Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

Ministry failed Sabahans: NGO

Friday, May 27th, 2016

Kota Kinabalu: The Health Ministry has failed the people of Sabah by not improving the conditions in Queen Elizabeth Hospital I (QEH I), according to the Sabah People’s Right Association, which highlighted several outstanding grouses, Wednesday.

Its President Lee Pun Yee reminded the Ministry that health and education cannot be compromised because these are the cornerstones of any country’s progress and prosperity.

“Firstly, the perennial woes of the QEH I public car park have yet to be resolved. It is a messy area where outpatients and visitors park illegally for want of space and thus hinder mobility. Whoever planned the car park was not farsighted in that the growing population of Kota Kinabalu and the foreseeable increase in the number of vehicles on the road were not taken into consideration.

“In fact, a multi-storey car park area should have been in place but clearly, the planners were not sensitive to public needs,” he told a press conference at the QEH I Canteen.

According to Lee, he had previously brought the matter to the attention of the hospital authorities and was assured that something would be done.

Secondly, he said, the hospital’s haemodialysis centre is in dire need of more machines but this is apparently not forthcoming. “Isn’t the Ministry aware of Sabah’s need for improved services and facilities? Maybe we are sometimes forgotten because we are 1600km from Kuala Lumpur.”

He said one patient with kidney failure was told to undergo haemodialysis only once a week, instead of three times, when she sought treatment at the hospital last December.

“Subsequently, the affected patient had no choice but to receive treatment at a private haemodialysis centre.

Mind you, it’s not cheap. It costs between RM200 and RM250 per session,” Lee added.

Thirdly, he noted that while parking lots are provided for doctors and nurses in the vicinity of the QEH I Haemodialysis Centre, the same cannot be said for patients who are required to come to the centre at least three times a week.

Lee showed reporters the spot where a female patient fainted and fell at the entrance/exit after treatment, resulting in bleeding on her back, when she was about to go to a waiting car driven by her husband.

“The husband could not enter the area (immediately outside the centre) because it is usually chained.

Only authorised personnel are allowed to park there. Normally, patients would feel weak after haemodialysis and should not be made to walk far to their vehicle.

“Under the circumstances, why can’t the hospital authorities designate a parking lot as a pick-up and drop-off point in the interest of patients’ safety and well-being?” he asked.

Fourthly, Lee lamented that the signage for disabled persons (OKU) placed on a pole near the centre was removed and yet to be reinstated. “Neither are there any parking lots reserved for OKUs now in that particular area,” he said.

He believes that because of his outspokenness, he may not be in the good books of the hospital authorities.

“Why should the doctors ‘hate’ me as claimed, instead of appreciating my initiative? I am only doing my bit for the community for the sake of patients. I have to play a role in highlighting the people’s grievances,” he said matter-of-factly.

Against this backdrop, he said the Sabah People’s Right Association would be willing to offer help to QEH I in terms of expanding its existing public car park area if adjacent land could be made available.

Similarly, Lee said, the association could also assist in respect of extending the existing haemodialysis centre and acquiring more haemodialysis machines for the hospital if given the mandate to do so.

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Experts: Focus on digestive health

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016

SUBANG JAYA: Malaysians need to place more importance on their digestive health and lifestyle, says Health Ministry’s Medical Development Division director Datuk Dr Azman Abu Bakar.

He said many were unaware that colorectal cancer due to an unhealthy lifestyle was the second most common cancer in the country after breast cancer.

“Look around at what kind of fast food we have now.

“That’s one of the reasons for an increase in non-communicable diseases; it’s this unhealthy lifestyle,” he said after launching the 2016 World Digestive Health Day celebration yesterday.

He said due to the lack of attention paid to digestive health, many brush off the early symptoms of gastrointestinal (GI) cancers such as colorectal cancer.

“They’ll say this is normal, I get diarrhoea, they’ll say it’s indigestion, salah makan(ate something bad).

“They don’t see it as sinister but when they are educated about it, they are knowledgeable and they’ll look at it and say this might be a problem,” he said.

He said it was important for Malaysians to take care of their digestive health to lessen the risks of getting colorectal cancer.

“You are what you eat,” he said, adding that Malaysians’ sedentary lifestyle also contributed to the increase in GI cancers.

Digestive Health Malaysia deputy chairman Prof Dr Raja Affendi Raja Ali agreed that many sufferers of colorectal cancer only find out about their disease during the late stages of the cancer.

“Usually it takes a lot of symptoms or signs to be present in them before they even see us (doctors),” he said, adding that statistics showed that only nine per cent of colorectal cancer sufferers were diagnosed at Stage I of the disease.

He said the rising number of obese Malaysians showed the need for more awareness on the importance of digestive health and physical activity.


