Need for More Family Medicine Specialists



More family medicine specialists are being trained to beef up primary health care and reduce congestions in hospitals.

Health Director-General, Datuk Seri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said there were now 238 family medicine specialists in health clinics and 70 in university hospitals.

“We still don’t have enough of these specialists and we hope more doctors will pursue a course in family medicine,” he said after the launch of the Primary Care Mini Conference 2014 held in conjunction with World Family Doctors’ Day on 30th May 2014.

Dr Noor Hisham said with the small numbers of such specialists, their services were only available in 25% of the 900 health clinics nationwide.
Each year, the ministry offers 60 post-graduate scholarships for doctors in the government service to pursue a Master in Family Medicine specialisation, a four-year programme in local Universities.

Dr Noor Hisham said the failure rate, however, was high due to the depth and wide spectrum of fields to cover.

“Half of them failed the course and had to resit,” he said, adding that the training of the specialists was part of the 1Care health care transformation efforts to provide better care in the community and reduce congestions in hospitals.

“The presence of family medicine specialists helps to improve the quality of services in health clinics, with services such as laboratory services, diagnostic imaging and specialist-category drugs.

“Services in health clinics will also be broadened to include community mental health, community-based rehabilitation for children with special needs and methadone replacement therapy for recovering drug addicts.”

Prof Datuk Dr D.M. Thuraiappah, convenor of the World Organisation of Family Doctors’ Working Party in Quality and Safety in Family Medicine, said general practitioners sent too many cases deemed “normal” to specialists, resulting in patients making unnecessary visits to hospitals and incurring high costs.

Family medicine specialists function as family doctors like GPs and family physicians, but they have more in-depth knowledge and expertise.

/theSTAR 31-05-2014

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Medical Registries to be Maintained.



One of the national institutes of health will be dedicated solely to maintaining medical registries and managing standards for medical practice, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam.

“We are trying to develop national registries for the various specialities and various branches of practice,” he said.

“In medicine, we are promoting the concept of registering and maintenance of standards. This is important because in a globalised world. We need to ensure that whatever we’re doing is optimal,” he told reporters after opening the 44th Malaysian Orthopaedic Association Annual Scientific Meeting on 30th May 2014.

This, he said, included using the best instruments capable of producing optimal outcome and ensuring that the skill sets of healthcare professionals and the results they produced were of a certain standard.
Earlier, in his speech, he said many organisations were now moving towards outcome-based management systems to ensure that every ringgit spent in public hospitals and clinics was linked to an outcome.

“For a long time, cost was not a factor in (public) healthcare delivery because the money came from elsewhere,” he said, adding that with times being harder, every ringgit would need to count for something.

One way of promoting optimal outcome, he suggested, was by providing incentives to doctors or clinics that achieve certain clinical targets based on standardised guidelines.

/theSTAR31-05-2014


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More Orthopaedics for Malaysia



The government is consistently trying to increase the number of orthopaedic specialists to maintain the quality of medical care in Malaysia.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said as of January this year, orthopaedic services are provided in 43 hospitals under the Ministry of Health.

The present ratio is 1 orthopaedic per 41,000 populations and the ministry is encouraging the development of orthopaedic specialists and sub-specialists.

There are 600 qualified orthopaedic in Malaysia and annually there are about 40 surgeons trained through the Conjoint Board of Orthopedics leading to the degree of Masters in Orthopaedic surgery.

There is at least one orthopaedic surgeon in each state.

"Orthopaedic service has transformed since the establishment of the first orthopaedic unit at the Kuala Lumpur General Hospital in 1949. Now it has become a stand-alone department with sub-specialty unit," Subramaniam said.

This was disclosed during his opening remarks when officiating the 44th Malaysian Orthopaedic Association (MOA) annual general meeting on 30th May 2014.

Orthopaedic is a branch of medicine that deals with the prevention or correction of injuries or disorders of the skeletal system and associated muscles, joints, and ligaments.


/theSUNdaily 31-05-2014


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CCM to expand Pharmaceuticals to reduce exposure to Industry cycles



Chemical Company of Malaysia Bhd (CCM) will continue its expansion efforts in the pharmaceuticals division to mitigate the group's exposure to industry cycles, said Group Managing Director Amirul Feisal Wan Zahir.

"We will continue our strategic focus of extending products in niche areas such as oncology, biotherapeutics and vaccines while improving the product pipeline and customer offerings," he told a media briefing after CCM's 52nd annual general meeting here on Tuesday, 27-05-2014
CCM's profit before tax (PBT) for the financial year ended Dec 31, 2013 dipped to RM20.7 million from RM71.9 million in the previous year, due mainly to lower revenue and gross profit margins at its fertilisers and chemicals divisions.

