is neither easy or cheap.

The treatment for tuberculosis (TB), for instance, can take up to six months and the tab is picked up by the Malaysian taxpayer.

But the elephant in the room is this – how are we to screen and contain the outbreak of communicable diseases among the estimated two million migrants working illegally in Malaysia?

By right, all undocumented foreign workers seeking treatment at hospitals and health clinics must be reported to the Immigration Depart­ment, according to a Health Ministry circular.

The Star Says.

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ARV treatment for 1,455 in KK with HIV

Monday, December 12th, 2016

Kota Kinabalu: About 1,455 people with HIV were given treatment that could both prolong and help improve their quality of life in the State capital.

Kota Kinabalu Health Officer Dr Jiloris @ Julian Frederick they had received the antiretroviral (ARV) treatment here until mid-2016.

“In 2015, Kota Kinabalu recorded the highest number of HIV and AIDS cases in the State, accounting for 93 HIV and 37 AIDS cases. About 12 deaths involved AIDS.

“For this year, HIV notification had decreased to 64 cases.

“We hope that with the ARV treatment which started in Malaysia in 2001, more HIV patients will benefit and at least 90 per cent of the eligible patients will receive the treatment by 2020,” he said.

Dr Jiloris said the treatment is very effective as it could control the severity of the disease.

“We had a HIV case developing into AIDS but with regular treatment and consistent medicine, the AIDS reverted to HIV.

But the HIV is still there which means the treatment and medicine are able to control HIV from developing into AIDS.

“The most important is the HIV patients must take medicine regularly and also follow the advice of their doctor,” said Dr Jiloris at the World AIDS Day celebration at the Kolej Sains Kesihatan Bersekutu, here, Saturday.

According to Dr Jiloris, since the availability of the ARV treatment, there has been a decrease in deaths related to AIDS.

To a question, he said to achieve the target of zero HIV by 2020, they were providing counselling to the high-risk groups.

“We offer them counselling or talks on how to protect themselves from HIV and for those requiring treatment, we will proceed to give them treatment.

“At least when we approach the high-risk groups and give them talks about HIV and AIDS, they will receive some knowledge about the disease.

“So far, 80 per cent from the group have given us their cooperation and we will persist in giving counselling to the remaining 20 per cent,” he said.

The event was officiated by Welfare Department Director Mohd Noh Wahab, who represented Community Development and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Jainab Ahmad.

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Subra: Obesity a big health problem among adults

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

SERDANG: One in two Malaysian adults is either overweight or obese, with the number increasing by four-fold in the last 20 years.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said Malaysians are facing a health problem due to their unhealthy lifestyle.

“A national health and morbidity survey shows that obesity is prevalent among Malaysians above 18, with the numbers drastically rising.

“The number of obesity cases in 1996 was 4.4% (of the population), rising to 14% in 2006.

“This rose to 15.1% in 2011 and 17.7% last year,” he said in his speech when opening the Fruits and Vegetables Eating Campaign at Malaysia Agriculture, Horticulture and Agrotourism 2016 (MAHA 2016) here Tuesday.

He added some 30.3% of adults suffered weight problems.

“As a whole, one in two Malaysian adults is overweight or one in five is obese.

“In 2015, nearly half of Malaysian adults or 47.7% suffered from high cholesterol or hypercholesterolemia,” he said.

Dr Subramaniam said an unhealthy lifestyle had also resulted in the number of diabetes cases in Malaysia to rise since 1996.

“The disease will not be seen now but in 15 years when they come to hospital and end up losing an eye or having a limb amputated,” he added.

The survey also revealed that diabetes cases rose from 11.6% in 1996 to 15.2% in 2006 and 17.5% last year.

However, he said there was a slight drop in hypertension cases – from 32.2% in 1996 to 32.7% in 2006 and 30.3% last year.

He noted that these ailments are linked to the unhealthy dietary habits of Malaysians who do not eat enough fruits and vegetables.


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Only 3% of Sabahan adults know to clean teeth – dentist

Thursday, November 17th, 2016

KOTA KINABALU: Only three percent of the adult population in Sabah know how to effectively clean their mouth and teeth.

Senior Dentistry Officer for Kota Kinabalu, Dr Latifah Othman, said the remaining 97 percent of the Sabah adult population needed further instruction on how to effectively clean their mouth and teeth, as compared to 94.7 percent in Peninsular Malaysia and 84 percent in Sarawak.

