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IMU Community Project Raises Awareness on Health and Wellness of Desa Petaling Community

01 Nov 2019

6 October 2019 – On a lovely Sunday morning, more than 90 staff and students from the International Medical University (IMU) congregated at PPR Desa Petaling to spend their Sunday with the community and raise the community’s awareness on their health and wellness. Commenting on this project which is conducted in collaboration with IMU Cares, Prof Khoo Suan Phaik, Associate Dean, Community Engagement, said, “According to our Health Minister, some 3.6 million Malaysians are suffering from diabetes, the highest rate of incidence in Asia and one of the highest in the world. Many of the communities all over Malaysia are not aware that they have diabetes until they have a heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, go blind or have amputations. Seeing the importance of preventing diabetes, IMU Cares, IRDI, the Ministry of Health of Malaysia (MOH) together with an identified community embarked on a diabetic prevention project. This is a one-year interventional programme where the community themselves will be actively engaged to contribute towards their own well-being. This is IMU’s first community participatory action research programme. I believe that there has not been such a project done before on this scale.” IMU’s first community participatory action research programme.IMU’s first community participatory action research programme. Project Leader, Dr Elaine Chan Wan Ling adds, “The idea of having this community project was to determine the prevalence of pre-diabetes at PPR Desa Petaling and determine the effectiveness of a community-based behavioural interventions conducted by IMU professionals who are experts in their field of healthcare together with IMU students (MPU activities). Working hand-in-hand with the community, all parties aim to provide an incremental benefit in health, behavioural and clinical outcomes for identified pre-diabetes individuals. This community (PPR Desa Petaling) was a community identified by the Ministry of Health that would benefit from such a programme. After numerous painstaking steps engaging all parties prior to this, I am happy to see that this has come to fruition with the first activity on 6 October 2019”. Representing KOSPEN Desa Petaling at the event, En Mohd Khairul Afiq said, “I represent the KOSPEN Desa Petaling and was initially approached by Dr Elaine to conduct this health screening activity at the PPR Desa Petaling to kick off the programme. We had previously conducted health screenings at this PPR before but what Dr Elaine suggested for her health screening activity was more comprehensive and more wholesome to the residents. So, I believe that is what attracts many members of the community to participate in this activity which is a very promising start to the one-year programme we had discussed. Overall, I am very satisfied with the turnout today.” IMU’s first community participatory action research programme.IMU’s first community participatory action research programme. This event hosted 6 stations providing valuable information to attendees about health and wellness, educational opportunities and health screenings. Music as well as fun and interactive activities were on-going throughout the half day to attract more members of community to the event. “It was a combination of a health screening activity with many educational and games booths and a lucky draw. The staffs and students that volunteered on that day of the event were glad that they were able to use their professional skills in serving the community. A total of 22 IMU staff and medical officers and nurses from the MOH together with over 70 students engaged the residents to support the planned activities. After this, the data will be collated for identification of risk factors among diabetes/pre-diabetes in order to identify and work on the risk factors. This will then be followed by a year-long community-participatory action intervention programme which will be aimed at promoting healthy lifestyle through changes in diet and physical activities,“ adds Dr Elaine. At the Mental Health station, Dr Teoh Gaik Kin, a psychologist commented that “This planned activity has led us to learn more about the challenges faced by the residents in enhancing their health through education and screening, as some of the residents disclosed that most of the time, they lack proper meals in a day. We greatly appreciate the openness and participation of most residents when we invited them and conducted the exercise with them. We also appreciate very much Dr Nicole Chen, who tirelessly explained the technique of relaxation to participants, withstanding the limitation of time and space.” Dr Suzana from the Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) Unit of the Klinik Kesihatan commented on the launch of the programme via the Health Carnival, “The health screening programme at KOSPEN community by IMU was comprehensive and would benefit the community in offering such a wide range of health services. This idea is very interesting as an alternative way to attract a crowd from the community rather than offering material base attraction. Partnership with government health clinics and a district health office is a brilliant idea to offer a variety of health service from health screening, dental service, health educational eg diet, chiropractic, mental to the extent of women’s health via pap smear and HPV DNA testing. Today is the beginning of a long-term community-based behavioural intervention. At completion of the programme, we will be able to evaluate the effectiveness, impact and sustainability of the programme.” “This activity at PPR Desa Petaling on 6 October 2019 was the first step of many steps within this one-year long programme where we will be meeting up monthly with the identified at-risk residents (at-risk for diabetes), to work closely together with them every month. It was definitely a great start to see the good response from members of the PPR Desa Petaling Community and we look forward to beneficial outcomes for the community. Prof Datuk Lokman was instrumental in making the collaboration with KOSPEN, MOH possible and we are grateful for his guidance ” adds Prof Khoo.

What The Community Say
This is a very good programme to find out the health status of the community, – Khairunnisa Che Othman
Happy that there is such a beneficial event in the community – Balachandran A/L Rajendran
Service at each station is fast and there are many students to entertain and converse with  those who are waiting. – Tan Ew Han

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