Makna sets up halfway house in Johor Baru for cancer patients

(From left) HSI Oncology & Radiotherapy Department specialist Dr Myat Soe Khine, Norlija, Makna Division Services head Imelda Suhanti Ishak and Vemanna at the halfway house.

KUALA LUMPUR: Makna launched a new Halfway House (Rumah Perantaraan Makna Johor) in Taman Austin Perdana Johor Baru.

The house, the first of nine that Makna planned to open in the peninsular and East Malaysia, provides temporary accommodation to cancer patients seeking treatment at Hospital Sultan Ismail (HSI) or Hospital Sultanah Aminah (HSA).

This service was started in 2008 in Johor Baru where Makna opened its first halfway house in collaboration with HSI, with the objective of providing accommodation to patients, especially those undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy, to avoid having to travel back and forth between the hospitals and their homes for the duration of their treatment.

Many of these patients are unable to afford the expenses incurred by the travels while some may not be physically fit to undertake the journey repeatedly.

As a result, patients are prone to discontinue or abandon their treatment before completion, thus jeopardising their chances of recovery.

By providing short-term, free-of-charge accommodation for patients and their caregivers, Makna hopes to ease their burden and to help patients continue their treatments without interruption.

The first halfway house accommodated 89 patients since it opened its doors in 2008 until 2015. The launch of the house in Taman Austin Perdana marks the beginning of a new generation of Halfway Houses by Makna where not just accommodation but also a better, more condusive and relaxing atmosphere is provided to ensure patients feel at home and are comfortable during their stay.

In a project that is expected to span two years, Makna plans to launch a total of nine new generation Halfway Houses.

These houses will be located near government hospitals that provide radiotherapy and chemotherapy services, with emphasis on providing a more homely atmosphere for patients.

The launch was officiated by Head of Social Welfare Department of HSI Norlija Kassim, accompanied by deputy general manager of Makna Vemanna Appannah.

“The Halfway House is one of the many services Makna provides for patients who are in need of aid as they undergo treatment to battle cancer.

“Through our interaction with patients we have found that one of the major obstacles they face when seeking treatment was having to travel the distance between their homes and the hospitals, which could be both physically and financially draining, especially for treatment such as radiotherapy that requires repeated, frequent visits.

“Having such a facility would help ease patients’ burden,” said Vemanna.

“We hope this would encourage patients to continue with their treatments, especially those from remote areas who would have to travel long distances from their homes to the hospitals,” he added.

The Halfway House in Taman Austin Perdana comes with four fully furnished bedrooms and a living room in addition to a kitchen with basic items. Simple breakfast is provided for free by Makna.

The house is located 10 minutes away from HSI and 30 minutes from HSA – near enough to the hospitals to enable patients to receive quick medical attention in the event of an emergency.

Makna also provides transport for patients to and from the hospitals for the entire duration of their stay.

Much thought has been put into the interior of the house as well.

“We want patients to feel at home. Most importantly, we hope to provide a healthy, calming and supportive environment for patients as they undergo treatment,” said Vemanna.

The Halfway House in Taman Austin Perdana is the first of nine that Makna plans to launch nationwide, including in East Malaysia, as a move to expand on this much needed service and to better serve cancer patients.

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