As part of IMU’s ongoing strategy to improve the health status of the villagers of Kg Ulu Serendah, a year end health promotion activity was jointly organised by the Division of Community Medicine, Student Services Department, Student Representative Council, Division of Nutrition and Dietetics, and Institute of Research, Development and Innovation (IRDI), on 6 December 2014. However inclement weather and harsh conditions on the day did not deter the students and staff of IMU to conduct the activities as planned, and it proved to be a test of tenacity as narrated by IMU’s Associate Professor, Dr Verasingam Kumarasamy. “Sixth December, 6:00 am, the bus arrived in front of IMU. The students loaded the donated items and equipment into the bus for the 80 odd kilometres journey to Kg Ulu Serendah. Precisely at 6.30 am, the skies opened up, it started pouring buckets, the torrential rain ripping off the gravel on the road creating shallow puddles with rivulets of water flowing to the edges. Driving was difficult, visibility minimal but the bus lumbered on. It was a cold clammy wet morning. But more surprise awaited the students. Finally after 90 minutes the bus reached the base of the hill and began its 5 kilometre ascent to the village. Two kilometres from the village, the bus grinded to a sudden halt. Branches from an uprooted tree were leaning precariously over the narrow road, the driver went down to inspect. No way could he go through the foliage, it would have smashed the bus windscreen. It was still raining, but the show must go on. The vigour and exuberance of youth cannot be underestimated. The indomitable Dr Fabian (an IMU lecturer) utilised his own vehicle to run a shuttle service. The students transferred the equipment and the donated items to Dr Fabian’s car. Some students bravely tracked up the hill, arriving drenched to the bone.
The students worked furiously, under the guidance of the effervescent Ms May Kuan (a Student Services staff) and by 9:30 am, all the health promotion booths were ready to go; these included the health screening, nutrition, and health education and donations booths.
Around 10pm, the rain subsided, the sun peeped through the forest, and then another deluge began. This time it was the deluge of people, the old, the young, and the very young came crowding the various stations. Animated speakers from IMU were talking of the ills of smoking, dengue and intestinal parasites in the surau.
The BMI station was hectic with Dietetics with Nutrition students marshalled by Dr Tony (a lecturer) counselling the overweight and underweight. In the screening station, 150 adults were screened for diabetes and hypertension and minor ailments were treated.
Forty children were dewormed. Two patients were referred to the hospital for further treatment. Every child was given a 120 ml bottle of multivitamin syrup, costing RM45, each. The multivitamins were kindly donated by a local pharmaceutical firm.
The donations booth was busy dishing out goodie bags to adults and children. They were also new slippers from Banana Peel. Food packets were distributed to the villagers.
Overall 150 bottles of multivitamin, 91kg of flour, 108kg of sugar, 108kg of cooking oil and 108 packets of BOH tea were delivered to the happy villagers.
By 1:00pm it was all over. The students began their long trek back to the bus. They were weary but were content with the thought that, today, they had made a small difference in the lives of the people of Kg Ulu Serendah.
Indeed the students and staff had worked with a heart full of grace and soul full of love. Truly on this day, 6 December 2014, the students and the staff were living the values IMU stand for.” The Kampung Angkat project at the International Medical University (IMU) was initiated in 2007 as part of the University Community Social Responsibility (CSR) under “IMU Cares” programme. Under this programme, each of IMU’s three campuses adopted a village identified to have health and social issues and lacking in basic health infrastructure. One of these villages is Kampung Ulu Serendah, Selangor. The objectives of the programme was to enable IMU’s undergraduate students to become aware of the inequities in healthcare and the social determinants of health and appropriately respond to the health needs of the villagers. These activities included regular free health screening, treatment of minor ailments, referrals to hospitals and clinics, and distributing food, clothes and other items collected through individual and corporate donations. Through the various activities held throughout the year the students are able to enhance their experiential learning, and develop leadership, communication and organisational skills. Significantly the activities help to instill in the students, a passion for service to their fellow man and inculcate values that will enhance their professional lives in the future.” Watch the video on the activities at this event: http://youtu.be/dQsxlqKbnAc