Tengku Puteri Raja Tengku Puteri Iman Afzan Receives Honorary Degree

WORDS LIM TECK CHOON

We would like to express our heartiest congratulations to  Her Royal Highness Tengku Puteri Raja Tengku Puteri Iman Afzan binti Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shahwas.

On November 17, she was conferred an Honorary Degree, ‘Doctor of the University’, by Heriot-Watt University Malaysia at the Putrajaya Marriott Hotel today.

A PRINCESS FOR THE PEOPLE

HRH Tengku Puteri Raja Tengku Puteri Iman Afzan is the eldest daughter of His Majesty Seri Paduka Baginda The Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah Ibni Almarhum Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Al-Musta’in Billah.

She is a well-known and well-respected mental health activist and advocate in Malaysia as well as the international stage.

Just a few of her recent accomplishments and advocacy milestones are:

  • Appointed as World Federation for Mental Health Representative to the United Nations in New York in 2021
  • Appointed by WHO as the International Patron of World Mental Health Day for 2020-2021
  • Co-founder of the mental health awareness and advocacy platform Green Ribbon Group (link opens in a new tab)

Heriot-Watt University presented the Honorary Degree to HRH Tengku Puteri Raja Tengku Puteri Iman Afzan in recognition of Her Royal Highness’role as an inspirational, purpose-driven leader committed to championing mental health in Malaysia and globally.

A WIN FOR THE CAUSE OF CHAMPIONING MENTAL HEALTH

“The Honorary Degree from Heriot-Watt University is a win for my noble cause of championing mental health,” Her Royal Highness Tengku Puteri Raja Tengku Puteri Iman Afzan said during the ceremony. “I am pleased to be recognised for the positive impact of my efforts, and this momentous occasion has reminded me once again of why I decided to champion the mental health agenda. I am dedicated to continuing my efforts to have a positive impact on mental health and to create an environment that is filled with compassion, love, and encouragement, especially for those who feel alone in their battles.”

She reiterated that pushing the mental health agenda forward will set in motion actionable steps towards breaking negative cycles and habits, and their transmission between the current generation and future ones.

“I would like to build a world where our youth are supported to become the very best version of themselves, so they are able to contribute to society and become even better parents to their children. This is my hope for my children, Zayn and Aleya, too,” she said.

Important Advice to Stay Prepared During the Monsoon Season

WORDS LIM EN NI

LIM EN NI
Chief Pharmacist
Alpro Pharmacy

The Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) recently announced that Malaysia will experience continuous heavy rainfall from mid-November, leading to probable major flash floods in several states, and the monsoon season will last until early next year.

We would like to outline several precautionary measures for residents in flood-prone areas, from a community pharmacist’s point of view, to proactively mitigate flood damages ahead of the period and in the aftermath.

BEFORE A FLOOD
  • Closely monitor your surroundings and stay up to date on weather forecasts and warnings
  • Assemble disaster supplies, including long-term medications and first aid kits in water-proof bags in case of evacuation.
  • People, especially the elderly, with chronic diseases, are advised to visit their nearest pharmacy and bring along with their chronic medications, in order to keep a record in the pharmacy and have an up-to-date medication list; this will be useful should one lose the hard-copy of their prescription and face difficulties in retrieving their medication
AFTER A FLOOD
  • Due to poor sanitation and hygiene in flood areas, there is a high risk of flood-borne diseases such as leptospirosis, cholera, and dengue fever. Keep an eye out for general symptoms such as fever, headache, diarrhoea, muscle aches, and vomiting. In the case of any such symptoms, please visit the nearest healthcare centres immediately.
  • Alpro Pharmacy and DOC2US have launched the Life-saving Medication Care Programme, which provides a one-time supply of medications for up to 7 days for free. Those with contaminated or lost chronic disease medications can visit an Alpro Pharmacy outlet and speak to the pharmacist for more details. Note that a police report copy of the flooding is required for verification purposes.

Stay dry, stay safe!

How Breast Ultrasound & Mammogram May Save Your Life

WORDS LIM TECK CHOON

DR WINNIE NG NYEK PING
Consultant Clinical Oncologist
Subang Jaya Medical Centre
NO FAMILY HISTORY OF BREAST CANCER = NO PROBLEM? WELL, THINK AGAIN!

