Ozone therapy treatments now banned in Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA: The Health Ministry today announced the ban on ozone therapy treatments as it could lead to severe medical complications.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said a health technology assessment carried out by the Malaysian Health Technology Assessment Section (MaHTAS) revealed there was no scientific evidence to support any therapeutic benefits from the therapy.

“Moreover, the therapy exposes the users to risks of bleeding from the usage of heparin (blood thinning medicine), embolism (blockage of blood vessel from air bubbles), and infection from non-sterile instruments.

“It could also lead to permanent disability resulting from impairment of organs such as the kidneys,” he told reporters today.

As such, the ministry views the practice of ozone therapy seriously, he added.

He said the therapy claims to rejuvenate one’s skin and beauty, whiten complexion and slow the ageing process.

Dr Subramaniam also said the usage of the ozone therapy machine has also never been approved.

“Under the Medical Device Act 2012, the machine is defined as a medical device which must be registered with the Medical Device Act (MDA).

“Therefore, any establishment, manufacturer, importer or distributors who import or place the machines in the Malaysian market need to apply for an establishment licence and register the licence under the Act.

https://www.nst.com.my/news/government-public-policy/2017/05/236163/ozone-therapy-treatments-now-banned-malaysia

14-year-old girl unable to straighten her neck after excessive mobile phone usage

Spending too much time on our mobile devices brings a slew of potential health problems, including worsening eyesight or disrupted sleep due to direct and prolonged blue light exposure from phone displays, or ‘text claw’, where users’ fingers feel stiff and cramped after continuously using their phones.

However, a less well-known but no less serious impact of mobile phone usage would be the stress exerted on the neck.

A 14-year-old girl from Shandong, China is no longer able to straighten her neck as the bone alignment in her upper spine has been deformed, reported New Tang Dynasty Television.

Her neck was reported to be like that of a 50-year-old person’s.

http://health.asiaone.com/health/body-mind/14-year-old-girl-unable-straighten-her-neck-after-excessive-mobile-phone-usage

Enter hospitals alive, exit dead – BN MP jabs deputy minister

Read more:  http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/374943

PARLIAMENT:    A BN lawmaker grilled Deputy Health Minister Dr Hilmi Yahya over hospital equipment and lack of specialist doctors, claiming that in remote areas in Sarawak, those who go to hospitals end up dead.

“In government hospitals, if an equipment breaks down, it is not a matter of how many days (to fix it) but months.

“In Bintulu, if patients want to meet specialists, they have to wait for months (too).

“In Sarawak’s remote areas, people walk in to the hospitals, but leave on a trolley. They are gone (dead),” said Tiong King Sing (BN-Bintulu).

He had initially asked how much the Health Ministry was spending to improve the infrastructure of rural hospitals, as well as the reasons why hospital equipment were not well maintained.

In his reply, Hilmi said the ministry was facing challenges with their equipment because it was often old or in need of maintenance.

On the upside, Hilmi said that in 2016, the uptime for hospital equipment was at 98 percent, with some exceptions where spare parts had to be procured from overseas.

He added that the Health Ministry was constantly monitoring the maintenance of hospital equipment to ensure that it is done properly and quickly.

As for specialists, Hilmi said the Bintulu hospital had 10 such doctors.

Tiong, however, disputed this.

“This answer is wrong. There are no specialists in Bintulu. All the experts go to Kuching or Sibu, don’t ‘kong kali kong’ (say empty words) again,” he said.

Tiong also rubbished Hilmi’s answers on equipment maintenance and drew parallels between the low quality of maintenance and the state of the newly re-opened and renovated parliament building.

“This House is new, but if we step on the carpet too much, the carpet fuzz comes out,” he said, describing it in Malay as “kalau kita pijak lebih-lebih di karpet sana, dia keluar bulu, bulu-bulu keluar.”

“This is not quality, this is low quality and hospitals are the same,” he added.

His comments about carpet fuzz confused deputy speaker Ismail Mohammad Said at first, who said he did not hear the remarks properly.

