Consumers Association of Penang

Giving voice to the little people...since 1970

Separate public health services from private business

The Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) views with concern the plans of the Sabah government to push ahead with the building of a private hospital. Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman is quoted in the press saying that, “although it is a private hospital, we do not have to think of how to profit first”.

Hazards of low-level radiation

Below we reproduce Chapter 5 of "Wasted Lives: Radioactive Poisoning in Bukit Merah" for our readers. It shows the many ill-effects of low-level radiation and its impacts on the residents in Bukit Merah.

What is frightening about radiation is that you cannot see it, feel it, hear it or taste it. You do not have to get into the area of a radioactive dump, dig the soil, bathe in it, or throw it over your head to get hurt.

Instead of a new healthcare financing scheme...

The Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) welcomes the news that the Ministry of Health is not going to rush ahead with any implementation of a healthcare financing scheme.

The right to good health has been recognised as a basic human right that everyone possesses. In 1978, the Alma Ata Declaration was adopted by the world community, to which Malaysia was a party. The Declaration proclaimed that by the year 2000, all peoples of the world should attain “a level of health that will permit them to lead a socially and economically productive life”.

Risks from radiological & nuclear medicine examinations

ct-scan1The basis of present day medicine is shared decision making between the doctor and the patient. Empowering a patient to make informed decisions about their treatment is a fundamental principle in medical professionalism. But is this principle translated into clinical practice in so far as radiological and nuclear medicine examinations are concerned?

In general, patients undergoing radiological and nuclear examinations receive no, very little, or inaccurate information regarding the risks involved. Take, for example, the CT Scans and X-rays. They are so common that they are used as if they don’t pose any risk.

The total number of imaging examinations (use of nuclear and X-rays), for instance, account for 2 billion per year. Angiograms are performed routinely by cardiologists; radioisotope studies are common; the use of contrast mediums like iodine is also routine and now we have the Helical CT Scans which carry a high risk of cancer or death.