“Even if one has no known family history of cancer, external factors such as environmental exposures, prolonged exposure to female hormones and lifestyle features may contribute to an increased relative risk of breast cancer,” says Dr Winnie Ng, a consultant clinical oncologist.

“Aside from genetics, there are numerous underlying possible causes of breast cancer,” says Dr Ng
  • Alcohol intake
  • Smoking
  • Prolonged exposure to female reproductive hormones such as oestrogen, such as in women that reach menstruation at early age, women that have never been pregnant, women on oral contraceptive pills, women that experience menopause late, and woman that have their first full-term pregnancy at a later age
  • Postmenopausal women on hormone replacement therapy
  • Obesity

Theerfore, even if you have no family history of breast cancer, Dr Ng recommends that still going for breast cancer screening.

“The easiest method of screening is by self-examination of the breast,” she adds.

How to perform a breast self-examination. Click on this image to view a larger version.
AS WE STILL DON’T HAVE A CURE FOR BREAST CANCER, SCREENING REMAINS THE MOST PRACTICAL SOLUTION TO DETECT BREAST CANCER EARLY

Dr Ng recommends that

  • Women below 40 should undergo a breast ultrasound
  • Women above 40 are advised to go for a mammogram

You should consult your doctor about your risk factors and how often you should go for breast cancer screening.

 “A breast cancer diagnosis is not a death sentence. Self-tests and regular screenings can save lives,” says Dr Winnie Ng.

A Health-Centric Wishlist for the Malaysian GE15

WORDS ANWAR ANIS

ANWAR ANIS
Executive Director
ALTY Orthopaedic Hospital
FORMATION OF A LONG-TERM PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN PUBLIC & PRIVATE HEALTHCARE

Building upon the successful collaboration between public and private healthcare during the pandemic, a long-term policy on greater partnership will benefit both the government and the private sector, with all Malaysians being the key beneficiary.

There still are waiting lists for procedures in the public hospitals, and these can certainly be reduced if there is a structure long term arrangement for the private hospitals and centres to assist in reducing and maintaining a short wait time, especially for elective procedures which can greatly enhance an individual’s productivity, although it may not be life threatening.

GREATER FOCUS ON AN AGEING SOCIETY

These include the necessary social safety nets, proper care facilities and also post hospitalization care and support.

Here, the government should consider partnering the many physio and home care organisations to ensure patients have good compliance to post hospital care, including physio, wound care and others.

An aging population also typically means reduced mobility due to various issue—for example orthopaedic-related issues, where it can be address with proper intervention, and where needed surgery.

Government subsidy for implants, such as knee and hip implants can reduce the burden for the uninsured (which is a large majority of those who need such care) – and thus ensuring they have good mobility and thus independence even as they age.

INNOVATION IN HEALTHCARE WITH ROBOTICS, 3-D PRINTING & OTHER NEW TECHNOLOGIES

The government should consider encouraging the adoption of such technologies especially in healthcare.

Grants or even personal subsidies to access such health technologies where appropriate can propel the adoption and perhaps even development of such tech.

For example, 3-D printed casts or prosthesis will improve recovery and long-term quality of life. The regulatory framework also needs to support the faster adoption of such health technologies, to ensure Malaysia is able to maintain its advantage as a healthcare travel destination.

COMPETITIVE & FACILITATIVE IMMIGRATION POLICIES

Competitive and facilitative immigration policies, for healthcare travellers especially, will allow Malaysia to be serve a greater no of patients, which in turn lowers the cost of investment in health-related technologies and equipment, thus enabling more Malaysians to access it as well.

Some of our neighbouring countries continue to attract patients from a number of different countries, despite being less competitive overall than Malaysia, primarily due to the ease of arriving into the country.

Thus, they are able to invest in technologies such as thehealthy  Proton beam, as fee paying foreign patients ensure there is a sufficient volume of patients for these advanced and latest modalities.

