Parkinson's meet


  • Health
  • Sunday, 13 Apr 2003

BY Dr CHEW NEE KONG

THE Malaysian Parkinson’s Disease Association (MPDA) will hold its 10th annual gathering at the Crystal Crown Hotel, Petaling Jaya, from noon to 5pm on April 20, 2003. The event is held in conjunction with World’s Parkinson Day that falls on April 11. An estimated 150 people will attend the gathering, consisting of patients and caregivers.  

The objectives of the annual gathering are to facilitate social interaction among patients/caregivers and to increase the awareness of Parkinson’s disease in the general public. 

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive, neurological disorder that mainly affects elderly people. It is characterised by a deficiency of dopamine, a biochemical substance in the brain that is important for co-ordination of body movement. The deficiency of dopamine leads to symptoms such as tremor, stiffness and slowness of movement. In addition, there may be stooped posture, a reduced facial expression, difficulty speaking and postural imbalance.  

At present, there is still no cure for this illness. With the expected rise in the proportion of elderly people in the next few decades, more and more people will be suffering from the physical and mental disability caused by Parkinson’s disease. Thus, it should be recognised as a major health burden in the years to come.  

The MPDA is the sole non-governmental and patient-based organisation that represents all the Parkinson patients in the country. It was founded by Lloyd Tan Pao Chan, a Parkinson sufferer himself, in September 1994. Currently, there are about 300 members.  

The committee members are voluntary workers and comprise mostly patients or caregivers from all walks of life. The main objectives of MPDA are to provide health education on Parkinson’s disease and to provide moral support for patients.  

Some of the activities and projects of MPDA include: 

  • Monthly seminars/talks on various aspects of Parkinson’s disease at the Pantai Medical Centre, Jalan Pantai Baru.  

  • A bi-monthly newsletter called Berita Parkinson to provide up-to-date information on Parkinson’s disease and the activities of MPDA.  

  • A day care centre in Petaling Jaya that caters only for Parkinson patients  

  • A fund-raising charity dinner in August 2003 that is a joint project of MPDA and the Lions Club (Subang Jaya). 

  • The establishment of a MPDA branch in Penang that coincides with a public forum on Parkinson’s disease on June 22, 2003 in Penang.  

    The MPDA would like to invite the patients and caregivers to come forward and give their support to all its activities. Through the MPDA, patients and caregivers can help all the Parkinson patients in Malaysia to have a better quality of life.  

     

  • Dr Chew Nee Kong is attached to the Department of Medicine, Universiti Malaya Medical Centre, and is president of MPDA. 

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