Crown Prince launches Health Promo
By Lyna Mohamad & Azrol Azmi

His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Deputy Sultan, yesterday consented to officially launch the Integrated Health Screening and Health Promotion for Civil Servants Programme in conjunction with the 100th Year of Health Services in the Sultanate.

Held at the Songket Ballroom of the Rizqun International Hotel at The Mall in Gadong, HRH was greeted upon arrival by Pehin Orang Kaya Indera Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awang Hj Suyoi bin Hj Osman, Minister of Health; Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Lela Diraja Dato Paduka Hj Hazair bin Hj Abdullah, Deputy Minister of Health; and other senior officials at the ministry.

Also present were cabinet ministers, deputy ministers, permanent secretaries, deputy permanent secretaries, heads of department and other senior government officers.

Following the recital of al-Fatihah and doa selamat, the Minister of Health delivered his welcoming speech where amongst all, he said the programme is organised to tackle the chronic disease phenomena that is becoming a major health threat in the Sultanate and on top of that the occurrence of renal diseases and cases of high blood pressure have also been increasing from year to year.

The minister added that based on the ministry's medical record, in the span of 17 years the number of patients undergoing renal dialysis have increased from 79 in 1991 to 471 early this year. The number is predicted to increase while the health care cost of less than one million dollars in 1991 has increased to eight million dollars this year.

In the period of two decades, the health allocation has increased four times: from $66.6 million in 1981 to $259.7 million this year. The usage of top ten medicines shows the trend of increase in purchase. The cost of purchase for these 10 types of medicines took three-fourth of the cost of purchase for the overall medicines of about 1,000 types.

Most of these 10 types of medicines are used for the treatment of coronary heart, high blood pressure, cancer and decrease of cholesterol in blood. The number of patients diagnosed for coronary treatments has increase from 325 (2003) to 403 last year, which also saw a rise in cost from $7.3 million to $9.7 million last year.

Apart from the various initiatives to promote awareness to all levels of the community on the importance of health care, the ministry in promoting health to the local community, executes "Mukim Sihat" programmes to encourage all villagers to undergo health screenings on top of the existing health services at health centres and clinics.

By knowing the status of citizens and residents' health, the ministry will be able to plan appropriately in providing better healthcare more in general and doing research and preventive measures that are more effective for health care, prosperity, life quality and increase in productivity for all.

After delivering his address and officially launching the event, His Royal Highness consented to view a multimedia presentation and receive a pesambah from the Minister of Health. HRH also consented to listen to a keynote address on "What Does It Take To Tip An Individual Towards Better Health At Work" by A Collin Bell from the World Health Organisation.

HRH then watched a choir presentation, viewed the health screening and toured the Health Promo exhibition.

Among the objectives of the event are to enable each officers and staff from the civil service to know their health status, enable the ministry to take preventive steps, provide counselling treatment according to the health status of the respective staff and officers, and provide health awareness to all members and staff of government departments.

On top of that it is also aimed at educating all civil servants on the types of chronic diseases that are related to lifestyle and training government officers and staff to get medical checkups from time to time. - Borneo Bulletin (6th September 2007)