KUALA LUMPUR: Hospice Malaysia has initiated a campaign to support families who have a loved one suffering from a serious illness.
The “Speak Up – There’s an Elephant in the Room” campaign was launched by Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Hannah Yeoh to encourage conversations about the issue.
Yeoh said Malaysia was an ageing country, and by 2030, 51.3% would be aged 60 and above.
In her speech, she praised Hospice Malaysia for its effort and pledged her support by contributing RM10,000 towards the campaign.
“Illness does not just affect the patients but also their family, extended family and the community,” she said.
Yeoh said hospices would help patients and their loved ones discuss the issue openly.
Separately, she also said Malaysians continued to have the “not in my backyard syndrome” in relation to building new taska (kindergartens) and nursing homes at housing areas.
She said people should think and act for the whole community and start talking about these issues.
Hospice Malaysia chairman Datin Kathleen Chew said people should not fear but talk about the end of life.
“Less than 10% of the 56,000 Malaysians who require palliative care have access to it.
“The elephant in the room is too big to ignore.
“I hope this campaign will raise awareness among the public and we will have greater mobilisation of resources to integrate palliative care into the nation’s healthcare system so that it will be accessible to all in need one day,” Chew added.
In conjunction with this campaign, 10 life-sized baby elephant sculptures are placed at the KLCC Park Esplanade until Oct 14, from 10am to 10pm.
The public are encouraged to take pictures with the elephants and post them with #speakupforpalliativecare and share it on social media.
The Cik Gajah Limited Edition series have been created from sketches by artist Yusof Ismail, who is fondly known as Yusof Gajah, to draw attention to the issue.