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76pc of adults have thalassaemia: Director

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016

Kota Kinabalu: The public is urged to do an early screening test for Thalassaemia at hospitals and nearby clinics for early detection of the hereditary disease.

Thalassaemia is a hereditary disease that could be inherited through genes regardless of race and gender, and thus everybody must undergo a screening test for it before they get married.

“Early screening tests could help reduce the prevalence of the disease and ensure that future generations do not inherit it,” said Queen Elizabeth Hospital Director Dr. Heric Corray when officiating the hospital’s World Thalassaemia Day event attended by 500 of its senior officials and staff here, Friday.

“Record showed that in general, 76 per cent of adult population in the country has thalassaemia, but only 26 per cent have undergone screening test,” he added.

Thalassaemia is a group of inherited blood disorders that affect the body’s ability to produce haemoglobin and red blood cells, leading to a condition known as anaemia and fatigue.

Thalassemia’s patients have a lower than normal number of red blood cells in their bodies and too little haemoglobin at less than 10 gram per decilitre, and in many cases the red blood cells are too small.

Patients who has the Thalassaemia genes are categorised as a Thalassaemia major and requires continuous blood transfusion on a monthly basis.

The treatment has its setbacks however whereby it will cause the accumulation of iron in the vital organs such as the heart, liver and endocrine glands, thus resulting in multiple organ malfunctions.

The Health Ministry and hospitals are constantly organising various thalassemia awareness programme to the public and hospitals’ staff.

Heric urged the public and staff of QEH to play their roles in disseminating information on the hereditary disease to help reduce the possibility of future generations inheriting the disease.

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More men than women suffer from mental disorder, says study

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

Filepic posed by model

Filepic posed by model

KUALA LUMPUR:  The number of men suffering from mental disorder is almost double compared to women in the country.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S Subramaniam said the National Morbidity Study carried out last year revealed that a total of 42,168 people sought psychiatric treatment at government hospitals for some form of mental disorder.

“Of this, a total of 27,855 men suffered mental disorder compared to 14,313 women,” he said in written reply to a question by Nik Mohamad Abduh Nik Abdul Aziz (PAS-Pasir Mas) in Dewan Rakyat Wednesday.

He added that those between 20 and 49 years old tend to suffer from mental disorder.

Dr Subramaniam said there are several categories of mental disorders.

This, he added, ranged from organic mental disorder, disorder due to substance abuse, schizophrenia, neurosis and mental retardation.

He also said there were many factors that led to mental illness.

“One of it is genetics where a person who has a family history of mental illness may have a higher chance of suffering mental disorder,” he said.

Other factors, he added, were dysfunctional neurotransmitters and traumatic life experience such as the loss of a loved one, separation or divorce.

“Lower social economic factors such as financial issue, poverty and the lack of basic amenities are also factors that could lead to mental disorder,” he said.


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    One in 13 in Sabah are Thalassemia carriers.

    Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

    TAWAU: Sabah has the highest number of Thalassemia patients in Malaysia with one in 13 people being carriers of the gene while the national statistic is one carrier among 20 people in Malaysia.

    Deputy Higher Education Minister, Datuk Mary Yap Kain Ching said Thalassemia is a hereditary disease that could be inherited through genes regardless of race and gender and thus, all levels of society should undergo a screening test for it before they get married.

    Mary, who is also Tawau MP, said the screening test is very important to ensure that future generations did not inherit Thalassemia. About 1,000 Thalassemia patients have undergone blood transfusion at every hospital in Malaysia, and the number would have increased if early prevention had not been done.

    In 2015, Tawau Hospital used up 439 pints of blood for Thalassemia patients and 200 pints for the first four months this year, she said while officiating Thalassemia Day 2016 held at Tawau Hospital yesterday. Also present were Pediatric department chief, Dr Sandeep Singh Gill and hospital director Dr Norlimah Binti Arsad.

    Mary said she believed the Tawau Hospital could provide high commitment in creating awareness on Thalassemia prevention and its comprehensive treatment among the community. Today, it has recorded 69 Thalassemia patients compared to 66 patients in 2015.

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    Rodents: City Hall up in arms over hidden threat

    Friday, May 13th, 2016

    KOTA KINABALU: City Hall will launch a campaign soon to get rid of the rodents in the city to prevent the spread of leptospirosis disease.

    Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister Department Datuk Edward Yong Oui Fah said City Hall had held a meeting with the non-governmental organisations recently to discuss the matter as there are many rodents roaming around in the city.

    “City Hall is also in the process of working out a mechanism with the eateries on how to collect and recycle their kitchen wastes to cut off the food chain from the rats,” said Yong after officiating the 3rd State-level Seminar on Zoonotic Disease 2016 at the Federal Complex yesterday.

