This speech was read by the Director General of Health Malaysia, Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah at the Opening Ceremony of 1M-World Congress in Sports and Exercise Medicine, 29 August 2014, 8.00 pm, Royal Chulan Kuala Lumpur
Yang Amat Berbahagia Datin Paduka Seri Rosmah binti Mansor,
Patron of the Society of Sports & Exercise Medicine Malaysia
Yang Berbahagia Prof. Datuk Dr. Hj. Mohd Mydin bin Mohd Musa,
President of the Society of Sports & Exercise Medicine Malaysia (SSEMM)
Ladies and gentlemen,
Greetings and Salam 1 Malaysia!
1. It is indeed a pleasure and an honour to be amongst such distinguished company and we are especially proud and privileged to have with us today YAB Yang Amat Berbahagia Datin Paduka Seri Rosmah binti Mansor, who is the patron of the Society of Sports & Exercise Medicine Malaysia. My heart-felt and sincere thanks to the organisers for their kind invitation to be here to celebrate together with everyone present, the 1M-WCSEM2014 in Kuala Lumpur.
2. I am very pleased that Malaysia has been given the privilege and honour of hosting an important world congress in the field of Sports & Exercise Medicine and I am confident that this congress will be a resounding success. I am pleased that SSEMM has set its objectives of creating awareness in this field and to give it the attention that it deserves amongst the sporting fraternity.
3. I am also delighted to know that under the capable leadership of Prof. Datuk Dr. Hj. Mohd Mydin bin Mohd Musa, the Society of Sports & Exercise Medicine Malaysia (SSEMM) has succeeded in organising three International Congresses and the First World Congress in Sports & Exercise Medicine, within the last 4 years. It is indeed a commendable and impressive feat!
Ladies and Gentlemen,
4. Behind the glamour and glitter surrounding significant sporting events such as the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup Soccer, is this relatively less well known field of sports medicine. I understand that Sports & Exercise Medicine is a specialised area of health services that applies medical and scientific knowledge to prevent, recognise, manage and rehabilitate injuries related to sports, exercise or recreational activity. As a specialised field, it consists of sports administration, sports psychology, traumatology, orthopaedics, physiotherapy, nutrition, demography and biomechanics.
5. The Sports Medicine Services was initiated in the Ministry of Health, Malaysia in 2003. Sports Medicine is already an established specialty in many developed countries and its development in Malaysia has been progressing steadily. This relatively new specialty was initially practised primarily by physicians associated with professional sports teams. However, with increased interest in amateur sports and physical fitness programmes in the 1970s and 1980s, it grew rapidly. In Malaysia, sports injuries have been treated traditionally by Orthopaedic surgeons both in the public and private sectors. The various sports associations at both national and state levels have been utilizing the services offered by medical personnel to deal with sports injuries of their players.
6. Many of these injuries were subsequently referred to Orthopaedic surgeons for definitive treatment. With the establishment of the Sports Medicine unit under the Orthopaedic Department in selected MOH hospitals, these sports related injuries will receive an even more comprehensive and integrated care in the presence of Sports Physicians. These services encompass in-patient as well as out-patient services, which include the Sports Medicine specialist clinic, Combined clinics with the Orthopaedic surgeons, pre and post operative evaluation of simple and complicated arthroscopic surgeries, sports rehabilitation programme and ‘Return to Play’ programme. Coverage for sporting events both at international and local levels are also available. There is also an Obesity and Exercise prescription clinic to cater to the needs of members of the public who suffer from chronic diseases. This clinic also promotes healthy lifestyle to the public.
7. At the moment, there are 12 Sports Physicians in the MOH and 10 hospitals are providing the services that are spearheaded by them. They are Hospital Kuala Lumpur, Hospital Queen Elizabeth Kota Kinabalu, Hospital Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Klang, Hospital Serdang, Hospital Sungai Buloh, Hospital Selayang, Hospital Rehabilitasi Cheras, Hospital Tuanku Jaafar Seremban, Hospital Raja Permaisuri Bainun Ipoh and Hospital Raja Perempuan Zainab II Kota Bharu. It is our noble aim and fervent hope that the number of hospitals with this service will increase in the near future, for the betterment of Sports Medicine specifically and the advancement of the Sports Sciences in general.