Dr Latifah said that ineffective cleaning techniques had resulted in the high number of people in the country suffering from gum diseases (over 90 percent), while about eight percent of the population were toothless.

She believed that the high percentage of people suffering from tooth decay and gum disease in the country is due to their lackadaisical attitude in looking after the cleanliness of their teeth and mouth.

Out of every ten people in the country, nine suffers from gum disease, she said at the SM Luyang 1Student 1toothbrush programme.

“They do not see their teeth as assets that need to be looked after … studies have proven that people suffering from serious tooth decay have lower self-esteem and it impacts even their employability,” she said.

She explained that the government spent a lot of money on subsidies for dental treatment that were given to the people of the country.

The cost of filling a decayed tooth is RM30; the cost of scaling RM62 per person; and the cost of tooth extraction is about RM56 each.

“If people know that they can effectively clean their mouth and avoid problems such as tooth decay and gum disease and that they can keep their teeth for life, the money used for the subsidy can be used for other purposes,” she said.

Last year in Kota Kinabalu, there were a total of 16,891 decayed permanent teeth which underwent filling, while 2,120 teeth were extracted.

Dr Latifah also said that unlike the treated water in Peninsular Malaysia, the water supplied to households in Sabah (except for Kota Belud, Kudat and Beaufort) is not treated with fluoride – a chemical that, at a proper dosage, can help fight tooth decay by strengthening it.

She also mentioned that people should never take tooth decay issue lightly, citing death cases caused by infections from tooth decay, malformed facial features and others as reasons.

“There are 750 bacterias in our mouth so we need to clean it often.”

She encouraged people to brush their teeth with soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste with fluoride in the morning and at night as well as after each food intake.

To thoroughly clean our teeth, she encouraged brushing our teeth in front of a mirror.

“I also encourage people to floss,” she said.

by Jenne Lajiun.

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Stomach cancer third deadliest in Sabah

Friday, October 28th, 2016

KINABATANGAN: Thirteen patients from Kinabatangan district benefited from a one-day medical camp held at the Kinabatangan Hospital here, yesterday.

Twelve men and one woman, with ages ranging from 26 to 76 years old, underwent specialist treatment known as oesophago-gastric-duedeno-scopy (OGDS) procedure in medical parlance.

Two patients were found with stomach cancer causing bacteria called ‘Helicobacter Pylori’ (H. Pylori), six patients were diagnosed with peptic ulcers while one was diagnosed with stomach cancer.

According to Duchess of Kent Hospital surgical department head Dr Lai Chung Ket, stomach cancer is the third highest cancer killer in Sabah after lung cancer and breast cancer and is the eighth highest in Malaysia.

“In Sabah, where 8 per 100,000 cases of stomach cancer are detected each year, the disease is ranked 6th in terms of volume, while among men it is fourth after lung cancer, colorectal cancer and cancer of the nose (nasopharyngeal carcinoma).

“Sabah bumiputeras have a higher risk than other ethnic groups. What is more troubling is that stomach cancer cases detected here are usually in the final stage due to ignorance and/or delayed treatment of the patients.

“In general, only 20 percent of patients live more than 5 years after being detected to have stomach cancer and compares unfavourably to Japan who, through their national screening program, have successfully detect stomach cancer for early treatment,” Dr Lai disclosed during a talk session with patients at the program.

“Generally, stomach cancer shows no signs. In an early stage, it may be considered as common abdominal pains. Symptoms, such as stomach bleeding, vomiting after meals, lack of blood, sudden weight loss and lumps in the abdomen indicate that the cancer could have spread and reach its final stages.

“Taking ‘gastric medicine’ without knowing the exact diagnosis can be harmful to the patient whereas patients have the potential to be cured of cancer if the disease is detected at an early stage,” he added.

Therefore, Lai said, residents should take the opportunity to get their health screening at the medical camp.

Commenting on the medical camp, Lai said, DOKH is committed to providing modern and optimum treatment for rural patients without them having to go to the general hospital, to help reduce their transportation and medical costs.

“Based on the reported numbers of chronic gastric patients in rural areas, the DOKH medical team has taken the initiative to run this medical camp with emphasis on the OGDS procedure in several areas beyond DOKH reach.

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