01 Jun 2005

Berita Akademi - June 2005

Table of Contents

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Message from the Master
Professor Dato' Dr Mrs S.T.Kew

It has been two years and eight months since I assumed office as the Master of the Academy of Medicine. Once again I am thankful to the many people who have helped and supported me in discharging my duties – colleagues in the AMM council and in the colleges, AMM staff, and many significant others.


National Specialist Register

We are still working towards the National Specialist Register. We need the support of all medical specialist organizations and groups in helping to define the criteria for training and credentialing. We need to be united in this endeavor, and go by only one set of criteria. Obviously we need the blessings from the Malaysian Medical Council and the Ministry of Health Malaysia in putting the process in place. We also need doctors on the ground and the public to understand the reasons for having a National Specialist Register: that doctors designated as specialists are appropriately trained and fully competent to practise the expected higher level of care in the chosen specialty. The National Specialist Register is in fact an exercise in self-regulation by the profession, having the interest and safety of the public at heart. Through the National Specialist Register, the profession will strive to maintain and safeguard the high standards of specialist practice in this country.


Professionalism

As a profession, by and large, we still enjoy the trust and confidence of the public in this country. We need to learn lessons how this trust can be weakened. In the recent past, there were widely publicized medical misdeeds, e.g. the tragedy in paediatric cardiac surgery in Bristol, and the serial killings of Dr Harold Shipman. However, the General Medical Council and the British Medical Royal Colleges have done much and are making good progress in regaining that public trust. As a professional organization representing the medical specialties in this country, we need to spell out our commitment to professionalism and ethics. We need to sustain and build on the public trust we still enjoy in order to continue to self-regulate. To this end, we need to ensure the ethical integrity of individual practitioners and that of the whole profession.

Our sister Medical Colleges and Academies in Europe and America have addressed this important issue of professionalism. There was very broad international collaboration and cooperation on this Professionalism Project. Two key consultants, Dr Richard and Sylvia Cruess of McGill University in Canada, developed the document titled "Physician's Professional Charter". The core concept in this Charter is “professionalism is the basis of medicine’s contract with society”. This social contract is based on three fundamental principles: namely primacy of patient welfare, patient autonomy and social justice. We have had several national ethics conferences in the past few years, result of collaboration between Ministry of Health and Academy of Medicine. We have discussed some of the issues arising from these three fundamental principles. Perhaps we need to endorse and adopt the "Physician’s Professional Charter" in a more formal manner, and be more explicit in our commitment to professionalism and medical ethics. We as the Academy have an important role in enhancing the standard and quality of health care through education and continual professional development of our members and fellows. We also have a role in postgraduate and higher specialist training, in ensuring that the trainees acquire not only knowledge and skills, but also other competencies like professionalism.


History Of Medicine

Just over a decade ago, a group of senior members of the Academy, headed by Datuk Dr G A Sreenevasan, undertook the "History of Medicine in Malaysia" project. The late Mr Desmond Tate, a noted historian, was given the job. Mr Tate worked hard to gather the needed information and material, and managed to have the manuscript up to World War Two. His untimely demise in January 2004 left the work unfinished. We were fortunate, through the effort of Datuk Sreenevasan and his group, to secure the service of another noted historian Prof Emeritus Dato’ Khoo Kay Kim to continue the book. I am happy to report that the final draft has now been submitted to the Academy for publication. We intend to launch this book "History of Medicine – the Foundation Years" at the time of 6th Ministry of Health – Academy of Medicine Joint Scientific Meeting in September this year.

I would highly recommend this book to the Academy members and fellows. It makes interesting and fascinating reading. Publication of this book is also timely: this year we celebrate the 100 years of medical education in this country and in Singapore. In June 1905, the Straits Legislative Council in Singapore passed the enabling legislation to establish the Medical School. The School started to function the following month, and was officially opened by Sir John Anderson, the then Governor of the Straits Settlements, on 28 September 1905. It was named “The Straits and Federated Malay States Government Medical School”, and had 23 students in its first intake. In 1912, the name was changed to "King Edward VII School of Medicine". It was only in 1920 that it became "King Edward VII College of Medicine".