However, the pharmaceuticals division achieved strong growth in fiscal 2013, recording a 34 per cent increase in PBT on improved sales of prescription drugs to the government, the private sector as well as export markets.

Amirul Feisal said CCM's partnership project such as in joint clinical trials with PanGen Biotech Inc of South Korea in testing new pharmaceutical products is the division's cornerstone strategy in commercialisation of biotherapeutic products, eliminating the need to invest in very expensive clinical trials and long gestation periods to deliver the product to the market.

For the chemicals division, he said CCM will continue to expand its total solutions approach and enhance the portfolio of new products focusing on key industry segments covering health and hygiene, and food and pharmaceutical ingredients.

For its fertilisers division, the group will expand its dealer and distributor network to focus more on small and medium sized estates, he added.
/BERNAMA: 27-05-2014



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Malaysia's Competitiveness: Survey Report 2014



Malaysia is the 12th most competitive nation among 60 economies in the World Competitiveness Yearbook 2014 report by the Institute for Management Development (IMD) of the World Competitiveness Centre in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The ranking is an improvement from the 15th position last year and the nation's best performance in the last four years.

Malaysia continues to be ahead of the UK, Australia, Finland, New Zealand, Japan and Korea.

In the category of countries with gross domestic product (GDP) per capita less than US$20,000, Malaysia remained at the top among 29 economies.

Among 29 countries with populations above 20 million, Malaysia improved to the 4th position from 5th last year.

In ASEAN, Malaysia remained at 2nd and in the Asia-Pacific region, Malaysia is ranked 3rd among 13 countries after Singapore and Hong Kong, representing an improvement from 4th place in 2013.

"In government efficiency (15th ) and infrastructure (25th), Malaysia maintained its position. For the economic performance and business efficiency factors Malaysia continues to be in the top 10 among 60 economies with a marked improvement in international investments and ranked 7th instead of 14th last year," Minister for International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said in a statement yesterday.

He said: "They expect to see better performance in the next three to five years as more government initiatives begin to bear fruit."
                                                                                         
  /PEMANDU/The Sun Daily: 22-05-2014. 


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Ensuring everyone is in the Team



I had an opportunity, recently, to evaluate whether all members working together are on board as a team member.

A common assumption by Management is that "members working together are naturally team members who share a common goal".

But is this so? What is expected of being a Team member? It simply means that all members of the same Team share the same values and goals, have the same dream and spirit, harnessing and capitalising on each other's strength (in knowledge and skill), helping and encouraging one another towards achieving a common goal. 

But what is the reality? Most of the time, far from it. Thus, do not assume that all members of your team is working together as a Team member!


It is important not to assume.

It is important to find out whether members in your Team are in the Team or not.

Evaluation, on a periodic basis, must be instituted.

It is initiated with the definition and selection process with defined criteria. Objective evaluation is not based on emotions or relationships.

Any person in the team, irrespective of his seniority or length of service, who do not believe and embrace the team goal nor compliant must not be in the Team.

It is important to consider the end result from the beginning in order to do the right thing in achieving the desired goal. If members in the same boat, are not focussed and sharing the same goal, and, do not row the boat together in tandem, how can there be a winning Team?

Setting the right tone and having a winning Team will always avoid disappointment and frustration, which are costly in terms of time, money, effort and opportunity.

/26-05-2014


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Malaysian Ringgit gains



Malaysia’s ringgit reached a five- month high and the benchmark stock index climbed to a record after the nation’s economic growth and current-account surplus beat forecasts.

GDP rose 6.2% in Q1 from a year earlier, exceeding the 5.7% expected by economists in a Bloomberg News survey and marking the fastest pace since the period ended December 2012, after markets closed on May 16. The data added to speculation that Bank Negara will raise borrowing costs for the first time since 2011 to temper the quickest inflation in almost three years.
 
“The upbeat Q1 GDP print will reinforce the view that Bank Negara will hike rates and this is positive for the ringgit,” said Choong Yin Pheng, senior manager for bond and economic research at Hong Leong Bank Bhd in Kuala Lumpur. “The current-account surplus is a factor as well.”
 
The ringgit rallied 0.7%, the biggest gain in a month, to 3.2108 per dollar in Kuala Lumpur, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It reached 3.2078, the highest level since December 11. The FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Index of shares climbed 0.2% to 1,887.07, while bonds maturing in three, five and 10 years dropped.
 