Small for Gestational Age: When Baby Is Born Smaller Than Normal

WORDS PROFESSOR DR MUHAMMAD YAZID JALALUDIN

PROFESSOR DR MUHAMMAD YAZID JALALUDIN
Senior Consultant Paediatrician and Paediatric Endocrinologist
UM Specialist Centre

Most babies seem small when they first come into the world, but for some, they truly are smaller when compared to their fellow babies-in-arms.

This condition is known medically as small for gestational age (SGA for short).

Gestational age, by the way, is the length of time a baby spends growing in their mother’s womb.

Small for gestational age babies that weigh below 2,500 g at birth are additionally considered to have low birth weight.

SMALL FOR GESTATIONAL AGE CAN BE MEASURED AND DETECTED AFTER A BABY IS BORN

After a mother has given birth in a hospital or clinic, nurses will clean the newborn and giving them a quick check for any abnormalities. The nurses will also measure the length and head circumference of the baby as well as weigh.

These measurements inform healthcare professionals whether or not a baby is small for their gestational age.

POSSIBLE CAUSES OF SMALL FOR GESTATIONAL AGE

Pregnant women should go for their antenatal check-ups to monitor for and manage any problems that might result in a small for gestational age baby

The mother’s health during pregnancy
  • Presence of infections or medical conditions such as heart disease, uncontrolled diabetes, thyroid disease, or high blood pressure
  • Drinking alcohol or smoking
  • Poor nutrition during pregnancy
The mother’s age

The risk of having a small for gestational age baby is significantly higher for women aged 30 and above that have never given birth before, as well as all women aged 40 and above, compared to women in their 20s.

The mother’s height

Women that are short are at risk because their smaller wombs and shorter birth canals influence the growth of their foetus.

Family history

Interestingly, research has shown that the risk of having a small for gestational age baby can be influenced as far back as two generations.

If the pregnant woman and/or her own mother were small for gestational age babies, the foetus has a higher chance of being born small for gestational age.

Issues with the placenta during pregnancy
  • Placental insufficiency, which happens when the blood vessels in the uterus that are supposed to transform into the blood vessels of the placenta do not change as they should, can lead to placental infarction
  • Placental infarction sees the disruption of the blood supply to the placenta, resulting in the death of placental cells, placental abruption (the placenta partially or completely separates from the uterus before childbirth), and structural abnormalities of the placenta
  • All these conditions cause the foetus to receive insufficient nutrients and oxygen from their mother, thus affecting their growth
Chromosomal or genetic abnormalities

These abnormalities include those that give rise to Down syndrome and congenital abnormalities such as structural defects of the heart, kidneys, lungs, or intestines.

Other possible causes

Catching an infection while in the womb or being part of a multiple pregnancy (twins, triplets, etc) can also negatively affect a foetus’s growth.

SMALL FOR GESTATIONAL AGE COMPLICATIONS AFTER DELIVERY
  • As they have only small amounts of fat or energy stored away, they may have a low body temperature at birth. This can result in hypothermia, where the body loses heat faster than it can produce it. If this condition is prolonged, the baby can die as their heart and brain cannot function well at these sub-optimal temperatures.
  • The lack of fat and glycogen stored in a small for gestational age baby’s liver can cause hypoglycaemia, where they have low blood sugar levels that are unable to match their body’s needs. This can cause the baby to have seizures and/or brain damage. If the hypoglycaemia is prolonged, the baby may die or develop long-term neurodevelopmental deficits, including cerebral palsy.
  • As they are deprived of sufficient nutrients in the womb, small for gestational age babies become ‘programmed’ to hoard whatever nutrients and calories they receive. This means that after birth, they can very easily put on weight if their caloric intake is not carefully monitored. Thus, these babies are prone to obesity and its associated conditions (diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, osteoarthritis, heart disease, etc). This “programming” lasts throughout their lifetime.
  • Their growth rate can influence when they achieve puberty. Small for gestational age babies that catch up in their growth very quickly might experience early puberty. On the other hand, if they are slow in growing, their puberty might be delayed.
  • Persistent short stature.
SMALL FOR GESTATIONAL AGE, FORTUNATELY, CAN BE MANAGED

Generally speaking, small for gestational age babies should be able to catch up in their growth within the first six months to two years of their life with good nutrition.

In fact, 85% of these babies achieve normal height and weight for their age and gender by two years of age.

