Thursday, Jun 29th

Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Sunday, 19 March 2017 14:02

Social and Environment

Written by  Joyce Ng Kim Lean & Eileen Tan / KL & Selangor

The breakout session on “Social and Environment” covered the topics of infectious diseases, and community and environmental responsibility. [Photograph by Aw Lee Ching]

The breakout session on “Social and Environment” on the last day of the 2017 TIMA Conference covered the topics of infectious diseases, and community and environmental responsibility.


 
Dr Yasmin Mohamed Gani, Consultant Physician in infectious diseases from Hospital Sungai Buloh, elaborated with a clear outline the worrying trend and latest information on treatment, care and support for patients who have MERS, coronavirus impact, H1N1, measles, dengue, malaria, Lyme and other fatal diseases.
 
She stated that too often, patients living with H1N1 and H5N1 infections felt like they were stigmatized. Necessary steps must be taken to create awareness with emphasis on prevention; and to provide interactive platforms to express comprehensive assessment and follow-up care. Furthermore, there is a need to look into some vital measures, such as, lifestyle options that will improve mental, physical and emotional well-being.
 
Dr Yasmin also addressed on extreme coronavirus infection, climate sensitivity, and the vectors. Together with catchy infographics, she shared valuable information on the emergency of malaria, vertebrate reservoir, penicillin overdose, dengue serotype, and so forth.
 
Living with HIV
 
Founder and Director of Faith Helping Centre (Malaysia), Michael Chow Shiuh Yun’s inspiring speech started with some wonderful quotes: “Let’s be a blessing to others every day,” “Life is a turning point,” and “Die with dignity.”
 
He further said that people living with HIV have to face the ongoing stigma and discrimination often. Thus, they are sceptical towards self-presence, which is a personal challenge in their life. The patients often struggle to disclose their disease to their beloved families. Therefore, a strong family support and encouragement with love, care and compassion are important to them so that they have the will to carry on with their life with less emotional constraints before death. They are able to be aware of and learn to live with the HIV.
 
Michael was glad to say that Faith Helping Centre was established in 1994 by a group of ex-drug addicts and problematic youths. It is a rehabilitation centre that helps the HIV patients to walk on the right path to gain spiritual faith and empowerment, as well as, to change their lifestyle. He adopts Tzu Chi’s song, “We Are Family” as the rehabilitation centre’s theme song in order to motivate the patients. The song has always had the power of touching and comforting the hearts of the volunteers and patients in the Faith Helping Centre.
 
End-of-life care for AIDS patients
 
Dr Kamarul Azhar bin Mohd Razali, Consultant Paediatrician in infectious diseases with Rumah Solehah, a halfway house run by the Islamic Medical Association of Malaysia (IMAM), explored his educational medical talk on “End-of-life Care for AIDS Patients”, which covered emerging fields of research on anti-AIDS medications.
 
He strongly believes that providing psychological attention to patient alone is insufficient. So, all in all, AIDS patients need to have centric care and encouragement from loved ones. Additionally, Dr Kamarul stated that nuclear enzyme now serves as an emerging field of anti-aging agent to AIDS patients. The defence system of AIDS patients tends to become vulnerable and susceptible to virus attack. Virus is smart as it targets to attack the white blood cells. Virus carry traits which are serious, unexpected and often dangerous. AIDS patients would feel the discord, fear and worry all the time for possible virus attack to their health.
 
Mobile medical outreaches
 
Steven Voon, Executive Director of Tzu Chi Mobile Clinic, Tzu Chi Medical Foundation USA, delivered his speech on the development of Tzu Chi’s mobile clinics operating in California, USA. The services provided include medical, dental, ophthalmology, acupuncture, and so on.
 
The new service started by Tzu Chi is the provision of free prostate cancer screening, thanks to the donation of vehicle by “Zero – the End of Prostate Cancer” in 2016. Tzu Chi Vision Mobile, equipped with two full-examination rooms and machines to produce glasses, was also launched. Steven mentioned that the key to the mobile clinic is quality care, and that Master Cheng Yen has requested that “When patients come to us, they need to be taken care of right away.” Hence, the children are not only given good quality spectacle frames, but they could also get their glasses within 20 minutes after having their eye check-ups. In 2017, the Tzu Chi Vision Mobile will serve children aged four to seven in ten elementary schools in Fresco.
 
Steven highlighted that Tzu Chi always create platforms for other organizations to come together to help and work as a team to offer better services and coverage to the needy. 
 
Recycling: from hospital to community
 
Dr Ng Poh Yin, Head Unit and Consultant Uro-gynaecologist of the Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Hospital Kuala Lumpur, gave a very inspiring sharing on why she started collecting recyclables in the hospital.
 
She recalled that a trip to Tzu Chi Headquarters in Taiwan in 2007 had helped her to find and understand herself. She was moved to see the charitable work carried out by volunteers worldwide and that left her to reflect on what she had not done.
 
Despite her knowledge in recycling, she believed that recycling was the government’s job, not hers; at least not until she visited a recycling centre in Taiwan and witnessed how the elderly volunteers dedicated themselves to safeguard Mother Earth.
 
Quoting the saying, “If the mountain won’t come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain,” she said that since it was difficult for her to make time for the monthly recycling day due to a packed schedule, she started collecting recyclables in the hospital instead. That way, she could also lead the hospital staff to do the same.
 
Despite being named a “garbage collector”, and asked question like, “Are you short of money?” Dr Ng persisted because she said, “We don’t have to wait for a disaster to happen to start protecting the Earth. We can prevent that from happening.”
 
