Many who cashed in as runaway teens end up as undocumented workers in Malaysia – or return as corpses.
A 25 year-long American study has found a direct correlation between hearing loss and dementia.
T he study revealed much regarding the common occurence of hearing loss that plagues society, and how to prevent hearing loss from affecting your daily routine.
Hearing loss is the result of sound signals not reaching the brain. It can make certain syllables and sounds harder to hear. High-pitched consonants like f, s and t are easily drowned out by louder, low-pitched vowels like a, o and u. This results in a person with hearing loss complaining that they can hear that others are speaking, but not understand what they are actually saying.
Symptoms of hearing loss may have more subtle characteristics than other diseases like diabetes that more obviously present themselves. Symptoms of hearing loss include things like:
Loss of hearing can cause the brain to slowly degenerate due to the cognitive load that is put on the brain in order to process those sounds, sacrificing the efficiency of processing other functions such as memory and thinking. The study of 600 older adults found that those with untreated hearing loss at the beginning of the study were more likely to develop dementia than adults who had hearing loss but were wearing hearing aids.
By helping the user to detect and translate these sounds into a form that the brain can easily interpret, it lessens the cognitive load, letting it spend the extra effort on other functions such as memory and decision making.
According to the American centre for disease control, hearing loss is the third most chronic condition and more commonplace than the more widely known diseases such as diabetes and asthma. The CDC estimates roughly 600 million people worldwide are living with hearing loss and that this is most prevalent in Asian Pacific countries, which includes Malaysia.
Hearing aids are impressive micro-computers that detect your listening environment and adjusts itself to suit your needs. Today’s devices can even be controlled from your smartphone via bluetooth, and unlike in years past when hearing aids were large, protruding devices, today’s hearing aids are almost invisible, only a few millimeters long and roughly the size of coffee beans.
Today, the new Siemens technology offers advanced features that will enhance your ability to hear clearly. hear.com offers models in three categories of technology, basic, mid-range, and premium, to match the level of your hearing loss and your budget needs.
The battle against cancer is not only mentally and physically challenging, but also financially costly. Even after recovering from cancer, the battle does not end there as cancer survivors often find themselves shunned by employers.
For many, a second chance in life does not come by easy. Adam (not real name), is one such example.
Adam was diagnosed with Stage II Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in February 2016 and began his chemotherapy the same month.
By his third treatment, he was finding it difficult to cope with his job at a logistic company as he was suffering from weakness and fatigue. He resigned the following month.
Five months later, towards the tail end of his treatment in August 2016, Adam finally decided to rejoin the workforce and began applying for jobs.
However, even after he was declared cancer-free in October of that year, Adam was still unable to land a job.
Adam said he couldn’t go back to his old company as they had found a replacement.
“I don’t blame them because they found someone else to replace me, I was gone for a long time,” he said.
However, other companies were not keen on hiring him.
“When I told them (potential employers in interviews) that I just recovered from cancer, you can see their faces change, and we’re talking about big companies,” Adam told Malaysiakini.
He said it was different before he was diagnosed with cancer.
“It was very easy to get a job (at that time)… at my previous company, the boss was really nice, he was very supportive throughout my career.”
Adam finally landed a human resource job in December that year, after four months of persistent job-seeking.
Halimahton Shaari, 58, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2009, had a slightly different experience.
A 22-year veteran in education, Halimahton had no problem returning to the civil service the following year after her cancer treatment.
However, she noticed that some things had changed upon her return.
“… People did wonder if I was able to handle the work as they kept asking if I was okay and whether I could handle my work,” she said.
Halimahton said she had no problem keeping up but noted that cancer survivors do face challenges after recovery.
“As much as survivors think they can (cope with their usual work routine), they need the space to recover from (the) ravaging treatment of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
“Thus, they should be eased back to their work routine and not (be) immediately bombarded with demanding workload,” she said.
Halimahton, who continued to be involved in the decision-making process, stressed that the perception that cancer survivors cannot perform at work was wrong.
She resigned from the civil service early last year to pursue her personal interests, including volunteer work.
According to personal finance portal iMoney, cancer treatment can cost between RM56,000 to RM395,000 depending on the type of cancer.
The ASEAN Costs in Oncology study found 51 percent of cancer patients face financial difficulties within a year after diagnosis.
This makes it all the more imperative for cancer survivors to be able to find work.
Acknowledging the challenges faced by cancer survivors in the employment market, Hospital Kuala Lumpur’s Radiotherapy and Oncology Department, in cooperation with the National Cancer Society Malaysia, launched cancerfly.com last February.