Some children require a longer time and there is still some leeway until the age of five to allow them to catch up in growth to their peers.

However, by five years of age, 8-10% of small for gestational age babies would still be smaller than normal, and this is the time that parents and doctors need to start discussing treatments for the child.

Growth hormone therapy
  • The main treatment for small for gestational age babies that do not manage to catch up in growth by the time they are four to five years old
  • Will enable them to achieve their optimal final height as adults, through improving muscle and bone growth
  • Helps increase the breakdown of fats, to address the tendency of small for gestational age babies to accumulate fat and become obese
Good nutrition
  • Nutrition plays a critical role in the first two years of life in promoting a child’s growth
  • Their diet must be carefully monitored as they are prone to becoming overweight; on the other hand, when they are not fed enough, they might become stunted
  • Parents need to do a careful balancing act when it comes to feeding their small for gestational age baby
Regular physical activity
  • As the child grows, parents also need to encourage and allow their child to be active
  • Doing so will prevent excessive weight gain and help stimulate the natural production of serotonin and growth hormone to help the child grow
  • Such physical activity must be vigorous enough that the child’s heartbeat increases and they sweat.
Proper sleep
  • It is critical that children are asleep at the latest by 9 pm, as the peak time for the body to produce its natural growth hormones is between 10 pm to 12 am.
  • Sleeping later, as many Malaysian children tend to do, will cause them to miss this critical period of growth hormone secretion.

#YouMatter Promotes Mental Health Awareness and Creates Safe Space

WORDS LIM TECK CHOON

In conjunction with World Mental Health Month in October, Suria KLCC together with The Body Shop invites the public to be part of the change in temoving the stigma of mental health problems. Also coming onboard this year is the is Mental Illness Awareness & Support Association (MIASA).

The campaign with the tagline #YouMatter will run until 10 November 2022.

A SAFE SPACE FOR PEOPLE TO GATHER AND CONVERSE ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH

A safe space is available Suria KLCC for people to come together and converse about mental health without the fear of receiving judgment and being stigmatized by the rest of society.

This safe space, called Safe Space @ Suria KLCC, will be open for the duration of this campaign.

SAFE SPACE @ SURIA KLCC

  • Located at Level 1, Ampang Mall (you can’t miss it)
  • Will be opened throughout the campaign (until 10 November 2022)
  • 10 am to 10 pm daily
  • Participate in workshops, talks, and panel discussions with mental health professionals
  • Talk to the stationed mental health volunteer for more information

The calm room in Safe Space @ KLCC allows one to de-stim and find peace of mind.
WELCOMING THE CALM AFTER A TURBULENT MCO

“The last two years marked a turbulent and uncertain time for all,” says Andrew Brien, the Executive Director of Suria KLCC Sdn Bhd. “With the pandemic in the rear-view mirror, there’s no better time to reconnect and focus on recovery.”

He adds: “The Safe Space @ Suria KLCC is a welcoming space where the community can come together to share and learn. After all, a problem shared is a problem halved—we want people to leave the space feeling better and with more insight about themselves or others.”

A TIMELY EFFORT TO REACH OUT TO AND EMPOWER YOUTHS

YAM Tengku Puteri Raja Tengku Puteri Iman Afzan Al-Sultan Abdullah, the Founder and President of the Green Ribbon Group, emphasizes that Safe Space and similar efforts are needed to show our support for those with mental health problems as well as to highlight an ongoing commitment towards doing more for the cause.

She adds that for this year, the focus is on the mental health of youth. “The focus on youth mental health this year is especially timely for the Green Ribbon Group. We are very fortunate to be able to pilot programmes in secondary schools and universities that focus on mental health literacy, self-management and peer support. This has always been a dream of mine—to reach out to our youth and empower them to prioritise their mental health.”

Founder and President of MIASA, Anita Abu Bakar shares a similar sentiment. “Looking after each other should be everyone’s responsibility and not just the health sector alone,” she says. “This is why we should strive to prioritise community-based mental health support—so that the burden of care can be shifted from being shouldered solely by our incredible frontliners to being shouldered by all of us. Through efforts like this, it is our sincere hope that the scale of our response to the issues surrounding community mental health can begin to match the scale of the challenge itself.”


