Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Scholarships for postgraduate medicine courses

The government has decided to double the number of scholarships for postgraduate medicine courses, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.Disclosing this yesterday, he said the initiative was part of the government’s long term measure to produce more specialist doctors towards uplifting health services in the country.From this year, the number of scholarships for postgraduate medicine courses had been doubled from 400 to 800, he said when he officially launched the Health Carnival at the hospital here yesterday.

According to him, the shortage of medical officers or doctors was no longer a major problem these days as the country had been able to produce between 3,500 and 4,000 doctors annually, adding that most of the doctors graduated from local universities.With a steady increase in the number of doctors, he believed by 2015 the country would achieve a doctor to population ratio of 1:600 which will be improved to 1:400 by 2020.In the case ofSarawak, doctor to population ration stood at 1: 2,000, he disclosed, assuring that the situation would be accorded due consideration to make it on par with the Peninsular states.Though the country’s standard of health services had been acknowledged as among the world’s best, the Barisan Nasional (BN) government had kept on striving to improve medical services to a higher level, he said, stressing that focus would be directed at training more specialist doctors in order to achieve the target.

As for now, he said the government had to engage foreign specialist doctors as a temporary measure.He said another initiative adopted by the BN government to extend specialist doctors’ services to the rural folks was to reduce the minimum attachment period in rural hospitals to six months from 12 months previously.Believing that the shortened attachment period was acceptable to the specialist doctors, he said this would allow more rural hospitals to enjoy high quality health care.On top of that, the government offered various incentives to motivate the medical officers and staff to give their utmost in extending quality services to the people, Liow said, citing better promotional opportunities, allowances and study scholarships as among them.

On the two-week health carnival which started last Monday, Liow said its main objective was basically to extend health services to the rural areas.He said some 285 cases had been identified to undergo surgery by a team of specialist doctors/surgeons specially flown from Peninsular Malaysia.Among the elective surgeries are Hernia (Inguinal, Oincisional, Umbilical); breast (Fibroadenoma, Ca Breast); thyroid (Ca thyroid, MNG or Hemithyroidectomy); Gall Bladder (Cholecystectomy); Cataract Operation and OGDS and Colonoscopy.During the function, Liow also launched the `Ubat Melalui Pos 1Malaysia’ service.Among those present were Assistant Minister of Public Health Dr Jerip Susil, Sarikei MP Ding Kuong Hiing, deputy director-general of Health Dr Nor Hisham Abdullah, state health director Dr Zulkifli Jantan, Sarikei Resident Michael Dawi Alli, divisional health officer Dr Hasrina Hassan andSarikeiHospitaldirector Dr Tey Siew Chang.

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