KUCHING: A group of medical doctors from both East and West Malaysia recently went on a community service mission in the state’s central region under the Silent Mentor Medical Outreach programme.
The leader of the outreach programme, Professor Dr Chin Kin Fah said the aim of the one-week trip was to establish mutual understanding and respect between patients and doctors as well as to disseminate the concept of Silent Mentor to the community.
The inaugural Rajang River Medical Outreach programme was organised in collaboration with the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas).
The programme started on March 1 whereby the team went to Kanowit and Kapit.
The team of 30 volunteers comprising medical personnel, technical support team, engineers departed from Sibu to Kanowit and then travel by long boats for another four hours to reach Nanga Jagau, a longhouses settlement which can only be accessed by river.
This journey allowed the medical personnel to experience the difficulty faced by the patients who have to travel afar to the main town for medical investigations and treatments.
The medial team provided community health checks and screening, which included an upper gastrointestinal endoscopy and ultrasound scan of the abdomen and pelvis, for the local population.
The upper gastrointestinal endoscopy screened for early oesophageal or gastric cancer, as well as the presence of helicobacter pylori infection and its associated gastritis.
The ultrasound scan of the abdomen screened for any lesions in the liver and spleen as well as visceral abscess, which may help to diagnose an underlying melioidoisis infection.
In addition, being an endemic area for melioidosis, public health talks for disease prevention were conducted. Other programmes included physical exercises, care for the elderly and education activities for the children.
The activities carried on for two days, following which Professor Chin led the group to Hospital Kapit, where he performed a series of laparoscopic cholecystectomy and laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair together with Dr Pok Eng Hong and Dr Pui Wei Chieng.
Professor Chin indicated that this was a sustainable outreach programme with at least four episodes of visits each year.
This Rajang River programme provided a platform for the students and doctors at AFSM to contribute to this area of need.
In pursuing this aim, AFSM seeks for public donation to complete the training centres in Cheras, KL and Kuching so that more students and doctors can be trained and be motivated to join this meaningful outreach programme.