For more information on MIASA, you can visit www.miasa.org.my (link opens in a new tab), while more information on the Green Ribbon Group can be found by visiting greenribbongroup.com (link also opens in a new tab).

See the map below if you’re unsure as to where KLCC Suria is.

How Intraocular Lens Can Help People with Cataract and Presbyopia

WORDS LIM TECK CHOON

DR CHEONG FOOK MENG
Consultant Ophthalmologist
Gleneagles Hospital Kuala Lumpur
CONCERNING CATARACT

Dr Cheong Fook Meng shares that it is normal to develop cataracts as you age.

However, this condition can also be caused by eye injuries as well as certain diseases or medications.

As one’s cataract progresses, the lens in their eyes gradually become hard and cloudy, allowing less light to pass through. This leads to diminished vision and even complete blindness in severe cases.

ABOUT PRESBYOPIA 

“Presbyopia is another condition that occurs naturally as a person ages; your eyes gradually lose the ability to focus on nearby objects,” says Dr Cheong.

With presbyopia, the lens inside the eye progressively loses its flexibility, making it harder for the affected eye to focus the light reflected from objects.

A common sign that someone may have developed this condition is having to hold reading materials at arm’s length to make out what they are reading.

BOTH CAN BE TREATED WITH SURGERY & IMPLANTATION OF INTRAOCULAR LENS

“This surgical treatment allows the removal of the eye’s cloudy natural lens and replacing it with an intraocular lens,” explains Dr Cheong.

The intraocular lens is clear, made to fit one’s eye shape and personalised according to the patient’s condition and needs.

Intraocular lens (labelled as lens in the image). Click to view a larger version of this image.
TYPES OF INTRAOCULAR LENS AVAILABLE IN MALAYSIA
  • Monofocal lenses correct a single range of vision, usually to see distant objects. Additional issues will need to be fixed through other means.
  • Toric lenses are suitable for patients who also have astigmatism but, similar to monofocal lenses, they restore vision for only one area of focus.
  • Multifocal lenses are designed to provide clear vision for distant and near vision.
GOING FURTHER WITH EXTENDED DEPTH-OF-FOCUS INTRAOCULAR LENS  

Extended depth-of-focus intraocular lens delivers an enhanced range of vision with a reduced frequency of glares and halos, regardless of the lighting conditions.

During the day or when driving at night, these lenses deliver great vision and clarity.

For presbyopia

Extended depth-of-focus intraocular lens can be used to correct presbyopia, by creating a single elongated focal point to enhance one’s range of distance for which their eye can see an object clearly.

For cataract

While all lenses can fix cataracts, extended depth-of-focus intraocular lens may improve one’s quality of life.

They provide distant, intermediate (at arm’s length, such as for reading a newspaper or working on a laptop) and functional near vision (up close, such as for reading books and mobile phone screen), with minimum visual disturbances.

They may even decrease a patient’s need to wear glasses after their cataracts have been removed.

Important Things That You Should Know About Silent Heart Attacks

WORDS LIM TECK CHOON

DR PATRICK TIAU WEI JYUNG
Consultant Cardiologist
Sunway Medical Centre

Dr Patrick Tiau reveals that silent heart attacks, also known as silent myocardial infarction, account for 45% of heart attacks.

These heart attacks are “silent” because they occur without the usual, recognizable symptoms of a heart attack.

COMMON SYMPTOMS OF HEART ATTACK
  • Chest pain (often described as heavy or pressure sensation)
  • Radiating pain in the arm, neck, or jaw
  • Sudden shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness
HOWEVER, THESE SYMPTOMS ARE USUALLY NOT PRESENT WHEN ONE HAS A SILENT HEART ATTACK!
Because of this, many people may not know that they have experienced one until days or even weeks after.

However, Dr Patrick shares that there are some early warning signs to look out for.

SIGNS THAT YOU MAY HAVE HAD A SILENT HEART ATTACK

It’s good to consult a doctor when you have concerns, especially if you experience these signs and fall under the high-risk below (see below).

  • Feeling tired
  • Indigestion
  • Nausea
  • Sweating.