    The seminar themed “Zoonotic Diseases: A Hidden Threat” were attended by 450 people.

    For the households, he advised the residents to maintain the cleanliness of their surrounding areas and dispose off their leftover foods properly to keep the rodents away.

    According to Yong, leptospirosis or better known as rodent’s urine and malaria are two of the common diseases in Sabah when compared to Avian influenza (H5N1 & H7N9), Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), Japanese encephalitis (JE) and rabies.

    Rodents are the main culprit in the spreading of leptospirosis disease through their urine and so far this year, a total of 85 cases were reported in Sabah where Tenom recorded the highest cases with 15 patients followed by Keningau with 10 cases and both Kota Kinabalu and Tawau each have seven cases.

    In 2015, there are a total of 470 cases reported where Kota Kinabalu has the highest incidents with 54 cases followed by both Penampang and Nabawan with each have 52 cases, he said.

    For malaria which is spread by mosquitoes, he said 810 cases were reported in 2015 and until April 2016, he said the State Health Department have recorded 191 cases.

    “We need to step up our efforts to reduce the malaria incident caused by plasmodium knowlesi virus where the Wildlife Department should to advice its personnel as well as hunters to prevent from being bitten by mosquitoes while in the forest,” called Yong.

    State Department of Veterinary Services & Animal Industry director Dr Yeo Boon Kiat said Sabah is free from rabies and JE diseases because the department have a strict control on the importation of animals and foods into the State.

    “And we are also the only states in the country that is free from the food and mouth disease, thus making the State an ideal place to become a food production hub,” said Dr Yeo.

    State Health Department director Dr Christina Rundi said bacteria, virus and parasite have been identified for the spreading of zoonotic diseases since a century ago.

    “The zoonotic diseases can be spread through direct contact from animal to human or indirectly through faeces, urine, saliva, blood or via vector,” said Dr Christina.

    by PAUL MU.

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    Sabah ranks third in leptospirosis cases

    Friday, May 13th, 2016

    Kota Kinabalu: Sabah ranks among the top three states in the country with the highest incidence of a zoonotic disease known as ‘leptospirosis’ (kencing tikus) which could cause death.

    Sabah Health Department Principal Assistant Director (Epidemiology), Dr Maria Suleiman, said Sabah recorded 470 cases of leptospirosis with three deaths last year while 85 cases have been recorded as of May 7, this year.

    “I would like to highlight that this leptospirosis where its main vector is rats in Sabah…we recorded quite high incidences of the zoonotic disease in the State.

    “Up to May 7 this year, Tenom had the highest number of cases of the disease with 15 cases, followed by 10 cases in Keningau, seven cases each in Kota Kinabalu and Tawau.

    “But when looking at last year’s statistics in our record, Kota Kinabalu was the highest with 54 cases, followed by 52 cases each in Penampang and Nabawan, 47 cases in Kinabatangan and 46 cases in Tawau,” she said.

    Dr Maria said this in a press conference after the opening of the 3rd Seminar on Zoonotic Disease 2016 themed ‘A Hidden Threat’ at the State level organised by Sabah Health Department and Department of Veterinary Services and Animal Industry (Dovsai), here.

    Assistant Minister to the Chief Minister Datuk Edward Yong, who is also Minister-in-charge of health matters in Sabah, officiated at the two day seminar that began Wednesday.

    Also present were Sabah Health Director Dr Christina Rundi, State Dovsai Director Dr Yeo Boon Kiat, Health Ministry Zoonotic Disease Sector Head Dr Zainuddin Abdul Wahab and other senior officials.

    Yong called on the people in Sabah ensure their houses and eateries are free from rats.

    He said they must be wary and take extra precaution against the disease by cleaning their houses and make sure no food and kitchen waste are left inside the house that would attract rats.

    Earlier when opening the seminar, Yong said leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease that recorded high incidences in Malaysia and generally in Sabah.

    Last year, he said there were a total of 8,291 leptospirosis cases with an incident rate of 27.20 for 100,000 people with 78 deaths reported in the country.

    While in Sabah, Yong said there were two deaths from among 78 cases recorded as of April 30 this year, which showed that the incidences of this disease in the State is high.

    “I read from a Facebook entry recently that a man died after drinking a canned soft drink and later the family found out that the man died because he got infected by the leptospirosis virus that was discovered on the soft drink can.

    “Hence, I am advising the public to make sure they clean any canned soft drinks before drinking it from the top as a prevention measure against the disease which can cause deaths,” he said.

    On the presence of rats that can be seen in drains near some eateries in the city, Yong said City Hall together with the relevant quarters will conduct a campaign soon to catch rats in the city to eliminate the rodent problem.