This provided Tiong with another chance to take a swipe.

“This is the problem with our sound system, when the mouth is near (the microphone) you can (hear what is said) but if you are far then you can’t hear,” he added.

 

 

Many housemen get culture shock

PETALING JAYA: Many housemen serving in government hospitals are ill prepared for the harsh realities of the job, according to a senior government doctor.

“They get a culture shock,” he told FMT, adding that this was especially true of those trained overseas.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, he said the interns didn’t realise, until they joined the service, that they would have to work long hours and to be at the bottom of the food chain, which would mean taking instructions even from nurses.

“Some come in thinking they will have a nice air-conditioned office, that they don’t have to run around and do certain things because those are nurses’ jobs,” he said.

“There are even some who can’t stand the sight of blood.

“There are also those who are just going through the motions to complete the housemanship. They don’t have the passion to become a doctor.”

Chief Secretary to the Government Ali Hamsa recently disclosed that housemen made up the highest number of civil servants served with termination notices. He said their inability to deal with the pressures of working in a public hospital caused many of them to disappear from work for days, at times hundreds of days.

Speaking of the long working hours for interns, the senior doctor said this was necessary because their large numbers meant that they tended to get less exposure to a doctor’s duties.

“If they want exposure and experience, they have to work long hours,” he said. “But this is a journey a houseman must go through. Doctors make life and death decisions and you must have the knowledge and experience to make those calls.”

He agreed with Ali that interns who couldn’t cope with the pressure would go absent. Because of this, he said, it was good that the government now employed some housemen as contract workers.

Last year, Prime Minister Najib Razak announced that from December 2016, some 2,600 medical graduates who couldn’t find placement as interns could work at government hospitals on contract.

A news report in 2014 said about 7,000 students graduated as doctors annually from more than 300 locally and internationally recognised universities but only 5,000 housemanship slots were available each year.

Another doctor who declined to be named agreed that many housemen suffered a culture shock, but he said most of those he had come across could adapt.

“From what I have seen, the problem is isolated,” he said. “I’ve yet to see a houseman being sacked for discipline problems.

“Of course you will have some with an attitude problem. Essentially, housemen are interns and with interns in all industries, you’re going to get some bad interns. But most of those I’ve met are okay.”

 

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2017/02/16/many-housemen-get-culture-shock/

 

End of the road for 65-year-old traditional Chinese medicated tea stall

GEORGE TOWN, Feb 16 ― Back in 1953, a young couple started selling Chinese medicated tea from a pushcart stall along Cintra Street.

Chan So Han and her husband, Lim Ah Kong, did that for 38 years before the latter died in 1991, leaving Chan to fend for herself and their eight children.

Chan almost wanted to give up the stall but she thought of the four younger children who were still studying and needed her support.

“One had just started studying in Universiti Sains Malaysia, another was halfway through his course in university so I had to continue selling medicated tea,” she said.

With the help of her second and fourth daughters, she continued to operate the roadside stall at Cintra Street before finally opening Shong Hor Hin Medicated Tea at a shophouse along Kimberley Street.

“We opened the shop in 1995 so finally we didn’t have to be subjected to weather conditions,” the 85-year-old said.

One of her daughters continued to operate the roadside stall until she closed it a few years ago.

Chan said she would not have been able to continue without the support of her family: her father Chan Swee Foo who taught her the recipes for her medicated teas, her mother who babysat all her eight children over the years and her grandmother who helped her boil the tea.

Swee Foo was a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner who imported herbs from China and sold Chinese medicines and herbs.

“Operating this stall was hard labour with barely enough rest in between operation hours,” Chan said.

Even when her husband was still alive, they woke up at 6am to start preparing the ingredients for the teas and boiling them in large pots.

“The foo cha takes five hours to boil so we have to start preparing really early,” she said.

The foo cha (which is Cantonese for bitter tea) is known as kor teh in Hokkien. She also had to prepare the tek chia (bamboo cane tea) and kek hwa teh (chrysanthemum tea).

