Vaccinations: Misconception

Misinformation about vaccines has led to a huge increase in vaccine-preventable diseases, with almost a 1,000% increase in the number of measles cases compared to five years ago.
The number of measles cases increased from 195 cases in 2013 to 1,934 cases in 2018
From the figures, cases of measles without immunisation increased to 1,467 cases (75.9%) last year from 125 cases (68.7%) in 2013
In 2018, there were recorded six measles deaths where all were not immunised, and five cases of diphtheria deaths where four did not receive immunisation.
There were 22 deaths from whooping cough (pertussis) where 19 cases had no vaccination.
Health Director General, Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said it was discovered through social media that certain individuals who objected to vaccines had influenced other parents to join them.
“The irresponsible action posed a challenge to the ministry’s efforts, and as a result, infectious diseases that could be prevented with vaccines had increased,” he said.
The World Health Organization has identified vaccine rejection as one of the global health threats for 2019.
“The misinformation on vaccination was spread by those obsessed with the claim that vaccination and the National Immunisation Programme carried out by the government were of no benefit and resulted in negative effects. The claim is not accurate,” he said.
The number of rejections to vaccines in government clinics increased to 1,603 cases in 2016 from 637 cases in 2013.
However, the numbers dropped a little in 2017 – to 1,404 cases – following the Ministry’s widespread advocacy efforts done in collaboration with the private sector and medical social media volunteers, said Dr Noor Hisham.
“If people continue to reject vaccines, there is a likelihood that infectious diseases that could be prevented by vaccines will continue to increase, and all efforts will be futile,” he said.
Dr Noor Hisham said immunisation has been given free to Malaysian babies and children in government clinics since the 1950s.
Currently, the National Immunisation Programme is able to prevent 12 types of infectious diseases caused by certain bacteria and virus.
With the immunisation programme and improvement in health services, Malaysia successfully reduced the number of infant deaths by 85% from 1970 to 2017, from 55.9 deaths for every 1,000 live births to only 8.4 deaths for every 1,000 live births.
Immunisation has also eradicated smallpox worldwide while polio had been eradicated in Malaysia, he added.
/theSTAR 23-01-2019
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Traditional and Complementary Medicine (TCM): Development in Malaysia

The World Health Organisation acknowledges that there is significant and increasing demand for Traditional and Complementary Medicine (TCM) practices and practitioners worldwide.

The Ministry of Health Malaysia hasalways been aware of the importance of TCM in Malaysia from the health care, economic and socio-cultural perspectives. The Ministry advocates TCM as a complement to modern medicine and strives to not only make safe and quality TCM services accessibleto the public, but by integrating them into the national health care system with the aim of achieving holistic health care for all Malaysians.

Registration of TCM pharmaceutical products by the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency commenced in 1992, and in 2004, the Traditional and Complementary Medicine (TCM) Division of the Ministry was set up to look into the regulation of TCM practices and practitioners.

The Traditional and Complementary Medicine (TCM) Act 2016 (Act 775) which governs TCM practice and practitioners in Malaysia, was gazetted on 10 March 2016 and enforced on 1 August 2016. Malaysia is one of the very few countries to regulate diverse practices and practitioners of TCM. The enforcement of the Act will be conducted in phases.

 The Ministry has embarked on Phase 1 of the Act enforcement whereby the TCM Council has been formed and is currently making the necessary preparations for the enforcement of Phase 2 which will include registration of TCM practitioners as well as disciplinary proceedings.

The final phase will entail full enforcement of the Act including the Sections pertaining to enforcement related activities. There are also at present seven recognised TCM practice areas and six designated practitioner bodies to represent these practice areas in the Council. The Ministry is keen for the practice of medicine and health related professions in this country to be evidence-based.

The Ministry takes note that there has been research conducted in the field of TCM, especially in the countries of origin of recognised practice areas such as Chinese medicine, Indian medicine and chiropractic.

The Ministry supports endeavours by local researchers from the public and private sectors to undertake further research into TCM practices and products. Section 3 of the Medicines (Advertisement & Sale) Act 1956 is very clear on the prohibition of advertisements relating to certain diseases, and the relevant Schedule lists 20 of those diseases. This also applies to those who practice TCM.

Section 29 of Act 775 stipulates that any title or abbreviation used by a registered TCM practitioner should not cause the public to believe that the practitioner is qualified to practice medicine or surgery or dentistry as provided for by the legislation governing those professions. The TCM Council shall specify a list of prohibited titles and abbreviations which will be published once the relevant Section of Act 775 is enforced. Punitive action can be taken on any practitioner who registers with the TCM Council and is found to have used any prohibited title or abbreviation. /theSTAR 11-01-2019

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