Speech by DG: Hospital Kuala Lumpur published Handbook on Electroconvulsive Therapy.

This keynote address was read by Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, the Director General of Health Malaysia in the Opening Ceremony of 9th Kuala Lumpur Mental Health Conference 2014, 26 August 2014, PWTC KL.

Assalamualaikum w.b.t. and salam satu Malaysia.

Our distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

I would like to wish all of you a very good morning.

I am delighted to be here with you today, at the 9th Kuala Lumpur Mental Health Conference 2014. I would like to congratulate the organizer, Badan Kebajikan Psikiatri (BKP) and the Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health of Hospital Kuala Lumpur for this endeavor. I am told the conference will focus on diversity of mind and unity in care in psychiatry. Let me therefore add a word of welcome to all speakers and participants a fruitful deliberation at this conference.

This conference aims to highlight the important collaboration and networking among psychiatry, medical and surgical disciplines. Based on the conference program, I am pleased to note that the role of mental professions have become more diverse involving many diseases and critical situation, ranging from breast cancer to even disaster situation like the recent Lahad Datu intrusion as well as the aviation tragedies of MH17 and MH370. Therefore I am very happy to note symposiums like breast cancer and psychiatry, teenage pregnancy, disaster psychiatry, and many others. These symposiums show us that in order to provide the most optimal patient care, cooperation and networking among different discipline and specialty is crucial.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Stigma experienced by the mental health professionals is significant but mostly ignored. Common perceptions within the medical profession include the view that psychiatry is just not scientific enough, is too remote from the rest of medicine, is often viewed negatively by other medical professionals, and is a specialty too often characterized by difficult doctor-patient relationships and limited success rates of therapeutic interventions. Only psychiatrist and mental heal professionals can make a difference and change this perception. Psychiatrists and mental health professions must take pride in their own work, providing excellent quality work for patients and strive to bring up the status of psychiatry in the country and region through clinical work, training and research. This conference is a good platform for psychiatrist and mental professional to promote the “true colors” of psychiatry and in the future conference I hope more of your colleagues from other disciplines will be invited to participate.

Ladies and gentlemen

Psychiatric research is another important component with regards to the future of psychiatry in Malaysia. I am happy to see numerous research and publications have come out from the Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, Hospital Kuala Lumpur. In the recent years, the department has actively published results from the National Mental Health Registry of Schizophrenia. The department also involved in numerous national regional and international research collaborations such as the international stigma and discrimination project in schizophrenia and depression, Asia-Pacific psychotropic prescription pattern study and many others. Time has come for us to move away from presenting local data to testing and establishing hypothesis. There also seems to be a lack of research in basic science involving genetics and other biological areas. In Malaysia presently, there is a need for more research that examines the relationships among genetic, neuroimaging (functional and structural), behavioral, developmental, social, and other factors in greater depth. This is important to understand the causes of the disorder and how it can be predicted and prevented. A concerted effort by the Ministry of Health and universities is needed to meet this demand through research initiatives. Collaboration among centres may be one of the ways to overcome limited resources within a single centre.

I am very glad to know the Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, Hospital Kuala Lumpur has been providing excellent training to medical students from several universities, such as UPM, MAHSA, Perdana University, UTAR, and others; to post-graduate trainees from UKM, UM, UPM, UiTM, and USM; to sub-specialty fellowship trainees in the field of neuropsychiatry, geriatric psychiatry, addiction psychiatry, community psychiatry and child & adolescent psychiatry. Integrity and identity of the profession are very much dependent on how psychiatry is being trained. Training of psychiatry must consider the interaction between psychiatry and the other medical disciplines and supportive agencies like NGO. Psychiatry and the other medical disciplines are interrelated and interdependent, neither can survive on its own. Trainees need to understand this and embrace this relationship.

I am very pleased that the Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, Hospital Kuala Lumpur has successfully organized the 9th Kuala Lumpur Mental Health Conference 2014, with the theme “Diversity of Minds, Unity in Care”. This conference is indeed a reflection of the future of psychiatry in Malaysia; clear identity, strong integrity, networking and collaboration with various specialty and agencies with one goal in mind, excellent mental health care.

On this note of excellent mental health care, I would also like to congratulate the Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, Hospital Kuala Lumpur, particularly Dr. Chee Kok Yoon, Dr. Ong Kheng Yee and Dr. Salina Abdul Aziz for their great effort in publishing the Hospital Kuala Lumpur Handbook on Electroconvulsive Therapy. Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) currently is the only special procedure (in psychiatry) that requires privileging and credentialing in Ministry of Health, Malaysia. In many situations, ECT is also either the last resort in treating psychiatric disorder or sometimes beyond the last resort. The handbook is very important in order to ensure the effectiveness and safety of ECT to our patient, and I believe this handbook will be a significant milestone in psychiatric care. This handbook covers the topic from the indications and adverse events of ECT to ECT in special population such as elderly, children and adolescents, and medically ill people.

Lastly, it is my pleasure to declare the 9th Kuala Lumpur Mental Health Conference 2014 officially opens.

Thank you.

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