Dr Ng unassumingly shared that as a senior consultant, she was arrogant and her staff were afraid of her as she could blow up at any time like a machine gun. But after joining Tzu Chi and doing recycling at the hospital, she faced a dramatic change and became a humble and grateful person.
 
She called on to the doctors to uphold the humanitarian spirit, treat patients as their families and take care of the patients with gratitude and Great Love.
 
Stroke Support Group
 
Volunteer Koh Puay Eng from TIMA Klang shared with the audience that the Stroke Support Group (SSG) Klang had witnessed the improvements in stroke survivors, who had lived in darkness as recluses to opening up their hearts to others. She also showed a footage where stroke survivors were seen undergoing physiotherapies in the company of TIMA members and Tzu Chi volunteers, using rehabilitation equipment creatively produced from recyclables. Some of the patients are also involved in recycling, taking it as part of their rehabilitation exercises.
 
Choking back tears, she said, “I was so touched when a stroke survivor told me, ‘I feel so useful’. Believe me, I really cried. After they had the stroke, people stayed away from them, but we made them feel loved and helped them redeem their self-worth.” Puay Eng assured the audience that a little contribution from one may change the life of a stroke survivor and his/her family.
 
She then invited stroke survivor Koi Swee Huat and wife, volunteers Murali Dharan a/l Virapan and Tan Guat Sim, to come on stage to share their experiences. Swee Huat was inspired by the team of Tzu Chi recycling volunteers, who made him feel more useful through his participation in recycling. Through recycling, his health and temperament had improved, and he could sleep better. He recounted, “I didn’t think my situation would allow me to do recycling. But after the first visit, I was attracted to it and would urge my wife to bring me there weekly. I was surprised that I could even help flatten the PET bottles by stepping on them. I found that it improves my limb movements and I could sleep better at night.”
 
Murali, a Physiotherapist with TIMA, shared that he was kind of frustrated when the first few physiotherapy sessions on the stroke survivors did not produce the expected results. But the SSG team made him realize that what is more important is to make the stroke survivors feel loved and respected; and he was assured that although there may not be instant, noticeable physical progresses, there are psychological improvements. He thanked the Tzu Chi team for the experience and the innovative approach, particularly in converting recyclables into rehabilitation equipment.
 
Tan Guat Sim, a medical volunteer, who has been a beacon of hope and grace, was also invited to speak at the Conference. She said that the SSG cares for the stroke survivors’ emotional needs more than healing their physical health. Since its establishment three years ago, the SSG Klang has devoted its greatest passion to care for the stroke survivors and alleviate their pain. Now, besides medical personnel, the SSG has 20 caring volunteers, who have formed a good rapport with stroke survivors. She believed it is the care and support they received that keep the stroke survivors returning to the SSG monthly get-together. “When they see others improve, it motivates them to improve,” she added.
 
The sharing session ended with a sign language performance of a lively song, “Everyone Recycles”.

 


 
Dr Yasmin Mohamed Gani from Sungai Buloh Hospital shared on “Changing Trends of Infectious Diseases”. [Photograph by Aw Lee Ching]   Michael Chow Shiuh Yun, Founder and Director of Faith Helping Centre, urged the audience to offer support and encouragement to HIV patients. [Photograph by Aw Lee Ching]

Dr Yasmin Mohamed Gani from Sungai Buloh Hospital shared on “Changing Trends of Infectious Diseases”. [Photograph by Aw Lee Ching]
 
Michael Chow Shiuh Yun, Founder and Director of Faith Helping Centre, urged the audience to offer support and encouragement to HIV patients. [Photograph by Aw Lee Ching]
 
Dr Kamarul Azhar from Rumah Solehah shared on “End-of-life Care for AIDS Patients”. [Photograph by Aw Lee Ching]   Steven Voon from Tzu Chi USA said that the Mobile Medical Clinic looks forward to collaborations with community groups to provide quality care to the needy hand-in-hand. [Photograph by Ong Siew Geok]

Dr Kamarul Azhar from Rumah Solehah shared on “End-of-life Care for AIDS Patients”. [Photograph by Aw Lee Ching]
 
 
Steven Voon from Tzu Chi USA said that the Mobile Medical Clinic looks forward to collaborations with community groups to provide quality care to the needy hand-in-hand. [Photograph by Ong Siew Geok]
 
Dr Ng Poh Yin from Hospital Kuala Lumpur gave an inspiring account on how she started dedicating herself to recycling and persisted knowing that she is doing the right thing. [Photograph by Ong Siew Geok]   Volunteer Koh Puay Eng assured the audience that a little contribution from one may change the life of a stroke survivor and their family. [Photograph by Ong Siew Geok]

Dr Ng Poh Yin from Hospital Kuala Lumpur gave an inspiring account on how she started dedicating herself to recycling and persisted knowing that she is doing the right thing. [Photograph by Ong Siew Geok]
 
 
Volunteer Koh Puay Eng assured the audience that a little contribution from one may change the life of a stroke survivor and their family. [Photograph by Ong Siew Geok]
 
Volunteers and members of Tzu Chi Klang’s Stroke Support Group gave a testimony of the importance of a support group in helping the stroke survivors to restore their hope and confidence. [Photograph by Ong Siew Geok]    

Volunteers and members of Tzu Chi Klang’s Stroke Support Group gave a testimony of the importance of a support group in helping the stroke survivors to restore their hope and confidence. [Photograph by Ong Siew Geok]