Dr Patrick says, “We have come across many patients who have dismissed the early warning symptoms as simply feeling tired, indigestion, nausea or sweating. By the time they seek out medical treatment for these symptoms, they are shocked to learn that what they are experiencing is actually due to a reduced blood flow to their heart, and that has caused them to have a silent heart attack.”

Silent heart attacks can lead to more serious health complications if left untreated over an extended period of time, such as an increased risk of another, potentially more deadly heart attack.

COMMON RISKS OF SILENT HEART ATTACKS
RISKS THAT CANNOT BE AVOIDED 
  • Age. The risk increases as we grow older.
  • Gender. Men are more at risk than women. However, women are more prone to a higher risk of complications after experiencing one, especially if they are diabetic.
  • Family history. The risk is higher for people with a family history of heart diseases.
RISKS THAT CAN BE MODIFIED 
  • Smoking. Chemicals in cigarettes stimulate one’s heartbeat and can dramatically increase one’s risk of heart attack.
  • High cholesterol. Individuals with elevated cholesterol levels can lead to formation of atherosclerotic plaque in the blood vessel and reduce blood flow to the heart.
  • High blood pressure: Having high blood pressure puts extra strain on the heart muscle. Over time, this causes the heart muscle to stiffen, thicken, and perform less optimally.
  • Individuals that are overweight or obese, especially when their weight tends to sit at the waist, are more at risk even if they do not have any other risk factors.
  • Physical inactivity. Doing regular exercise helps protect the heart by keeping under control other risk factors such as cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity.

“Undeniably our heart health is essential to allowing us to have a well-balanced and fulfilling life,” he says. “The heart itself is the first and last sign of life that is responsible for, quite literally, keeping us going. In combatting heart attacks, the most important thing to remember is that prevention is definitely better than cure.”

DR PATRICK’S TIPS TO REDUCE YOUR RISK OF SILENT HEART ATTACKS

Make the necessary small changes to daily lifestyle to reduce one’s risk factors. These changes include:

  • Regularly monitor blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Get sufficient exercise
  • Quit smoking
  • Eat a balanced diet of fruit, vegetables, lean meats and whole grains
  • Ensure that one’s blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar are well-controlled
  • Inform a doctor as soon as possible about any unusual symptoms that may indicate a silent heart attack

Once you go home from the hospital, it is essential that you keep taking your medications as prescribed. “This will ensure your heart health is kept in check, possibly for the rest of your life,” says Dr Patrick.

Consider joining a support group. Dr Patrick acknowledges that heart attack survivors may start to develop feelings of shock, sadness, and anxiety. This is normal, and these feelings can be managed with the right support.

“Some people find it helpful to join a support group where they can talk with others that have gone through a similar experience, or seek out companionship and encouragement through avenues such as the gym, or yoga classes,” he advises.

What Every Parent Should Know about Congenital Heart Defects in Children

WORDS DR CHOO KOK KUAN

DR CHOO KOK KUAN
Consultant Paediatrician and Paediatric Cardiologist
Subang Jaya Medical Centre

The most common heart disease among children is known as congenital heart defects.

This condition occurs when the heart or the blood vessels near the heart do not develop normally before birth.

HOW COMMON IS THIS CONDITION?

According to our Ministry of Health, the incidence of congenital heart defects among children is about 8 to 10 per 1,000 live births.

With an average of 500,000 deliveries in Malaysia each year, the number of children born with congenital heart defects is about 5,000 a year, of which two-thirds will require surgical intervention.

THE CAUSES & RISK FACTORS

Most congenital heart defects have no known cause.

They may sometimes run in families.

Some congenital heart defects may be associated with genetic disorders, such as Down syndrome, Turner syndrome, Williams syndrome, etc.

Some children have a higher risk of developing congenital heart defects if the mother has diabetes or rubella, or has taken certain medications such as anti-epileptic drugs, during pregnancy.

DETECTION OF CONGENITAL HEART DEFECTS

Sometimes a heart defect can be diagnosed before a baby is born.

However, defects are usually identified days or even months after birth, when symptoms become obvious.

Less serious congenital heart defects may not show any noticeable signs or symptoms, so they may only be diagnosed later in childhood.

It is also possible to have a heart defect and show no symptoms at all.