Already, a number of companies have come on board the jobs portal for cancer survivors, which include Prudential BSN Takaful.
There are a number of reasons why employers are reluctant to hire cancer survivors, said Prudential BSN Takaful unit manager Norhaimah Muhamad.
“Some offices provide free medical (benefits) to all their staff. But if cancer survivors were to be employed, the office will need to pay more in terms of insurance premium, it’s basically stressing the management financially,” she said.
However, Norhaimah said Prudential BSN Takaful is willing to hire cancer survivors and urged them to enquire about jobs at their branches.
The company last February also set up a booth at Kuala Lumpur Hospital offering jobs to cancer survivors.
Lawyer Sonia Abraham said under Malaysian law, job applicants have a legal obligation to be truthful in their job application.
This includes being upfront and disclosing about one’s cancer, said Sonia, who specialises in employment law.
She said there are no specific laws to prevent discrimination against cancer sufferers but added that there were general provisions such as the Employment Act 1955 and Industrial Relations Act 1967, which protects the rights of all employees including cancer sufferers.
In the US, the American with Disabilities Act and Federal Rehabilitation Act specifically prohibits discrimination of employees who have or have had cancer.
Sonia said to date, there had not been any reported cases of an employee being dismissed due to cancer in Malaysia.
However, she said this does not mean there was no discrimination against cancer sufferers.
“There could be instances when an employer terminates an employee (as) they don’t want to deal with their health problems and then tries to find other reasons to justify their actions,” she said.
More from VOX KINI
Many who cashed in as runaway teens end up as undocumented workers in Malaysia – or return as corpses.
A 25 year-long American study has found a direct correlation between hearing loss and dementia. T he study revealed much regarding the common occurence of hearing loss that plagues society, and how to prevent hearing loss from affecting your daily routine. Hearing...
Tickets to Thai Film Festival in Malaysia 2017 will be screened for FREE, courtesy of Royal Thai Embassy to Malaysia.
Gout patients would be at a loss when the fearsome gout strikes them with sheer physical and mental pain rages on. From folk remedy to traditional Chinese medicine, Western medicine, and self medication, gout patients have been searching far and wide to treat their illness.
Throughout humankind history, many types of gout therapy have been practiced. People have used heat therapy, cold therapy, herbal therapy, and pharmaceutical drugs to treat gout. Chen Cang-qi, a renowned medical practitioner during the Tang Dynasty in Ancient China, introduced tea therapy as an alternative.
Medical science advancement has helped to produce new drugs in both Western and Chinese medical fields. At the same time, more and more folk remedies have also surfaced and spread. For example, some believe that the consumption of the juices from one to three coconuts each day, with an interval of one to two hours for two to three months consecutively can get rid of gout symptoms ultimately.
The present medical studies suggest that gout cannot be cured completely, but it can be better managed through right mediciations that control the uric acid level to prevent joint inflammation.
Pharmacologists at DALTON, Australia discovered that drinking hot (Australian cudweed flower) herbal drink can significantly help to reduce one’s uric acid and joint pain relief.
They found that Australian cudweed flower contains rich anti-gout ingredients that can break down stubborn tophi effectively. SORNADO Tea Bag was later produced as a result of years of extensive studies that packs 100% natural goodness of Australian cudweed flower into the convenient tea-bag for ease of preparation and consumption.
SORNADO Tea Bag was not only an ideal solution for sufferers with high uric acid and gout, but also suitable for anyone who are concerned with their uric acid level and daily health maintenance. Be it for treatment or general health, SORNADO Tea Bag is worth a try.
Sornado Tea Bag assists in control of uric acid level and reducing inflammation and pain associated with gout. With this promo code <MKGOUT12>, readers can get a discount of RM12/box when purchasing on LogOn.
Coway, a Korean company that emphasizes on premium water filters continues its record of championing health related issues by highlighting the importance of hydration during exercise.
Water is the most important nutrient that humans need. One can go several weeks without food, but three days without water and a person risks death. This is because with 75% of our bodies being made out of water, it is the most abundant compound in the human body.
Studies show that being properly hydrated can lead to a higher level of efficiency in the execution of our daily routine. In fact, dehydration can cause severe mental fatigue and an increase in memory problems. The reason for this can be found In the nutrients that our brain is composed of.
The marathon couples drinking water, the main source of hydration, with exercise, the main cause of dehydration, in a powerful message to the public on how both are equally important and emphasizes on the need to maintain the balance between the two in order to ensure a healthy body.
With an impeccable reputation of stringent testing of their products, making sure that each of their machines go through a million tests before it reaches its consumers, the company hopes that the 10k run will encourage participants and those around them to hydrate themselves.