The current-account surplus, the broadest measurement of trade, widened to RM19.8 billion (US$6.2 billion) in the quarter, above the median estimate of RM16.6 billion.. A May 8 central bank statement issued after a decision to keep interest rates unchanged said “the degree of monetary accommodation may need to be adjusted” to address the buildup in economic and financial imbalances.
  
Growth in the first quarter was “exceptional,” and the expansion in subsequent periods was expected to be about 5% to 5.5%, central bank Governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz told reporters in Kuala Lumpur on May 16.
 
Accelerating price pressures and concerns of financial imbalances are likely to prompt the monetary authority to begin tightening policy with a 25 basis point increase in the third quarter, Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. economists including Singapore-based Glenn Maguire wrote in a May 16 report. The next central bank meeting is due on July 10, 2014.
 
A government report on May 21 may show consumer-price gains held at 3.5 per cent in April, a Bloomberg survey shows, matching the pace in the previous two months that was the fastest since June 2011.
   
Global funds increased holdings of Malaysian equities by RM656.8 million in the five days ended May 16, the third highest weekly increase this year, Zulkifli Hamzah, an analyst at MIDF Amanah Investment Bank Bhd in Kuala Lumpur, wrote in a report, citing stock-exchange data.
 
/BT_Bloomberg 19-05-2014


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No inbreeding



It is always a good practice to promote an individual, who has the right attitude, passion, skill, knowledge and qualification, from within an Organisation, to a higher position when a vacancy or opportunity arises.

Recently, I was asked for my view, which I fully endorsed as this has always been my practice in time past. Internal promotion is always a positive and motivating factor for it builds loyalty and rewards performance and recognition to the employee.

However I cautioned with a caveat ie unless the individual identified is really qualified and suitable for the promotion and the leadership is healthy and strong, do proceed.

However if the leadership within the Organisation lacks expertise and knowledge, there should not be an internal promotion as this may lead to inbreeding and the candidate would not be properly guided and developed. The Organisation would suffer. 

In fact, I would advise that "new outside blood", having the right qualifications and relevant skills and knowledge, should be recruited into the Organisation instead.

This is to consciously create positive stress and challenge to the "status quo" of a lethargic and comfortable working environment. In this instance, the management would be invigorated with renewal, innovation and creativeness been challenged with fresh talents from "outside.

I believe, by this way, the Company would move forward without the danger and risk of "inbreeding" of ineptitude if internal promotion is to take place.

The infusion of "freshness" into the environment would jolt and challenge the existing leadership style, management practices and thought processes into adopting better practices and creating more dynamic, exciting, effective and productive environment.

Restructuring of human talent, like all things, must be undertaken with much thoughts, planning and with the right guidance and expertise without which the end result may be worse than the first.

Senior Management, with the help of Consultant, if necessary, must have an oversight and control to ensure the desired outcome.

/19-04-2014

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Patient Safety Statisitc in Hospitals



At any one time, a staggering 1.5 million people in the world are estimated to be suffering from hospital-acquired infections.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) data further suggests that 1in 10 patients in a developing country risk being harmed one way or another in the process of receiving medical treatment.

In Malaysia, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said in 2012, the public healthcare sector has recorded 1,855 medication-related errors, 991 cases of patients having experienced a fall while in a public health institution, 67 transfusion errors, and 54 cases of adverse outcomes in surgical procedures.

“To make matters worse, the WHO data also found that 50% of medical equipment (globally) at any point in time cannot be used optimally, were in poor stage of usage, or cannot be used at all,” Dr Subramaniam said at the National Healthcare Leaders’ Summit on Patients for Patients Safety Malaysia, end April 2014

He said the issue was not only peculiar to developed and semi-developed countries, but also afflicts developed countries.

To combat a rise in these cases, he said the Government has formed the Patient Safety Council of Malaysia in 2003 to look into all aspects of patient safety, including data collection, details of incidents and recommendations to prevent the recurrence of similar cases.

He added that the cause of patient safety-related incidents vary and may not necessarily point to negligence by a healthcare professional.

“If a doctor has exercised all the right things in his clinical process, as would others with similar experience, but despite all that, his diagnosis is not the right one, it is not equivalent to medical negligence."

“Because what we require is that the doctor should have exercised all those precautions which his peer of equivalent qualifications and experience would have done in a similar situation,” he explained.

/theSTAR 30-04-2014


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DKSH: New warehouse



DKSH Holdings Bhd, has recently opened its state-of-the-art distribution centre in Hicom Industrial Estate in Shah Alam, with a capacity of 130,000 sq ft and additional expansion capacity of 60,000 sq ft.

The centre, which is operating at an 85 per cent capacity, has generated 280 jobs.

