Same old story : Lack of specialists

Source: Bernama

April 09, 2010 00:20 AM
Lack Of Specialists To Conduct ‘Deep Brain Stimulation’ Surgery On Parkinson Patients
KUALA LUMPUR, April 8 (Bernama) — Malaysia still lacks specialists to conduct ‘Deep Brain Stimulation’ (DBS) operations for Parkinson’s Diease.

Based on a round-table report organised by Lloyd Tan Parkinson’s Trust Fund (LTPTF) and Negeri Sembilan Parkinson’s Society (NSPS), Malaysia it was accepted that only five neurology surgeons were capable of conducting DBS operations for Parkinson’s disease patients who were 40-years and below.

LTPTF Founder Dr Chew Nee Kong said just three hospitals had the expertise to perform the DBS operation, namely Pusat Perubatan Universiti Malaya (PPUM); Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia (HUSM), Kubang Kerian; and Pusat Perubatan Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (PPUKM).

“The lack of facilities are hindrances for neuro-specialists to perform DBS surgery,” he said at a news conference here today.

He said just 25 patients in Malaysia had undergone DBS surgery since it was introduced in 2003 and that it was estimated that between 25,000 and 30,000 people had Parkinson’s disease.

Besides that, Dr Chew said the cost of the DBS operation did not deter patients from undergoing an operation and procedures that came up to RM80,000 and that the patients needed RM60,000 more for extra surgery for every three to five years, and that made it more Malaysians to get treatment.

–BERNAMA

Editorial Comment:
Shortages of specialists is nothing new. We lament about it from time to time without much headway. Skilled expertise is still not coming our way, usually preferring our neighbour, Singapore. Many of the reasons for this predicament is known. Unfortunately, nothing much is done to rectify the situation. Heck, we are also losing our bright young medical students, especially from University Malaya, to Singapore. At least Singapore takes the trouble to send individuals to Malaysia and advertise the country to our students. What they put on the table is usually irresistable. MOH on the other hand, sits on their laurel expecting miracles to happen. The latest promotion exercise has only been long overdue and is hardly a strong enough pull factor for our doctors. We need more urgency in this matter. If the Government can hire APCO to improve its image, I suggest they do the same for our public healthcare service.

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