The company also states that they send service experts they have dubbed Coway ladies or “Cody”, to homes once every two months to carry out regular servicing of these devices, ensuring that they are working at maximum efficiency and guarantee clean drinking water.
Coway’s growing customer base of 6 million homes is a testament to the success of their product and the strict quality control practices that the company implements will only further improve their track record as the best source of purified water in the country.
The Coway run will include a 10 Kilometre trail and will run alongside a 5 Kilometre fun run. Registrations are open to ages 18 and up and can be registered at https://mro.myraceonline.com/cowa17/registrations before 16th of April.
Be a hydration advocate and join the Coway run on the 7th May. You will be thrilled to find Malaysian runners in all shapes, sizes, moods and mindsets, like the walkers and talkers, the snails and the Olympians. Haven’t run enough to know who are them? Check out the video introducing the Malaysian runners you hate and love.
*Highest market share in water purifier market in Malaysia, according to Spire Research and Consulting, 2016; GfK, 2017.
Almost one in three people in Malaysia suffer from some sort of mental health issue, according to the 2015 National Health and Morbidity Survey by the Health Ministry.
Yet, there seems to be very little discourse or work surrounding this issue even after two years, lamented clinical psychologist Dr. Chua Sook Ning.
Upset over the lack of action regarding mental health issues, Chua has taken it upon herself to create a support system for those suffering from mental health.
To that end, she decided to form an NGO called Relate Malaysia to destigmatise mental illness and to bring this issue to the mainstream to give it the proper attention it deserves.
“Twenty years ago, it was one in 10 people (who suffered from mental health issues).
“Today it is one in three, so not talking about a disease does not make the disease go away. It is getting worse,” the 34-year-old said heatedly in a Skype interview with Malaysiakini.
Maybe something is being done behind-the-scenes, she said, but to destigmatise mental health issues and ensure people know how and where to seek help, there must be public discourse.
“We need to hear about it, people need to know that there is a safety net for them,” she said.
Last October, Chua single-handedly formed Relate Malaysia and its website, where she coordinates everything and writes all the articles.
Now, a team of four run Relate, though they are all based overseas, which means almost all their work is currently based online.
Chua said she is also working closely with Subang Jaya assemblyperson Hannah Yeoh and Damansara Utama assemblyperson Yeo Bee Yin.
Another campaign by Relate which has been successful is the hashtag ‘I Am Not Ashamed’ campaign, where they encourage those suffering from mental health disorders to take a picture of themselves with the ‘I Am Not Ashamed’ hashtag sign.
This is her story, in her own words:
IT WOULD BE AN ISSUE IF YOU FOUND OUT one in three people had cancer or malaria or HIV.
But one in three people with mental health issues? Nothing.
RECENT STUDIES ALSO SHOW that depression rates among teens and young adults have exponentially grown.
We need to pay attention to it. Is it a crisis? Yes, it is a crisis.
ONE WAY TO TACKLE STIGMA IS BY PUBLIC EDUCATION, where the ‘I Am Not Ashamed’ campaign comes in, but that is only one part.
Another way we can tackle stigma is going “Hey, we need you to help us”.
WE DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS. (So we are) looking at studies where they looked at community-based models, where you get people in and give them tools to tackle (mental health issues).
These people are not professionals, but you can inform them about mental illness and help them not to be afraid of it and help them show empathy.
Hopefully, when they are in a difficult time as well, they can get help.
BECAUSE OF THE LOW NUMBERS OF mental health professionals, if the number of patients increases, we would not be able to cope.
We need to create interventions that do not rely heavily on humans.
I WORK REASONABLY CLOSELY WITH Hannah Yeoh. I think she, by far, has shown some of the most commitment to mental health, even within her jurisdiction, where she organised a depression workshop last year.
She has shown a lot of concern about this. Everyone shows a lot of concern when you talk about this, but they do not necessarily put it in action and be associated with it publicly, given the stigma.
RELATE IS UNIQUE because it offers a lot of local information that has been collated.
I also want to develop a parallel Malay version of the website because I am quite frustrated at the fact that 60 to 70 percent of the population are Malay speakers, but there are so few resources for them.
YOU END UP GETTING BETTER SUPPORT if you are an Anglophone. For Malay speakers we have nothing.
I think it is a shame and a failure on our part.
PSYCHOTHERAPY STARTS AT, ON AVERAGE, RM350 AN HOUR. Who is going to pay for that? Who can afford it?
Even if I got to the point where it is a viable option for people, it is not accessible because it is costly.
