Cultivating a caring generation of doctors

NUMed students and volunteers during the health camp at SK Kampung Pulai, Johor.

OVER the years, global healthcare systems have undergone numerous reforms, advancements and improvements.

Nevertheless, throughout all these transformations, the vital role of empathy as a cornerstone in providing efficient healthcare to individuals and communities has remained consistent.

Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia (NUMed) recently organised a health camp at SK Kampung Pulai, Johor, as part of its commitment to produce highly empathetic medical professionals through the delivery of quality education.

The event was attended by some 160 villagers, 350 schoolchildren, 70 NUMed volunteers and 20 Health Ministry volunteers.

The health camp was aimed at giving back to society as well as allowing students to develop clinical knowledge and skills while learning from patients in various clinics and hospitals in Johor.

The camp was also intended to raise awareness about healthcare and the importance of medical screening, especially with the increase in cases of non-communicable diseases among communities with poorer access to quality healthcare.

“We want to balance the scales by bringing quality healthcare education and screening to the doorsteps of these communities, while striving to promote healthier lifestyles,” said health camp chairman and NUMed Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) student Timothy Ho Joo Hin.

Meanwhile, the health camp’s co-chairman and fellow student Anisah Farhana Sahrir said public health was often overlooked and underrated.

“Public health strategies have been pivotal to the entire global Covid-19 response. Therefore, it was important to bring back this public health initiative after a three-year hiatus.

“Furthermore, the health camp allowed us to practise our clinical skills before starting work as trainee doctors,” she added.

The initiative was also helpful in overcoming social stigmas.

Through careful explanation and informed consent, students encouraged many participants to get mental health checks and pap smears, among other things.

Other noteworthy activities during the one-day programme were healthcare education for schoolchildren, mini clinics and a mobile clinic that reached out to patients with limited mobility at eight houses in the village.

Anisah also said that through the health camp, they were able to gain firsthand experience on how to manage and treat patients.

“We were also able to practise our clinical skills and apply knowledge that we have gained throughout the years in NUMed.”

Ho said in terms of educational standing, this batch of students were a testament to the quality that NUMed provides.

“The university has produced individuals who are not afraid to step outside of their comfort zone and provide quality healthcare to those in need.

“Furthermore, one of the key highlights of the health camp was providing healthcare information through every booth, including for children as young as six.

“This showcases NUMed as a public health education hub that expands beyond the traditional boundaries of a tertiary institution.”

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