POSSIBLE SIGNS THAT A BABY OR YOUNG CHILD MAY HAVE CONGENITAL HEART DEFECTS
  • Rapid breathing
  • Bluish discolouration commonly noticed around the lips, fingernails, palms of the hands, and soles of the feet
  • Shortness of breath during feeding, leading to poor weight gain
  • Poor growth
  • Recurrent lung infection
WILL A CHILD WITH CONGENITAL HEART DEFECTS BE OKAY?

As a result of medical advancements, the outlook for congenital heart diseases is increasingly positive.

Most children with this condition reach their adulthood.

In fact, children with simple conditions may lead completely normal lives, while those with more complex conditions usually face more challenges that can nevertheless be addressed with the right measures in place.

6 THINGS THAT EVERY PARENT OF CHILDREN WITH CONGENITAL HEART DEFECTS SHOULD KNOW AND DO
  1. Heart medications can be very strong and dangerous if not given correctly. Parents must understand how much medicine to give and how to give it. If the child takes a blood thinner, parents must have clear instructions on how to give this medicine safely.
  2. Ensure the child eats well and receives adequate nutrition. They often tire when eating, so they eat less and may not get enough calories.
  3. Prevention of infections is crucial. Although an infection in the heart (endocarditis) is uncommon, children with heart defects have a greater risk of developing this. Good dental hygiene goes a long way toward preventing endocarditis by reducing the risk of tooth or gum infection. Parents can get more information from cardiologist about the latest guidelines on antimicrobial prophylaxis against infective endocarditis. These children must also get all the recommended vaccinations.
  4. Most children with a congenital heart defect can be physically active without restrictions. In fact, children are encouraged to be physically active to keep their hearts fit and to avoid obesity, unless they have a few specific heart conditions.
  5. Emotional support will help children who may have self-esteem issues because of how they look. They may have scars from surgery, and they may be smaller, or have limits on how active they can be.
  6. As children transition to adulthood, parents can gradually teach them about their heart defect and guide them in how to care for their own health without being overly protective.

Empowering Pharmacists to Better Serve The Nation

WORDS LIM EN NI

LIM EN NI
Chief Pharmacist
Alpro Pharmacy

For the longest time, the role of a pharmacist has been seen by many, even among those in the profession, as retailer of supplements and other healthcare products. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the general public have come to recognize the values community pharmacists bring.

MEDICATION SAFETY

Very often, patients with multiple non-communicable diseases (NCDs) were prescribed with medications by different doctors, they might not be aware of possible medical contradictions. They brought these medications to community pharmacists like me, and we helped them review and explain the dosage and possible side effects of each medicine. Most importantly, pharmacists ensure the safety of patients from medication errors.

ACCESSIBILITY

Pharmacies are usually open for long hours and pharmacists offer informal, appointment-free consultation. At the height of the pandemic when clinics and hospitals required COVID-19 screening prior to consultation with doctors and patients avoided going to high-risk places, community pharmacists filled the gap by offering advice on COVID-19 and other health related matters including basic health screening and re-filling much needed chronic prescriptions through collaboration with telemedicine providers.

SOLUTION-BASED SERVICES

In recent years, many product-based retail pharmacists have transited to community pharmacists with solution-based services, such as wound-care, smoking cessation service, and diabetic-care.

THUS, COMMUNITY PHARMACIES INFLUENCE NATIONAL HEALTH CARE PROGRESSION IN POSITIVE WAYS

It is high time for the Government to endorse community pharmacists as an integral part of community health and wellness by allocating funding for programmes in support of the Government’s efforts in creating a smoke-free generation, battling against NCDs and providing preventive care for the ageing population.

The inclusion of community pharmacists in the Government’s outreach plan will benefit the country as a whole, as it will ultimately reduce medical costs, improve population health, increase the quality of healthcare in Malaysia and contribute to the country’s GDP.

This year, The International Pharmaceutical Federation announced the theme of World Pharmacist Day 2022 as “Pharmacy United in Action for a Healthier World”. This theme invites comrades from all sectors of the pharmacy profession to take part in the campaign. Regardless of culture or point of view, the core duty of every pharmacist remains—to safeguard medication safety for everyone.