“Our stall opens till late, usually 1am, and when we push the stall back, we have to clean and wash everything before going to sleep and then after after a few hours, the day starts again,” she said.

It is much easier at the shop as she no longer has to push the cart back but the work involved remains the same although in the last two decades, her daughters helped her in most of the operations.

Saying goodbye

It was not an easy decision for Chan to call it quits especially when she had kept the business going for 65 years.

“My children and grandchildren kept telling me to close it down as they felt it was time I retire and rest instead of working so hard each day preparing the ingredients and the teas,” she said.

The oldest of her children is 63 years old, and her two daughters who had always helped her in the business also wanted to retire.

“They both needed to rest, they’ve helped me since small, they’d come back from school, eat, finish their homework and automatically help me at the stall,” she said. Both are already in their 60s and 50s now.

“I am old. I am 85 years old, I can’t keep going on like this, what if I fall down? Although it breaks my heart to close a business that I spent almost my whole life doing, I have no choice.

“As with everything in life, there must be an ending and this is the end of the road for the shop. I started it with my husband so now it is up to me to close it and say goodbye,” she said.

The shop closed on January 26 and to “protect” her regular customers’ feelings, instead of a notice of closure, she put up a “temporary closure” notice at the entrance.

“I don’t want my customers to celebrate Chinese New Year with such bad news so I termed it as temporary closure. This is so that they will think we are only taking some time off to rest,” she said when met at the shophouse along Kimberley Street.

Even as she tells us stories of her medicated tea stall at the shophouse, some regular customers saw the open doorway and stepped in to ask her when she would open again.

Each time she turned them away gently, telling them she needed to take a break and that she doesn’t know when the shop will open again. Each time she thanked them profusely for their support.

“You know the most heartbreaking thing about closing this shop are my regular customers. They have been with us for so many years, they keep coming back and supporting us, I feel so sad to let them down this way,” she said.

Chan has 18 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren but none of her grandchildren are interested in taking over the business.

“All of them have their own careers, I think each month, they probably earn more than what I earn each year from this shop,” she said.

She added that they have all seen how much work and the hours she put in each day for the shop and were not interested in it.

As with most traditional trades within George Town where businesses are operated on the ground floor while the owners live upstairs, Chan still lives on the first floor of the shophouse and will continue living there with one of her sons.

“All my pots and kettles I used are still here, I have yet to dispose of them, we will see what to do with these later. For now, I rest and truly retire after so many years,” she said.

The Shong Hor Hin Medicated Tea stall was one of the traditional trades in George Town that make up the living heritage of the Unesco heritage site.

It is one of many such trades that are slowly giving way to urbanisation and simply, a lack of interest among the younger generation to carry on.

 

– See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/end-of-the-road-for-65-year-old-traditional-chinese-medicated-tea-stal#sthash.Zfs8qDWo.dpuf

What do you want to be when you grow old?

No country for old men: Japan’s elderly inmates prefer jail

TOKYO, Jan 15 — Every day is the same. He wakes at 6:45 am, eats breakfast 20 minutes later and reports for work at eight o’clock sharp. But this isn’t your typical Japanese salaryman.

  • This man is in his 80s and he is in prison — he is hesitant to ever leave. “I don’t know what kind of life I should lead after I get out. I’ll be worried about my health and financial situation once I leave,” the inmate told AFP from Tokyo’s Fuchu Prison, where he is serving time for attempted theft.
  • His case is not unique: Japan is in the midst of a geriatric crime wave such that its prisons increasingly look like nursing homes.
  • In 2015, almost 20 per cent of those who were either arrested or interrogated by police were aged 65 or older — up from 5.8 per cent in 2000, according to the National Police Agency.
  • Most are imprisoned for petty crime such as shoplifting and theft.
  • The rise in senior crime is attributed to increased economic hardship, an ageing population, and pure greed, according to a 2013 report by the National Police Agency.
  • “It’s a problem that the work of prison officers is becoming more like nursing care,” Officers at Fuchu, Japan’s biggest male-only correctional house, have to change diapers for some prisoners and help them bathe.
  • “Older prisoners sometimes are hard of hearing,” Nishioka said. “They don’t understand instructions and they have to go to the toilet often. It’s tough. We’ll need more officers.”
  • Life is monotonous, and naturally restricted, yet many prefer this predictable regimen where they have shelter, food, and medical care, to life on the outside.
  • “At least (in prison) they have a roof over their head and guaranteed meals,” says Tina Maschi, associate professor at Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service.
  • “They don’t have to worry about day-to-day things inside prison,” she said.

