September In A Nutshell

Enough Doctors on the Job?

It seems there are enough, or in fact, more doctors than are needed in many public health centres. Is it really the case? Here’s an opinion letter from “OVERWORKED HEALTHCARE WORKER” published by The Star.

There is no fixed number of patients in a clinic or hospital. To balance an appropriate doctor to patient ratio requires a dynamic and constant evaluation. However, the process of hiring doctors is long and tedious. By the time more posts are created, they do not reflect the current number needed.

Sometimes, we fail to address the issue of staff shortage by playing with figures. For example, 200 positions are required but only 150 are filled. It looks nice to report on paper that there are 150 in the workforce rather than acknowledging the lack of 50 health professionals. Needless to say, it is always better to claim what we have, rather than looking at another point of view.

Besides, finance is also an issue we need to consider. With allocation to the Health Ministry being cut, one can, as stated in the letter, “kiss those new posts goodbye”.

No wonder there are medical officers who still have long on calls. Some even have their leave application rejected because the place they work is overloaded with work! One cannot do much but to sympathise them.

So do we really have enough doctors? Such a dilemma.


Medical certificates...

delivered by Pos Laju

All one needs to do is to buy these medical certificates (MCs) from a syndicate which can be contacted via WhatsApp or Facebook page and they will be delivered to your desired address.

A MC normally costs RM 30 and comes with a tracking code to ensure it is delivered to the exact location the buyer needs.

A Malay Mail reporter ordered 2 MCs which were sent 3 days later. Surprisingly, they came with doctors’ stamp! The differences between the original and fake version are the font and certificate sizes. When approached by the reporter, both the doctors, Dr Amanjit Kaur of Mediviron Subang and Dr Ng Ee Vern of Medijaya Damansara were surprised with the incident.

In response, Health Ministry deputy director-general Datuk Dr S. Jeyaindran said the ministry recommends doctors to include their registration number in their MCs. This allows medical practitioners to protect themselves against those who might continuously take advantage of them. Slowly but steadily, the ministry is pushing for such practice to be made compulsory. MCs submitted by workers should also be checked to ensure they are genuine.

To know more, visit the articles in the Malay Mail Online here and here.


The fight against STDs

131 million people are infected with chlamydia yearly; 78 million with gonorrhoea and 5.6 million with syphilis. Those are figures estimated by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

These diseases are fairly easy to treat where infected patients are given antibiotics. Nevertheless, the fight against these infections has become more complicated with the rise of antibiotic resistance. Among some causes are over-prescription and non adherence by patients.

The consequences – pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility, among others. WHO issues a few guidelines to nib the problem in the bud, from analysing how resistance develops to injecting antibiotic (benzathine penicillin) into the buttock or thigh muscle to reduce syphilis transmission. Condom use is highly recommended during sexual intercourse.

Visit The Star Online for more information.


Painkillers and memory loss

A study led by Dr. David Brough of the University of Manchester revealed that mefenamic acid has a potential to treat memory loss. Mefenamic acid is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) and acts as a painkiller. It is normally used to relieve menstrual pain.

This study involved a group of 20 mice genetically modified to develop Alzhemier’s disease. Once it starts developing, a mini-pump was implanted in each mouse. Half of them received the painkiller drug whilst placebo for the remaining. Interestingly, the former showed a total reversal of memory loss. The mefenamic acid targets the NLRP3 inflmmasome pathway, a pro-inflammatory pathway identified to damage brain cells.

Let’s hope for a successful discovery.The next challenge requires humans as subjects to fully prove its effectiveness. It is currently in the process of submitting applications for early phase II trials.


NHS: New online NHS Service

With NHS aiming to be paperless by 2018, it is taking baby steps by first introducing an online triage service, an expansion of the current NHS 111 non-emergency phone line service. Developed by leading clinicians, this service allows patients to enter symptoms they experience and will receive tailored advice from a health professional. Apart from that, it also offers a wide range of services. Users can book appointments, order prescriptions, access health data and medical records etc.

With this kind of online technology, it is reported in the BBC that 4.4 billion pounds can be put back into the NHS.

NB: 111 is not an emergency number; 999 is.


How many mooncakes have you indulged?

The mid-autumn festival has come to an end. Do you recall how many you consumed?

A test from the Hong Kong government showed 100g of classic lotus paste mooncake with 2 egg yolks contained around a third sugar with 22.3g of fat. For females, an intake of 776 calories is almost half the daily requirement; one third for men. That calorific value is easily obtained by consuming a double-yolk mooncake.

Yes! They are yummy and hard to resist! But please mind what we eat, est we become as round as mooncakes.

The article from Channel News Asia can be found here.


In a nutshell, we have come across an opinion from a working doctor regarding the shortage of workforce in Malaysian public health institutions. Interestingly, purchase of MCs has now become a reality. This practise is totally unacceptable because it encourages an unhealthy working habit and tarnishes doctors’ image whose names are used unknowingly. Hopefully, the culprits are caught under the long arm of the law.

Nevertheless, over in the UK, we are seeing an enhanced NHS service which increases its efficiency.

The development of bacterial antibiotic resistance is a worrying issue, demonstrated by the fight against STDs. Nevertheless, on the other side of medical advancement, we will soon be witnessing the possible use of painkiller to treat Alzhemier’s.

Visit MMI UK Facebook page for more articles. Wait, are you eating mooncakes while reading this?