So it was in 1905 that medical education started in Singapore and Malaysia. We have since evolved into two independent countries, and the University of Malaya in Singapore has evolved into the University of Malaya and the University of Singapore, now the National University of Singapore. Both universities have their respective Faculty of Medicine. The 39th Singapore Malaysia Congress of Medicine, to be held 30 June – 3 July this year, will see the two sister Academies taking part in this medical centennial celebration.

Just four years before, we celebrated the centenary of another pivotal medical institution: the Institute for Medical Research. It was in 1901 that IMR was founded here in Kuala Lumpur. Interestingly the original name was Pathological Institute. It was renamed Institute for Medical Research in the following year. It remained today at the site of the original IMR. The Medical School and the Institute for Medical Research were the two important institutions in the evolution and development of modern medical and health services in this country.

At that time, "the general conditions of health were abysmally low, and the existing medical and health services designed to cope with them hopelessly inadequate. How low and how inadequate is starkly reflected in the exorbitant death rates of the period, in the prevalence of periodical epidemics and the presence of other contagious and endemic diseases, in the primitive sanitation and overcrowded, squalid tenements of the towns, in the shameful living conditions under which labourers on the tin-mines and plantations toiled, and in the almost total lack of medical facilities in the rural areas". At that time, our forefathers were fighting the main five scourges: cholera, smallpox, beri-beri, plague and malaria. The book has detailed and fascinating accounts of how these diseases came to afflict the population, and the enormous efforts in containing them. The present generation of doctors has never seen smallpox, beri-beri or plague, diseases which were very prevalent in the earlier part of 19th century.

We have since come a long way. There has been tremendous progress in improving the health status of our people, as reflected in the improvements of various health indicators since we achieved independence. Obviously the advances in science and technology were the reason behind this progress. More importantly we have been blessed with far-sighted leadership who had worked hard to improve the lot of all our people, be it at the political, Ministry of Health or at the professional level. It is now our turn to carry the baton, and to continue to build on the good health care system we have in this country.

Once again I would like to urge fellows and members of the Academy to contribute in whatever way you can, either by donating to the Academy Education and Development Fund, or by attending meetings and conferences organized by the Academy, or by offering your advice and service by sitting in the various committees. It is your enthusiasm and your support that will make the Academy of Medicine an organization that we all can be proud of.


References:

  1. D Irvine. 17th Gordon Arthur Ransome Oration:
    Patient-centred professionalism.
    Ann Acad Med Singapore 2004;33:680-685.
  2. JWD McDonald. 2004 Runme Shaw Memorial
    Lecture: Professionalism – a concept in need of nurturing.
    Ann Acad Med Singapore 2004;33:686-696.
  3. D Tate, KK Khoo, S Gabriel. Personal communication.

 

 


 

Academy Education and Development Fund
Fund Raising Dinner - 30 April 2005

Report by Professor Dato' Khalid Abdul Kadir
Chairman, Academy Education and Development Fund

Saturday evening 30 April was almost a non-event and almost had to be postponed. The guests of honour who were to receive the honorary fellowship of the Academy of Medicine of Malaysia were being enticed to attend a very important wedding of one of the sons of the late Prime Minister, Tun Abdul Razak that 30 April evening. All the Royalties and Ministers were going to that Wedding. What would be the repercussions if they were not seen at that wedding?

But the honourable Tun Dr Mahathir Bin Mohamad and Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Binte Mohamad Ali were adamant that they would keep to their promise to attend the Academy Education and Development Fund Dinner at the Sunway Lagoon Resort Hotel. This was indeed a great honour for us in the Academy and for those who were to receive their fellowship scrolls and to those who attended the dinner. The presence of the two great members of the medical fraternity ensured the success of the dinner.

Tan Sri Dato' Dr Abu Bakar Suleiman read the citation on Tun Dr Mahathir whilst Dato' Seri Dr Ruby Majeed read the citation on Tun Dr Siti Hasmah.

Tun Dr Mahathir receiving
the Honorary Fellowship scroll
from the Master of the Academy
of Medicine of Malaysia.
The Master of the
Academy of Medicine of
Malaysia congratulating
Tun Dr Siti Hasmah.