So not only do we need to tackle stigma, we need to make it affordable.
THERE IS ALSO NO KNOWLEDGE (about mental health issues), so people need to get knowledge.
The system also needs to change, there’s no protection, so we need to advocate for rights.
A LOT OF THE LAWS THAT we have on mental health, they are not patient-centric. They are primarily focused on regulations on mental health professionals.
If you are fired for mental illness, what are your rights? There have to be specific laws for that.
I THINK POLICY IS DRIVEN BY DEMAND, the more people talk about it, the more likely politicians will see that it is urgent.
They have their own niche concerns but also they tend to be driven by the needs of the people and what the people want.
WE NEED TO FEEL THE WEIGHT OF THE ISSUE. It is mind-blowing just how big it is and how little we have done.
There is very little institutional support and I think that is a shame.
29% of the population are ill.
1% are mental health professionals.
We need a better solution. Join us in our mission to improve mental health in Malaysia.
It’s ridiculous to wait an hour for just 5 mins with the doc, so M’sians have this option instead
If you’ve ever been in a panel clinic particularly after a long weekend or when there’s a bug going around, you’ll know the tedium of the inevitable wait before you can see the doctor.
It feels ridiculous to spend so long waiting when sometimes all you need is a quick chat. Even worse is the risk of an added infection picked up from being jostled around an overcrowded waiting room.
But there are alternatives—of course there are, we’re in the digital era now.
Doctor2U is no stranger to using technology to connect patients to doctors at a push of a button. The app’s features already include:
Continuing their goal to become a one-stop platform for health-care related services, the Doctor2U team is now rolling out a new feature on their app: video consultation with doctors.
Anyone really. From cold and flu patients, to headaches and skin conditions, allergies and tellingly, sexual health enquiries.
The latter is a doozy, because we’re in an Asian society that still stigmatises such topics. Even scheduling a trip out to a doctor just to talk about that may be a hair-raising challenge for some.
According to Garvy Beh, co-founder of Doctor2U, 40% of their existing live chat enquiries are on sexual health issues. He said,
“Video calling is basically an upgraded feature where it gets even more personalised since the doctor and patient get to see one another face-to-face live.”
“In many cases, patients need answers to where they can get the treatment, and our doctors suggest treatment options for the patients to either get it from BP Healthcare or any other health providers.”
Another use of the video consulting feature would be for explaining lab results and medical reports. Often, patients might prefer to avoid having to travel out to a clinic just to get an explanation.
BP already has a service that allows patients to view their lab results online; getting more information via the Doctor2U app through the live chat or video consultation is a very natural extension.
Currently, Doctor2U has a network of 1000 doctors in place on its Doctor House Call panel nationwide. They’re also in partnership with major insurance providers including Zurich, AIA and Great Eastern as well as many of the large hotel chains in Klang Valley to provide healthcare services for their policyholders and guests.
What they’ve found is that their Doctor House Call customers already save about one hour they would otherwise spend travelling to the clinic or hospital and waiting to see a doctor.
They’re continuously looking into how to improve their services so a video consultation where patients can connect instantly to doctors fits nicely into their plans.
Keegan Flynn, co-founder of Doctor2U told Malaysiakini,
“Our house calls have also led to significant cost savings for customers and the healthcare system by reducing the number of non-emergency trips to the emergency department by up to 50%, and we expect this trend to continue with video calls.”
Doctors on the app are fully certified full-time doctors of BP Healthcare Group and the service is available 24/7.
The payment for video consultation is purely time-based, charged at a fixed rate for 15-minute blocks (RM20 during the day and RM38 at night). This means that you can have multiple consultations with the doctor (say, with a family member or friend who’s in the same room).
Accessing it is a simple 5-step process through the app:
1. Select ‘Video Consultation’ on the home screen
2. Pick a service relating to the symptoms you’re experiencing
3. Key in personal details (name, age & condition)
4. Choose payment option and key in payment details
5. Get connected to a doctor.
For their comfort, users can also choose the gender of the doctor they’re connecting with (either no preference, male, or female).
One possible issue with video calling would be if it’s suddenly cut due to a poor connection. According to Garvy, if the call is dropped, when the user or doctor tries to reconnect, it will continue without any added charges, with an extension to make up for the dropped time.
As an added service, doctors can also prescribe medicine to the patients which can then be delivered right to their homes or picked up from participating pharmacies of their choice.
The downside we can see so far? Unfortunately by law, the doctors aren’t able to issue MCs for video consultations. For now, we still have to physically make the trip out (or get a doctor house call) for that.
Or download the app from