8. I am delighted to know that the president of SSEMM is on an ambitious mission to make Malaysians aware of Sports & Exercise Medicine. I have been informed that through a memorandum of understanding between SSEMM and the University of Bath, United Kingdom, SSEMM has created more avenues and opportunities to produce a bigger pool of sports medicine specialists. To its credit, SSEMM has gone to the next level by signing a memorandum of understanding with the British Association of Sports & Exercise Medicine to further disseminate the knowledge and application of sports medicine. Congratulations!
Ladies & Gentlemen,
9. There is an important issue that needs attending to which would otherwise cause discontentment amongst the our athletes with paraplegia. For example, when our Olympians returned home, there was a huge turnover of enthusiasts, the public and the media to welcome and congratulate the victorious Olympic team. But when the victorious paralympians returned with silver or bronze medals, there was hardly anyone to welcome them! I would like to ask, “Why?”
10. I am pleased to know that, to help address this matter, SSEMM is embarking on a mission to Sao Paulo University in order to collaborate with the University of Bath on the scientific methodology to prevent predictable injury and to create latest technology for the Paralympians. As a nation working together for better health, we will need to come up with solutions to improve the performance of Paralympians. We will also need to find ways of providing these Paralympians who return victorious, whether they have won gold, silver or bronze, better incentives and be accorded equal recognition and media coverage in future.
11. The MOH is appreciative of such commendable endeavours undertaken by SSEMM for the welfare of the less fortunate athletes. They too train as much as or even harder than their able bodied counterparts. We have to find ways to provide them with modern paraphernalia such as better artificial limbs and appliances which can help prevent predictable injuries.
12. For the betterment of sports in general, every sports medicine specialist should be at the forefront in creating awareness of reducing injuries while on the field. Similarly, I would be happy if all ministries allied to sports make efforts to ensure that such events free from mishaps such as preventable injuries.
Ladies & Gentlemen,
13. The MOH’s plan to develop the discipline of Sports Medicine are as follows:
• increase the number of trained sport surgeons, sport medicine physicians, rehabilitative medicine specialists, physiotherapists and other related paramedical staff to cope with the increasing workload
• set up a Centre of Excellence for Sport Medicine in selected regions and hospitals in the near future as a focus for multidisciplinary care. The objective of this Centre of Excellence are to provide a quality & comprehensive care to recreational, non-professional and professional athletes, to promote Sports & Exercise as a Malaysian culture at various levels of our society and to collaborate with different agencies for the advancement of Sport Sciences
• upgrade the equipment to handle complicated sport cases at national and regional centres as well as provide basic equipment for all State hospitals and hospitals with Orthopaedic services to handle simple arthroscopic surgery
• maintain the existing equipment to ensure that they are in good working condition and replace the damaged ones
• increase basic operating facilities and the time allocated for sport surgeries at all levels
• getting appropriate and adequate investigational tools appropriate for each level of service.
• conduct more Continuous Medical Education (CME) programmes especially in the field of sports medicine for the Sports Medicine physician, Orthopaedic surgeons and related paramedical staff to ensure that they are equipped with the requisite knowledge and competencies required, as well as making sure they are up to date with recent advances in this field.
14. It is hoped that with all these efforts, the ministry’s aspiration of making Sports Medicine flourish and achieve the level that we’ve been dreaming of will soon be realised. It is also hoped that collaborations with professional organizations such as SSEMM itself, sports organizations, other ministries and governmental bodies as well as other relevant NGOs will be able to help the government in promoting exercise amongst its population. This is especially vital in our war against Non-Communicable Diseases and their sequelae. The public must be made aware of the importance of “regular exercise or physical activity in moderation” to ensure that we will enjoy not only good physical health but also significant psychological and cognitive benefits, which are also essential for their good performance in the workplace.
15. In conclusion, I would like to wish you every success and hope that everyone will work together, in the spirit of togetherness and collaboration and, as a nation working together for better health, to make this congress a success. To our overseas participants and speakers, let me welcome you to our beautiful country and do partake of our local attractions as well as well as our multicultural cuisine and do savour the warm Malaysian hospitality that we have to offer.
Wishing you a fruitful and memorable congress.