The two Tuns were visibly moved by the citation and the honour bestowed on them by their own fraternity.

Old friends and college mates of the two Tuns came in droves to the dinner and gave monetary and moral support.

Younger members and fellows as well as non-members of the Academy also lend their support. The dinner was also supported by many companies which bought tables and in some cases invited other doctors to attend. Philanthropists including representative of Tan Sri Dato' Sri Dr Teh Hong Piow of Public Bank Berhad came with a RM150,000 cheque in addition to his earlier donation of RM50,000.

Tan Sri Thong Yaw Hong representing Public Bank Berhad.

 

Dato' Dr Alex Mathews representing the T J Danaraj Memorial
Fund, making the presentation.

Not to be out done, our own Dato' Dr Khoo Kah Lin and Dato' Dr Mahmood Merican each donated RM100,000.

Dato' Dr Khoo Kah Lin presenting a mock cheque to Tun Dr Mahathir.

 

Dato' Dr Mahmood Merican donated RM100,000.

The fund Raising Dinner turned out to be the Medical Social Event of the year, even though it costs RM2000 per table or RM200 per person!!

There were more than 110 tables sold and the great ballroom was full to the brim.

The Council of the Academy of Medicine of Malaysia took the opportunity to award the inaugural Academy of Medicine of Malaysia – Tun Dr Mahathir Meritious Award. This award is given to an Academy member as an honour and acknowledgement of his/her contribution to the advancement of the objectives of the Academy. Datuk Dr G A Sreenevasan is the recipient of the inaugural award.

Datuk Dr G A Sreenevasan receiving the Award from Tun Dr Mahathir.

The Dinner raised RM2.24 million, with a nett profit of RM1.8 million, enough to get the Academy Building on a good footing, as we had initally targetted RM1.0 million only.

Of course the fact that there was a lucky draw with a Mercedes Benz C180 Kompressor as first prize, Proton Gen 2 as second, Perodua Kelisa as third and Perodua Kancil as fourth prize was also instrumental in garning support for the dinner. On top of that, I am sure many also donated for a good cause, that is, to contribute t o w a rds getting our own Academies of Medicines Building which will be the focus of our continuing medical education and continuing professional development activities. All contributors shall have their names forever etched on relevant plaques to be placed in the Building for generations to see. Members and the public are still welcomed to donate to the Fund. Please note that all donations are tax-exempt.

The highlight of the evening, apart from the Conferment of the Fellowships to the two Tuns and our new fellows, was of course the lucky draw. The organizers had initially been promised help from Sports Toto for doing the lucky draw. Unfortunately, they had to be involved in their own draw that evening and had to be on stand-by. Thus the organizers came up with ping pong balls suitably numbered and placed prize jars provided by me, whilst the Secretariat came up with their own version of displaying the numbers and names of the number holders as they were being drawn; that made it even more exciting.

The eventual lucky winner of the Mercedes Benz C180K was Dr Ng Cheng Huat of Klang, a last minute purchaser of 10 tickets for RM10,000. Dr Ng and his financial advisor (his wife) received the mock keys from Tun Dr Mahathir.

Dr Ng Cheng Huat, the winner of the grand prize
with Tun Dr Mahathir and Mrs Ng.

The other lucky winners of the cars were as listed.

  • Proton Gen 2, Diethelm Malaysia Sdn Bhd
  • Perodua Kelisa, Encik Mohd Noor bin Mohd Jamil (AmMerchant Bank Berhad)
  • Perodua Kancil, Dato' Dr Khoo Kah Lin

All in all, everyone enjoyed themselves at the end of the evening, and droves of admirers clung round the two Tuns for pictures and to shake their hands. We are ever grateful to Tun Dr Mahathir and Tun Dr Siti Hasmah for their support without which the dinner that evening would not have been such a great success.

 


 

Contributions to the Academy Education and Development Fund
(as on 30 June 2005)


39th Singapore-Malaysia Congress of Medicine
30 June - 3 July 2005

Address by Professor Dato' Dr Mrs S T Kew
President of the Congress and Master, Academy of Medicine of Malaysia
at the Opening Ceremony on 30 June 2005

As the President of the Congress, it is my honour and pleasant duty, on behalf of the Council of the Academy of Medicine, Singapore and the Council of the Academy of Medicine of Malaysia, to warmly welcome you to this 39th Singapore-Malaysia Congress of Medicine.

