International Medical University (IMU) School of Pharmacy celebrated International Women’s Day from 4 to 7 March 2019 with the aim to create awareness on women’s health among its faculties, students and the general public. The celebration began with a Women’s Health Awareness Campaign from 4 to 7 March whereby more than 500 participants benefitted from complimentary health checks on haemoglobin, blood pressure, blood glucose, BMI, total Body Composite analyses, and breast cancer self-screening. Meanwhile, a Health Awareness Talk and Forum was organised on 5 March. Themed “Empowering Women for Health”, the event featured renowned speakers from various specialities like healthcare, pharmacy, psychology, community health and engagement, and corporate bodies. Prof Abdul Aziz Baba, Vice-Chancellor, IMU, and Dr Ashley Barlow, Director and Head of Medical Management, Asia, Procter and Gamble Healthcare Company, took the stage to share a few words regarding health and women during the opening ceremony. Prof Abdul Aziz Baba explained the importance of celebrating Women’s Day every year and briefed about the series of activities that were planned at IMU to create health awareness among women while Dr Ashley Barlow shared information about the opportunities available in healthcare and pharmaceutical industries for women to boost up women empowerment. Dr Nicole Chen, Senior Lecturer, Psychology, IMU, in her talk on “Tips for Women to Handle Mental Challenges”, focused on the common challenges women faced and how they can overcome them through self-compassion. Dr Chen quoted the Dalai Lama as an inspiration to the audience: “If you want others to be happy, practise compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” Jass Liew, RPh, Medical Manager, Procter and Gamble Healthcare, emphasised the importance of treating different types of anaemia, especially iron-deficiency anaemia during the menstrual period. In her talk titled “Understanding Female Health: Journeying Through that Time of the Month”, she elaborated the complications of menorrhagia and how to manage those complications with appropriate drug therapy.
There was also a panel discussion on “Common Work-Life Challenges Faced by Women and Tips to Overcome these Challenges” moderated by Prof Khoo Suan Phaik, Associate Dean, Community Engagement, IMU, and featured panellists such as Dr Verna Lee Kar Mun, Clinical Associate Professor, Family Medicine, IMU; Dachaini Karuppiah, Assistant Manager, Recruitment and Development, CNS Corporation Sdn Bhd; Dr Nicole Chen and Jass Liew.
The panel discussed various common work-life challenges faced by women in their day-to-day life and how to combat all those challenges through holistic approaches. The speakers also shared their personal experiences and how they overcame their challenges.
In the closing note, A/Prof Mohd Zulkefeli bin Mat Jusoh, Dean, School of Pharmacy, IMU, shared his experience in supporting women when they were in difficult situations. Dr Zul thanked the speakers and participants for their interest and support in women’s health and also for supporting the event. All in all, it was a very successful event in which participants from various institutions and companies all agreed that the campaign, talk and forum were very well organised and timely. Kudos to the School of Pharmacy and organising secretary Dr Palanisamy Sivanandy, Lecturer, Department of Pharmacy Practice, IMU, for organising this wonderful event! Comments from the audience
|Chanthriga Eturajulu, Radiographer Officer, University Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC)||“It was an interesting and a fruitful session learning through other women’s experiences and challenges wearing different hats/roles and still being resilient in achieving their tasks at hand. Great tips from speakers on ways to overcome obstacles and how to stay strong and focused to achieve goals/desires.”|
|Matron Mrs Karthikayini Krishnasamy, Nursing Officer, UMMC||“The event was an eye-opener to all participants to honour every woman for their care, sacrifice and love to every human. Hope these celebrations will boost every woman for her success and motivate them to achieve their dreams.”|
|Boris Ting Ek Wu, IMU School of Pharmacy student and President of IMU Pharmacy Students Association (IPSA)||“It was both a fun and memorable event as we were given the chance to interact with people in creating awareness to women’s health. Thanks to all collaborators and organisers.”|
|Lo Con Nie, IMU School of Pharmacy student and Vice-President of IPSA||“As people can be asymptomatic with anaemia, many event participants only realised that they were potentially anaemic during the blood test on the day of campaign. Other health tests performed during the event also helped create health awareness as some participants had abnormal readings when measured. That is why this event proved to be a success in raising awareness.”|
The Women’s Health Awareness campaign, talk and forum was supported by IMU Healthcare, IMU Cares, IMU Pharmacy Students Association, Procter and Gamble Healthcare, and National Cancer Society Malaysia. The IMU School of Pharmacy would like to thank all our supporters, students, faculties, and higher management for their help and support, and the general public for their overwhelming response in making the event a success.
The COVID-19 pandemic and healthcare crisis have brought digital health into the spotlight. At the same time, Femtech has begun to attract more attention and discussion. Previously, women’s health was usually categorized under reproductive health. However, women’s health is more than just reproductive health. Women have long received care and treatment “designed for men, or designed by men”. In the age of precision health, it’s time for women to receive gender-specific treatment and care.