    He said the operators and owners of eateries would be taught how to dispose their food and kitchen waste using the composting method.

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    ‘Prevent entry of tainted prawns’

    Sunday, April 24th, 2016

    PETALING JAYA: Enforcement authorities have been urged to step up efforts to prevent the entry of shrimp with traces of banned antibiotics.

    Dr S. Vellayan, a pharmacology lecturer at UiTM, said the authorities must ensure that nitrofurans and chloramphenicol were not contained in the shrimp brought in from neighbouring countries to be re-exported using Malaysia’s certificate of origin.

    The United States’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Monday said that it may detain imports of prawns from Malaysia after finding traces of nitrofurans and chloramphenicol antibiotics in shipments.

    The agency said it was placing companies processing or shipping shrimp and prawns from peninsular Malaysia on import alert, which means that their shipments could be detained at the port of entry without physical examination.

    Malaysian Shrimp Industry Association, however, has denied that the contaminated shipments were from Malaysia.

    Its president Syed Omar Syed Jaafar on Friday said Malaysian farmers did not use antibiotics and that the shrimp the United States was getting were transhipment from China, Vietnam or India, citing earlier cases where shipments from these countries were rejected.

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    In the mood for food

    Sunday, April 24th, 2016

    Many Malaysians do not realise that the food we eat every day can have a bearing on how we feel as wee. And as it turns out, what i s good for health is also good for our minds and emotions.

    FORGET the poppy seeds. The average food you eat every day could be affecting your mood without you realising it.

    While they do not make you high and euphoric, the right kind of food can generally help uplift your mood and improve emotional well-being.

    And it so happens that such food is healthy and good for you, too.

    Maintaining a steady diet of nuts, seeds, fish, lentils and beans can help make you happier and boost your spirits, thanks to certain compounds in the food that encourage positive feelings, say experts.

    On the flipside, even though some call it “comfort food” and reach for calorie-filled junk food to cheer themselves up, experts warn that it could work the opposite way and drag you down even further.

    National Heart Institute chief dietitian Mary Easaw explains that the science behind such mood-enhancing food is the nutrients it contains.

    “Some food like nuts, seeds, tofu, lentils, beans, eggs, chicken, oats and fish are generally rich in tryptophan, which is a non-essential amino acid.

    “Tryptophan is then made into serotonin with the help of B-vitamins. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter or chemical messenger in your brain which acts as a mood regulator.

    “As such, it helps to make people feel generally happier,” she says.

    A more commonly known feel-good snack is dark chocolate, which helps to enhance the mood due to the antioxidants contained in cocoa.

    Easaw says antioxidants boost brain levels of serotonin and endorphins or “happy” chemicals, causing one to generally feel more cheerful and upbeat.

    “However, you can only take a limited amount of it due to the high sugar content,” she cautions.


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    World’s first dengue vaccination in Philippines sees few ill-effects

    Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

    An elementary student grimacing as a nurse administers an anti-dengue vaccine at Parang Elementary School in Marikina, west of Manila on April 4, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

    An elementary student grimacing as a nurse administers an anti-dengue vaccine at Parang Elementary School in Marikina, west of Manila on April 4, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

    SINGAPORE: The Philippines’ health ministry has said that nearly 150,000 children in the country have now received doses of the world’s first dengue vaccine.

    Only 240 children – or 0.16 per cent – suffered adverse effects such as fever, dizziness and headaches, health officials said at a news briefing.

    The ministry said that 148,431 fourth-grade pupils in 44 public schools had received the first dose of Dengvaxia, the world’s first dengue vaccine developed by French drugmaker Sanofi.

    “We are on the right track,” Health Minister Janette Garin said.

    The ministry plans to give a million children their first dose by June in a 3.5 billion peso (S$103 million) programme, Garin said. The vaccine is given in three doses.

    Dengue is a mosquito-borne disease that infects about 390 million people globally each year. It causes a severe flu-like illness marked by painful joints and extreme fatigue and is lethal in 2.5 per cent of cases.

    So far this year, 33,748 dengue cases have been recorded in the Philippines. In Singapore, 6,338 cases were reported in the first quarter of the year.

    Last week, the World Health Organisation recommended the use of Dengvaxia in countries where dengue is widespread, based on a review of data from 25 clinical studies in 15 countries.

    The vaccine protected two-thirds of people against dengue in those aged nine or older in two large clinical trials spanning Latin America and Asia involving more than 40,000 children and adolescents.

    It was most effective at protecting against severe dengue, the potentially fatal form of the disease, preventing 93 per cent of cases.

    The Straits Times/Asia News Network.


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