We are honoured and privileged to have the gracious presence of the Honourable Mr Khaw Boon Wan, Minister for Health, Singapore. We are also honoured and pleased to have with us the Presidents and representatives of sister Colleges from different parts of the world. I would like to specially welcome and thank them for being here with us in this Congress.

For over four decades, the Academy of Medicine, Singapore and Academy of Medicine of Malaysia, the two sister Academies, have maintained and nurtured close links. We have continued the tradition of holding these annual Congresses on alternate years, with the exception of this 39th Congress. For two consecutive years, 2004 and 2005, the Academy of Medicine, Singapore has played host, and for good reason. This year is special, as it marks the 100 years' of medical education in both countries.

It is interesting to note that the Straits Legislative Council in Singapore passed the enabling legislation to establish the Medical School in June 1905 (Ordinance No.XV of 1905). The School started to function in July, and was officially opened by Sir John Anderson, the then Governor of the Straits Settlements, on 28 September 1905. It was named "The Straits and Federated Malay States Government Medical School", and had 23 students in its first intake. In 1912, the name was changed to "King Edward VII School of Medicine". It was only in 1920 that it became "King Edward VII College of Medicine".

This was indeed the beginning of medical education for both countries. We have since evolved into two independent countries, and the University of Malaya in Singapore has evolved into the University of Malaya and the University of Singapore, now the National University of Singapore . Both universities have their respective Faculty of Medicine. The Academy of Medicine, Singapore and Academy of Medicine of Malaysia are delighted to be part of this medical centennial celebration.

Just five years before, we celebrated the centenary of another pivotal medical institution: the Institute for Medical Research. It was in 1900 that the Institute for Medical Research (IMR) was founded in Kuala Lumpur. Interestingly the original name was Pathological Institute. It was renamed Institute for Medical Research two years later. It remained today at the site of the original IMR, and the name of the Institute remained as Institute for Medical Research. The Government Medical School and the Institute for Medical Research were the two important institutions in the evolution and development of modern medical and health services in both countries.

At that time, to quote the late Desmond Tate and Prof Dato' Khoo Kay Kim in their manuscript on History of Medicine – the Foundation Years "the general conditions of health were abysmally low, and the existing medical and health services hopelessly inadequate". At that time, our forefathers were fighting the main five scourges: cholera, smallpox, beri-beri, plague and malaria.

We have since come a long way. There has been tremendous progress in improving the health status of our people, as reflected in the improvements of various health indicators in both countries. Obviously the advances in science and technology were the basis for this progress. More importantly both countries have been blessed with far-sighted leadership who had worked hard to improve the lot of the people, be it at the political, Ministry of Health or at the professional level.

Indeed we have come a long way, since 100 years ago. The disease pattern has changed, the demography has changed, the socio-economic status has changed: we now have cancers, diabetes, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, degenerative diseases, motor vehicle accidents, new and re-emerging infections as our main scourges. We also have to contend with ever increasing public expectations, and ever escalating health care cost. It is now our turn to carry the baton, to continue to build on what we already have, and tackle the present scourges. The two Academies will continue to play their roles in medical education and training, in promoting professionalism and medical ethics, as well as in maintaining and enhancing the standards of health care in our respective countries.

The Organizing Committee of this Congress, headed by Assoc Prof Tan Kok Chai, ably assisted by Assoc Prof Chia Sin Eng and Assoc Prof Quak Seng Hock, has worked hard over the last year to put together an enriching and stimulating scientific programme. Among the highlights are named lectures to be delivered by very eminent and distinguished speakers. We sincerely thank the organizing committee for what promises to be an exciting and memorable meeting.

I understand that we have alumni from different vintages who have organized their respective re-unions at this centennial celebration. This is indeed an auspicious occasion. Besides enriching ourselves intellectually and professionally, many of us look forward to meeting friends and colleagues from both sides of the causeway and from a b road. May I wish you an enjoyable and rewarding Congress!