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President Message February 2016 - Overcoming Challenges Together in 2016

28 March 2016

From the President 

Overcoming Challenges Together in 2016

Happy New Year! Let me begin by wishing you a Happy and Prosperous New Year.

Let us leap into 2016 and continue our role advocating for the right to health of children we serve, in line with MPA’s motto- “Working for Children: The Nation’s Future”.

We have a responsibility to play advocacy roles required to ensure that our health systems are strengthened to achieve universal health coverage in line with the Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) strategies by United Nations.

Challenging times in Ministry of Health (MOH)

The recent budget cut in MOH would inevitably result in further cuts in health expenditure. One must be judicious in using the existing fund to avoid unnecessary wastage in particular, extraneous routine investigations, without compromising patient care.

Despite these hindrances, let us face the predicament and move forward to perform at our highest ability to prevent illness, treat children to the best of our ability, reduce morbidity and prevent mortality.

Ethical practice

The basic principles of medical ethics should be observed. In paediatrics it is unique. Unlike in adult medicine where it is a physician-patient relationship; in paediatrics it is the paediatrician patient-parent relationship. Medical decisions are made best with the rights and obligations of each of these individuals kept in mind as well as an understanding of widely accepted principles of medical ethics. We must observe the rights of parents, children, and adolescents in our medical decision-making. 

Social media is not making it easier for us. We often encounter social media displaying pictures of children which is clearly against Malaysian Child Act. We should be aware and alert the authorities to put a stop to this.

Perhaps we ourselves should be cautious when commenting about our patients in social media…

Child safety and maltreatment

Accidental injuries and drowning still top significant lives lost. We have and are still losing young children to preventable injuries. Children are drowning. As what was mentioned by a senior colleague of ours, there is at least 1 child dying of drowning every day in our country. That is the sad truth…

Let us ramp up out effort to educate parents on child safety issues opportunistically during every contact with parents during our daily practice. Give out anticipatory guidance.

The country (still) needs more paediatricians

We need more paediatricians to serve the children & adolescents of Malaysia. MOH has introduced parallel pathways to facilitate MOs to take up various specialty.

The word ‘doctor’ though refers to a physician; it is derived from the Latin docere, “to teach”. Doctors are obliged to contribute to education and training of junior doctors.

As paediatricians, perhaps we could encourage our juniors to take up paediatrics as their specialty. We could create a conducive environment in the department to sow the seed of interest and guide them to reach their goal of becoming a paediatrician. We must try to inspire them. Try to be good role models. We should drown our ego and practise with humility.

Paediatricians amongst us had teachers who guided us in the past. It’s payback time for us to train others to become paediatricians. The career cycle does not complete till you ‘create’ another paediatrician under your guide. It is reassuring to see there are many doing so. However we need more…

Let us be as selfless as possible in our daily duties. Be it through MRCPCH or Masters Programmes. It is also my wish that children get the best service available…

I have learned that the inherent drive and dedication of the paediatric fraternity comes from a history of nurturing by our senior paediatricians, and I extend my special thanks to them; some of whom will be retiring this year. They are a group with exceptional aptitude and sense of service. I believe retirement would not stop these exceptional characters from continuing to serve MPA and the children of our children in many other ways.

Measles vaccine changes

Recently Ministry of Health made some changes to our measles immunisation schedule. You could refer to the circular by the Director General of Health for further details (Ref: KKM 600-1/2/3(10) dated 17 December 2015) or refer to page 7 of this issue of BMPA.

Vaping – the lesser evil?

In the past 3 months, the media is abuzz with the Vape controversy. It has taken the social media by storm. There have been meetings and extensive debates between the anti vapers vs vapers. We already have one evil in the form of tobacco smoking which contributes to a myriad of childhood respiratory illnesses. It has become almost impossible to rid of smoking. However it is reassuring that MOH has taken a firm stand on this. i.e vaping is not safe and in fact injurious to health. Though it seems impossible for total ban, it is hoped that the sale will be regulated efficiently. A few states have also banned vape.

Free access to on-line journals

As promised this, by now members would have received notification from MPA secretariat regarding the details on accessing this online web.

Reaching out

Once again I want to reiterate that MPA encourages members, new as well as seasoned to share their views, experience or expertise as volunteers to carry out MPA activities. All MPA need is at least 1 or more paediatricians or paediatric medical officers in every state to spend a few valuable hours a month to make a difference at ground level to promote child health in their respective states. Believe me; once you start you will see how you have inspired many more to follow suit and your “goodness” multiplies. Just like the Pied Piper of Hamelin (Not rats though!) Start volunteering and you will experience immense satisfaction looking at the outcome. The only side effect is, it may become a habit which is of course a good blessing. So, please volunteer. Your assistance is greatly valued.

38th MPA congress

Our next congress themed “Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition” will be held in Holiday Inn Malacca from 3-6th August 2016. Though we had ideas to take it further south to Johor, unfortunately we could not identify a suitable venue. Thus, we settled for the beautiful Heritage City of Malacca. The Scientific Committee is working diligently to bring to our delegates a wide variety of speakers and topics.

Once again I wish you a blessed, successful and healthy 2016.

President 2015-2017

Please click here to download the latest BMPA February 2016 Newsletter.

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