Don't be driven by profits, medical sector told


  • Nation
  • Friday, 14 Feb 2003

BY NICK LEONG

KUALA LUMPUR: People working in the medical sector should not be driven by profits but should broaden their concern to cover the well-being of the society and the world as a whole, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad said. 

He said the health of humanity was not as it should be, considering the advancement in our knowledge of the human body and the state of modern science and technology. 

“We seem to prefer spending huge sums in developing new ways to kill people rather than saving them. We shall not wipe out AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, or any of the other infectious diseases that plague the developing world because too little money is being spent on research to cure or prevent these diseases. 

“These are diseases of the poor who will not be able to pay for the cost of research. But research on impotency and its cure promises more returns. So vast amounts are dedicated to the problems of the rich who are the people keen on restoring their virility,'' he said at the 11th general meeting of the Asian Society for Cardiovascular Surgery (ASCVS) yesterday. 

Dr Mahathir said the Government had gone to great lengths to give equal access to cardiac care for all Malaysians. 

However, he said the sophistication of the latest technology would come to nought if the surgeon and his team were not adept at using them. 

“We are building a large number of ultra-modern fully-equipped paperless hospitals costing billions of ringgit. But we may see them as white elephants because we cannot staff them,'' he said. 

Dr Mahathir, who was a medical practitioner, said surgeons should also try to provide the “human touch” to their patients. 

“Surgery is not just a matter of applying skill and knowledge to cure a patient. He must understand the worries of the patient and the family. The human touch on the part of the surgeon is all-important,'' he added.  

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