On 7 May, in celebration of World Lupus Day, IMU Cares organised a health check-up session for the community as part of the “Walk-a-Payung 2023” Umbrella Walkathon held at Taman Tasik Permaisuri, Bandar Tun Razak. The event, organized in collaboration with the Malaysian SLE Association, attracted around 400 participants. IMU staff and students actively engaged with the community by administering blood pressure tests, blood glucose tests, and measuring Body Mass Index (BMI) at the event.
The walkathon was aimed at raising public awareness of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), a disorder where the immune system turns against body parts it is supposed to protect. The event hoped that the public would learn more about SLE, and funds were raised to aid people suffering from SLE.
The event kicked off at 7.00an with registration and the health check-up session contributed by IMU Cares. Dr Vishnumukkala Thirupathirao from School of Medicine (SOM) took the lead for BMI tests, while Dr Huma Shahzad of SOM and Dr Thin Thin Win of SOM took up similar roles for blood pressure tests and blood glucose tests respectively.
Dr Kioh Sheng Hui (Chiropractic Lecturer) highlighted that the opportunity to engage with the community through this event is significant in improving the communication skills of student volunteers and preparing them for clinical work later on. Believing that health-check-up sessions are important in creating awareness of participants’ health statuses, she explained that they are conducted so that preventive care can be taken.
Mr Juay Harn Li (Multi-disciplinary Labs, MDL) expressed his hope for student volunteers to gain experience in conducting health check-up tests in real-life situations, while Dr Vishnumukkala Thirupathirao praised the initiative, explaining that giving back to the community is very important. “Through IMU Cares, we are delighted to serving the society.”
At around 8.00am, Dr Heselynn Hussein, President of the Malaysian SLE Association, took to the stage with her welcoming remarks. She explained that participants were encouraged to walk with umbrellas during the walkathon to raise awareness towards SLE patients who need to be shielded from sunlight. “The Malaysian SLE Association was founded to support SLE patients through services such as education and counselling, as well as funds. World Lupus Day falls on 10 May this year with the theme ‘Make Lupus Visible’, let us make it visible today.”
Against a backdrop of dazzling stage performances, the health check-up session continued throughout the morning. The participants were generally satisfied with the health check-up services, appreciating the up-to-date knowledge about their health statuses through the health report provided to them post-check-up. Many of the volunteers received praise for their friendly demeanor and professional conduct, as they provided thorough explanations and consultations regarding the participants’ health status.
Viyana Lee (ME122) described thepatients as quite eager to get their health screening done, and many of them wanted to know if their BMI, blood glucose level and blood pressure level is within a normal range. For Aisya binti Ahmad Iskandar (ME221), communication mattered substantially, as she had to communicate with participants using terms that they could understand.
According to Dr Huma Shahzad, some screened participants were discovered to have high blood pressure and blood glucose levels, hence they were advised to seek medical attention to prevent diabetes and chronic hypertension. She also suggested that the involvement of medical officers from local community clinics in future health check-up sessions, so that patients could be prescribed with medications on-the-spot.
Similarly, Dr Kioh Sheng Hui suggested the involvement of multi-disciplinaries such as dental, chiropractic and Chinese medicine programmes in future health check-up sessions so that a holistic health screening can be provided to the community.
After an eventful morning of contests, lucky draws, performances and a prize-giving ceremony, participants of the “Walk-a-Payung 2023” Umbrella Walkathon left for home, hopefully with a heightened understanding towards SLE.
Written by Goh Li Lian (FIS 123)