More genetic counsellors needed in Malaysia, says expert

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 10 Sep 2019

Interview consultant clinical prof thong meow keong

KUALA LUMPUR: There is a need for more genetic counsellors to address preventable genetic-related health issues that people face such as diabetes, thalassemia and cancers but there is a lack of governmental recognition of the post, says Genetic Counselling Society Malaysia (GCSM) special advisor Prof Dr Thong Meow Keong (pic).

Dr Thong said there were only seven such counsellors in the country currently and universities face the dilemma of whether to train more counsellors because there was a lack of governmental recognition.

"For example, if the Public Service Department does not recognise genetic counsellors currently, this poses a dilemma to universities as we will be producing graduates with no jobs," he said the first genomic and genetic counselling workshop and the launch of GCSM here Tuesday (Sept 10).

Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye, who launched the event, said the ministry would look into it and see if there was a need.

"I do think that there is a need. But on the flip side, there are lots of courses being done in universities where there is no guarantee of employment by the government," he said.

However, he said that the market (private sector) could absorb the posts, not just government agencies.

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