UKM’s Teluk Intan Community Health Centre Can Expect More Funding
By Saiful Bahri Kamaruddin
Pix Shahiddan Saidi
TELUK INTAN, PERAK, 19 Aug 2014 – Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Dato’ Mah Siew Keong will recommend to the Prime Minister to make more funds available for scientific as well as social projects at The National University of Malaysia’s (UKM) Community Health Centre here.
Speaking to reporters after a visit and briefing about the centre here today, Dato’ Mah said he was very impressed by the social and medical research activities carried out at Teluk Intan – his parliamentary constituency- and he felt that more resources are needed for the community centre.
He disclosed that UKM and other research universities can expect more funds for research projects soon with the cooperation of the agency to develop and market scientific innovations Agensi Inovasi Malaysia (AIM).
The agency – which he now heads – had been led by Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak until Dato’ Mah was appointed a minister recently.
While declining to state the quantum, Dato’ Mah explained that new products and innovations will be the priority of the agency which will choose the relevant projects from among the research universities.
He said since half of UKM’s students are doing post-graduate work, it would only be sensible to develop their research into potentially marketable products or services.
“I hope UKM will have joint projects with AIM. I have seen with my own eyes innovative Malaysian products imported by Singapore and given refinements to make them more marketable. Well done, UKM,” he said.
He reckoned that if Malaysian products can look as good as they are useful, they would be easily marketable.
He was earlier briefed on the projects carried out by the community health centre by Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation Affairs) Prof Dato’ Dr Mazlin Mokhtar and head of Industry and Community Partnerships at the UKM Hospital Prof Dr Noor Azah Abdul Aziz. Also present was UKM Treasurer Dato’ Mohd Abd Rashid Mohd Fadzil.
Prof Mazlin said he envisioned the community health centre to be a service hub for not just medical students but also researchers in sustainable energy and development for the benefit of Teluk Intan, a semi-urban area.
The centre, he said, was not just a living laboratory like UKM’s other research centres in Langkawi and Mersing, but a socio-economic and multi-discipline hub serving Teluk Intan.
Prof Mazlin said the centre is being used in the training of medical students in aspects that the UKM Hospital Cheras could not provide, such as exposing students to the problems of rural residents.
Prof Noor Azah, in her briefing, said she and other researchers found a big number of Teluk Intan residents inflicted with hypertension and are obese, which are usually found in urban areas. They were also shocked to find many of the residents having undiagnosed diabetes.
The medical affliction of the residents could be a big problem in 10 years time, she said.
She said this was part of UKM’s community service catering to medical research on preventive measures. A similar programme had been successfully carried out in the Hulu Langat area in Selangor giving positive results.
Prof Noor Azah said the programme aims at empowering the involvement of senior citizens in the community focussing on their health.
Originally, the centre was set up for medical students as a hub for medical research and health.