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Date  :  27/10/2005

Yang Berusaha Encik Muralee Menon,
Pengerusi Pusat Neurologi Asia

Y.B. Datuk Dr. Abdul Latif Ahmad,
Timbalan Menteri Kesihatan Malaysia

Y.B. Dato’ Ong Tee Keat,
Timbalan Menteri Belia dan Sukan Malaysia

Y. Bhg. Datuk Dr. Haniff Rafia,
Ketua Kepakaran Neurologi Kementerian Kesihatan

Dif-Dif Kehormat,

Tuan-Tuan dan Puan-Puan yang saya hormati sekalian,
Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh.

Terlebih dahulu saya bersyukur ke hadrat Allah SWT kerana dengan limpah kurnia dan hidayahNya, dapat saya berada di sini di bulan Ramadan yang mulia ini untuk merasmikan pelancaran awal Pusat Neurologi Asia ataupun Asian Neuro Centre yang merupakan pusat yang memberikan perkhidmatan pakar dalam bidang neurologi yang juga julung-julung kali diadakan di negara ini. Di kesempatan ini, saya ingin mengucapkan terima kasih kepada YAB Tun Daim dan semua pengurusan Asian Neuro Centre yang sudi menjemput saya untuk merasmikan pelancaran awal pusat ini.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

1. Firstly, I would like to express my gratitude to Asian Neuro Centre for inviting me as the Guest of Honour to officiate this soft launch. As we are fully aware, one of the most profound meaningful statements we come across in our daily lives is “health is wealth”. Health is the cornerstone of human capital and forms the basis of job productivity. Good population health is a critical input towards poverty reduction, economic growth and sustainability at the scale of the whole societies.

2. Malaysia’s healthcare system has won much international recognition from the World Health Organisation and other health agencies for its remarkable achievements since 1957. However, that doesn’t mean that we have to be satisfied with our current healthcare system. There is still a lot of room for improvement.

3. The Ministry of Health, the main provider of health services in the country through government hospitals and health centres all over the country, is guided by certain principals expounded in the Vision 2020and Vision for Health which stated that Malaysia will be a nation of healthy individuals, families and communities.

4. Malaysia healthcare services are also provided by a growing private healthcare sector, which has a sound growth in the number of hospital facilities over the last two decades and is increasingly becoming more market oriented whilst maintaining a certain degree of quality services.

5. The Malaysian health system of the future will be driven by the attributes of the Vision 2020 for health and will emphasize on further improvement to quality, innovation, health promotion, equity, affordability and consumer-friendliness.

6. The Ninth Malaysian Health Plan is formulated to realize the attributes, through the utilization of various inputs by providing an integrated health services to achieve better outcomes for individual and their families and the population in general.

7. The glare of national crisis illustrated in Nipah Encephalitis (1998) outbreak and to a smaller scale Enterovirus in Sarawak (1997) and now dengue outbreak in the country highlighted the state of the infrastructure with unprecedented clarity to the public and policy makers.

8. Investment in health promotion and prevention services is more efficient and effective in improving the health status compared to investment solely in curative treatment. However, the quality and expertise of the specialists in curative treatment cannot be ignored and must be improved in accordance to the needs of population.

9. Public health is in essence population health, encompassing the health of the individual, family and community. It entails health promotions, prevention, primary care as well as curative and rehabilitative care.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

10. Neurological service which was started some 40 years ago at Hospital Kuala Lumpur has grown tremendously. Although the government hospitals are still acting as the centre of referral for a lot of private hospitals for complicated neuro problems, they have now more expertise and modern diagnostic equipment which allows them to undertake some critical neuro surgeries.

11. In year 2004 alone, there are 7900 neurosurgery patients in Malaysia. As we more forwards to be developed country by year 2020, it seems that more people are suffering from neuro diseases, such as head trauma and stroke, which are among the top 5 medical maladies in Malaysia.

12. In 2001, a total of 4653 neurosurgeries were performed at public hospitals. Out of this number, about 50% of the surgeries were performed at Hospital Kuala Lumpur. In the same year, 2500 neurosurgeries were performed at private hospitals, bringing the total neurosurgeries performed to 7153. The interesting fact is that all these surgeries were carried out by only 39 neurosurgeons.

13. The government is concern about the increasing number of neuro cases, as we realize that in our current capacity and resources we are still unable to fight the diseases efficiently and effectively.

