Use of biomedical informatics technology hailed

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 19 Dec 2004

KUALA LUMPUR: The Government welcomes the use of biomedical informatics technology – which employs supercomputers to process huge amounts of medical data – as it can help save lives. 

Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek said researchers using biomedical informatics were now able to map and pinpoint abnormalities in genes. 

“Through genetic identification, we can recognise a disease even before a child is born 

“The ultimate goal is to use such information to develop new ways to treat, cure or prevent thousands of diseases that afflict humankind,” he said before opening the First National Biomedical Informatics Conference and Exhibition at Universiti Malaya yesterday. 

While acknowledging that Malaysia currently did not have enough expertise and skills in this comparatively new field, he challenged the participants to “prove to the world that Malaysia can be a formidable force in this field”. 

The minister later witnessed the signing of a memorandum between the university and Virescent Sdn Bhd to undertake research, development and training programmes in areas of bio-informatics and bio-computing.  

On the proposed National Health Financing Scheme, Chua reiterated that it was not a private sector project nor was it an insurance scheme to be purchased by the public. 

“It's a scheme with cost- and risk-sharing where the rich will be subsidising the poor to help reduce the Government's health cost burden. 

“However, the welfare of the poor, unemployed, civil servants and those in need will not be neglected. The Government will still look after them as we are aware that 35% of households have incomes of less than RM1,500 a month,” he said. 

Chua said the payment rate has not been finalised as consultants were looking at various models and still fine-tuning the mechanism to suit the Malaysian context. 

On the full-paying patients scheme, he said it was an option for the public who wished to be treated by specific consultants in the Selayang and Putrajaya hospitals. 

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