John Clare, DKSH Malaysia head of country management and group finance director, in an interview recently said "We allocated RM6.8 million in capital expenditure (capex) for this new centre, which is relatively small as we practise an ‘asset light’ business model, which means we do not purchase any land and simply just rent it. For this new centre, we have a tenure of 10 years with the option to continue."

The group, through its healthcare unit, is already serving over 600 specialists in Malaysia and the new distribution centre will also be able to serve more than 13,000 healthcare customers, including hospitals, clinics, dental centres, pharmacies and retail outlets nationwide.

“We anticipate that we will outgrow the allocated 130,000 sq ft and will tap the additional 60,000 soon enough.”

The firm, which was listed on Bursa Malaysia in March 2011, does not see its business slowing down in Malaysia any time soon.

/NST 16-05-2014 

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Malaysia: Q1 GDP exceeds expectations



ECONOMIC activities surged in the first three months of 2014 chalking up a 6.2 per cent expansion in gross domestic product (GDP), paving the path for another year of robust growth.

Describing it as exceptional and encouraging, Bank Negara Malaysia governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz said Q1 GDP reflected the recovery in the trade sector as well as domestic demand. Consumption and investment activities  also remained robust during the period.

"If growth remains in the five to 5.5 per cent region, then we will be in the upper end of projection for growth for the year as a whole," Zeti said at a  briefing yesterday.

The central bank has projected the economy to grow by between 4.5 and 5.5 per cent this year.

Exports will continue to benefit from recovery in the advanced economies while private domestic demand is expected to remain the key driver of the overall growth.
      
The borrowing costs is expected to be increased when the monetary policy committee (MPC) meets on July 10.

Michael Wan of Credit Suisse expects the "mix"  for growth to shift towards exports and investment and away from consumption. "We continue to look for robust 2014 GDP growth, with the balance of risks tilting to the upside."

He expects public investment, in particular, to pick up by the second-half of this year as the government continues to press on with infrastructure plans under the Economic Transformation Programme, namely the MRT Line 2 and Tun Razak Exchange.

 Ho Woei Chen of UOB Bank said both domestic demand and improvement in the external environment will continue to contribute to the GDP growth.
   
On suggestion for the ringgit to be pegged again, Zeti said a flexible exchange rate regime is suitable for Malaysia as the changes in the international economic and financial landscape requires flexibility.

Meanwhile, Bank Negara Malaysia has redefined its external debt to include non-resident holdings of ringgit-denominated debt securities, non-resident deposits, trade credits provided by foreign trade counterparts and other debt liabilities.

As at end of March 2014, Malaysia's redefined external debt stood at RM700.1 billion, equivalent to US$212.5 billion or 65.2 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) compared with RM694.6 billion or US$209.2 billion, equivalent to 70.4 per cent of GDP as at end-December 2013.

Governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz said the increase in the external debt was due mainly to higher offshore borrowing by the private sector and non-resident holdings of ringgit-denominated debt liabilities.
Following the redefinition, the potential for currency mismatches in the country's external indebtedness is reduced since these debt securities are ringgit-denominated obligations.

"It is also crucial to note that the federal government debt remains unchanged. The redefinition of external debt is a prudential measure which allows the government to better assess its exposure to non-residents.

"Importantly, although the redefined external debt level is higher, Malaysia's external indebtedness indicators remain within the international benchmark for prudence and external soundness," she added.
/NST Bernama 17-05-2014

 
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Moving forward ...



"Life must be lived forward, but can only be understood backwards" ...this  statement is attributed to Soren Kierkegaard, a Danish philosopher, who lived in the 1800's

Indeed life must go on irrespective of the circumstances one is in - be it happy, joyful, sad, sorrowful, depression ... moving forward must be towards a better state that you are currently in or equal to the present positive situation, if not better, and not to remain in the negative depress environment ... one should not choose to be trapped in a negative environment refusing to move forward ...

When we are in the present, we often times, thought that we are doing well but it may not be so ... when we looked back later. Similarly, we thought we were not doing well but, when we looked back after we moved on, it was not that bad! 

Thus, whilst we are still full of life and energy, we must not fear to move forward. We must make decision, that is meaningful, wholesome, constructive, godly and contributory to the community and country whilst sustaining our respective lives and families.

There is a saying that "we resist to move forward because of fear". Is this true? Even it is, we must not focus on the "fear". Instead, we must look beyond "fear" and move forward, in good god fearing faith, to achieve the desire state of mind or success that we want to have. Without moving, we are "frozen in time and situation, dead" and there is "no hope or life in us" ... and this must not be so ...

Look beyond the "fear" and conquer it! When you looked backward later in life, you would have marvelled, and thankful, how much you had achieved in your life!



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