See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/features/article/no-country-for-old-men-japans-elderly-inmates-prefer-jail#sthash.sZq5wZxD.dpuf

Why do we ignore the elderly?

JANUARY 15 — In 2014, 126 seniors aged 60 and above killed themselves. This is a jump of nearly 60 per cent from the 79 seniors who committed suicide in 2000. There were 95 of them in 2010 as reported by The Straits Times.

  • In wealthy, shiny Singapore, it is easy to not think about things like elderly suicide and it is also easy to push it to the state.
  • It is not necessarily a lack of access to medical care or basic necessities — things that one can ordinarily and reasonably argue is the onus of the state — but rather it is social isolation that is proving to be the major issue.
  • The women and men who raised us feel alone and you can’t legislate for loneliness.
  • A friend wrote yesterday to grieve his grandmother’s recent passing and his one recurring thought was remorse — he fervently regretted all the evenings he returned home from work and walked right past the room of the woman who had loved him all his life and right to the TV.
  • Today, weeks after her death he finds walking past that empty room wrenching.
  • Is it so easy to forget we too will get old?

See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/opinion/surekha-a-yadav/article/why-do-we-ignore-the-elderly#sthash.cXUDS8jg.dpuf

China passes law to boost traditional medicine

BEIJING, Dec 27 — China passed a law at its top legislature on Sunday demonstrating its intention to put greater emphasis on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in its healthcare system. The law, which will come into effect on July 1, 2017, will improve patient access to a wider range of healthcare.

This ancient form of medicine has been somewhat neglected since the introduction of Western medicine under the Qing dynasty (1644-1912). Over 2,000 years old, Traditional Chinese Medicine covers five main areas: acupuncture, qigong (exercise), massage, plants and minerals, and dietary therapy.

Unlike Western doctors, practitioners learn the techniques of TCM from a ‘master’ instead of studying the discipline at university.

According to a white paper published by China’s State Council Information Office in December 2016, there are 3,966 TCM hospitals and 42,528 TCM clinics in China, employing around 452,000 practitioners. These hospitals and clinics undertake an average of 910 million consultations per year.

Development of traditional medicine in hospitals

The new law aims to protect and facilitate the development of TCM, requiring regional governments to set up TCM institutions in public-funded general hospitals and mother-and-child care centres.

In addition, practitioners will be able to take exams to obtain a licence allowing them to practise TCM in hospitals or clinics, or to work privately. Up until now, these practitioners could not qualify as doctors, as medical training prioritizes Western medicine and fluency in English.

The new law also stipulates that TCM and Western medicine will be put on an equal footing, with better training of TCM practitioners and monitoring of the use of products containing pesticides.

International exchanges and global cooperation to develop TCM are to be stepped up.

In October 2015, Tu Youyou was the first Chinese person to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine, for her work on a traditional anti-malaria medicine. The award of this prestigious prize to a member of the Academy of Chinese Traditional Medical Sciences was met with some surprise.

According to the World Health Organisation, 103 member states approved the practise of acupuncture and moxibustion (a traditional therapy which consists of burning dried mugwort on particular points on the body), 29 have passed laws on traditional medicine, and 18 have included acupuncture and moxibustion in their medical insurance provisions. —AFP-Relaxnews

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/features/article/china-passes-law-to-boost-traditional-medicine