14. Statistics from the Ministry of Health shows that only 6 out of 121 public hospitals in Malaysia are equipped with neurosurgical facilities. With the increasing number of patients, these hospitals would not be able to meet the demand. This would result in long waiting time in public hospital. Patients have to wait from one week to several months before treatment can be administered. Government is looking into this matter seriously as it is government’s vision to provide better healthcare at a reasonable price to the people. If the un-met demands cannot be managed, public will resort to look for treatment overseas, but unfortunately not all people will have the opportunity to do it for a simple reason that treatment overseas is expensive. I sincerely hope that Asian Neuro Centre would be able to address the gap.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

15. I am indeed very pleased to be here to announce that a Malaysian company is embarking on building and managing, a specialized neurological hospital to cater for Malaysians as well as citizens from the regional countries.

16. I understand that The Asian Neuro Centre is modeled as a premier tertiary care hospital providing specialized and extensive neurological care, treatment and rehabilitation and is scheduled to commence operations in 2007.

17. Healthcare services is a challenging industry, what more neurology which involves the brain and the nervous systems.

18. Thus, the challenge for the Asian Neuro Centre is: to provide quality specialize services in the field of neurology at an affordable price without compromising its quality of services and at the same time upholding its philosophy of being a patient-centric hospital. And of course, it has to be a financially viable entity.

19. The term used to describe the vision behind the Asian Neuro Centre is to be the “First Choice Institution” for Malaysians as well as for people in the region who require neurological healthcare. I am made to understand that This state-of-the-art hospital will promote the utilization of advanced technologies and modern diagnostic equipment for neuro related treatment. It will also be ICT oriented, becoming a digital hospital which will enable it to deliver exemplary care appropriately, competitively and efficiently. This will allow Asian Neuro Centre to remain a learning organization and maintaining best practices.

20. I am glad the attitude of the management is spot on and I would like to wish them all the best in their endeavor to be the first choice institution for neurological healthcare.

21. It is also heartening to note that the hospital will cater not only for Malaysians from the middle and higher income groups, but for all income groups who require neurological healthcare.

22. It is only right, especially during this holy month of Ramadhan, that we, who have should lend a helping hand to the have-nots. I am very glad to hear that Asian Neuro Centre also intends to be a referral and treatment centre in the region such as for government hospitals to help reduce workload of public hospitals.

23. Although the Ministry of Health is working hard to improve the health services related to neurology and neurosurgery, it still unable to fulfill the demands. With the increasing number of patients, the task seems to be impossible. The low number of neurologists and neurosurgeons do not make things better.

24. The establishment of Asian Neuro Centre is timely to fill in the ever growing gap. Being an Advanced Neuro Surgery Centre, Asian Neuro Centre would be able to perform neurosurgeries using the image-guided radio surgery, neuro interventional and other complex treatment for neurological disorders as such, Asian Neuro Centre can be accredited as a referral hospital for government hospitals to help reduce workload of public hospitals as well as to reduce waiting time of patients.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

25. It is my hope that Asian Neuro Centre would further strengthen Malaysia’s intention to become a hub for modern medical technologies and reasonable treatment fees in the region. Definitely, it will also contribute to boost the country’s health tourism industry. With modern facilities, reasonable fees and our warm hospitality, I believe people from Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, China and as far as Europe would love to come here for the treatment.

26. I am also very pleased to hear that the Asian Neuro Centre would be utilizing work models which would shift the emphasis from the quantity of patients treated to the quality of treatment given–thus encouraging the hospitals consultants and surgeons to provide quality services.

27. Utilization of an in-house Clinician-Employee model which emphasized on increased ‘face-time’ between the doctor and patients will result in higher quality healthcare and better patient outcomes. It will also encourage full utilization of all available resources, while making the cost more reasonable.

28. I am also impressed with the smart partnership that the Asian Neuro Centre has forged establishing alliances with prestigious international institutions such as the Imperial College of Sciences, Technology and Medicine in London and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden to develop and advance its own research and development centre. The technology transfer will definitely helps to improve the healthcare systems in Malaysia especially those related to neurology and neurosurgery. It is also very encouraging that the Asian Neuro Centre is firmly rooted with the right principles, structure and management attitude.

29. Future collaboration between ANC and any scientific establishment and large multinational bio-pharmas and bio-tech companies should be explored as this will help the government to further develop national capacity in modern medical technologies as well as biotechnologies.

30. There is still a lot to be done in modern neurological services and I hope these smart partnerships will help generate new and innovative ideas on how to accelerate being a referral centre in this region. As the saying goes;

“If you have a dollar and I have a dollar and we exchange dollars, you still have a dollar and I still have a dollar. But if you have an idea and we exchange ideas, you end up with two ideas and I end up with two ideas.”

31. On this happy note, I have great pleasure in officially announcing the soft launch of the Asian Neuro Centre. Thank you.

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