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Oleh/By		:	DATO' SERI DR. MAHATHIR BIN MOHAMAD 
Tempat/Venue 	:	THE HILTON HOTEL, KUALA LUMPUR (K.L) 
Tarikh/Date 	: 	19/06/90 
Tajuk/Title  	: 	THE 9TH REGIONAL CONFERENCE 
			OF DERMATOLOGY 




 Yang Berhormat Encik Ng Cheng Kiat,
     Minister of Health;
Associate Professor H.C. Ting,
     Chairman of the Conference Organising Committee;
Distinguished guests;
Ladies and gentlemen.
    I  am  honoured to be invited to declare open this Con-
ference.  I am informed that this Conference  is  being  at-
tended  by  the  medical  fraternity  from  the Asia-Pacific
Region, North America and Europe.  Given the prominence  and
attention  accorded  to  this gathering, I hope it will meet
the objectives set by the organisers  and  contribute  posi-
tively to the development of dermatology.
Ladies and gentlemen,
2.   Over  the  past two decades, medical technology has de-
veloped at a bewildering pace.  Each year, more and more so-
phisticated and innovative technologies  are  introduced  to
the  profession.    The health care delivery system is being
subjected to greater and more diverse pressures than in  the
past  and  there  is constant demand for the introduction of
new technology in clinical practice.
3.   As resources will always be limited, there is a need to
be judicious in the use of available funds so that  it  will
reach  the greatest number of people and yield maximum bene-
fit.  While new technologies may  improve  tremendously  the
effect  of  treatment, their cost escalate rapidly with each
new advance.  Developing countries may not be able to afford
some of the technologies no matter how efficacious.
4.   I understand that several new technologies like  inves-
tigative    dermatology,   computer   technology   and   new
immunoflourescence techniques have brought exciting new ele-
ments into dermatology.  Such technologies have  managed  to
capture  the  imagination of young doctors especially in de-
veloped countries.  This Conference, I am pleased  to  note,
will  be  discussing these technologies.  Hopefully, after a
glimpse of what future dermatology has to offer,  this  Con-
ference  can  generate  more  interest and inspire our young
doctors to embark on a career in this not too popular  field
of medicine.
Ladies and gentlemen,
5.   The  government  of  Malaysia is committed to providing
for the health needs of the people.  We are ready to respond
to the changing needs by upgrading our facilities and intro-
ducing new services.   Malaysia however is  still  facing  a
shortage   of   medical   specialists   in  various  fields,
dermatology being no exception.   About 9% of  our  hospital
outpatient  attendances  present  with skin problems and the
demand for this service is high.   We  therefore  need  more
dermatologists  to  cope with the increasing demand and also
to develop this field further.  In the past, dermatology did
not appear to be glamorous or interesting enough to  attract
many  of  our doctors to give it their life-long commitment.
Given the new developments and  technologies,  however,  the
Malaysian  Government hopes more members of the medical fra-
ternity will specialise in this field in the future.  It  is
axiomatic  that skin diseases cannot be completely cured and
yet they do not kill.  And so the patients  keep  on  coming
and  'harassing'  the  doctors with their conditions.  It is
altogether very frustrating  for  the  doctor  although,  of
course,  they  can provide a lifetime income for the practi-
tioner.
6.    We have identified several new services in dermatology
to be developed such as dermatopathology and photobiology to
ensure a more effective skin care for the  population.    In
this  respect,  our  specialists  can play a greater role in
guiding and encouraging young doctors to pursue this  field,
not  only  because  the  country needs them but also because
dermatology can be as interesting and exciting as any  other
field in medicine, given the new technologies.
Ladies and gentlemen,
7.   There is a staggering number of chemicals and cosmetics
flooding  the  markets  each year.   The blatant use of such
chemicals and cosmetics in industries and at home,  has  not
been  properly controlled and for a long time remained rela-
tively unchecked.  As a result, we now have to cope with in-
creasing  numbers  of  occupational  diseases  and   contact
dermatitis.  These diseases could easily have been prevented
through  proper handling and usage of the chemicals.  Educa-
tion for the producers and consumers alike on the  need  for
the  enforcement and maintenance of high safety standards in
working areas and usage of proper labels  on  consumer  pro-
ducts  are  major immediate remedial steps to be considered.
I am happy to note that this Conference will  be  discussing
industrial  and  cosmetic dermatoses amongst the many topics
that will be discussed.  These deliberations will enable the
prevention, treatment and control of these  diseases  to  be
more effective.
8.   We  must  also  stress that in our search for new fron-
tiers to explore, we also need to strengthen  and  intensify
our  preventive  health care programmes.   As you are aware,
there is universal concern over  the  control  of  sexually-
transmitted diseases.  AIDS in particular has become a major
global  health  problem.   Presently, with the cure for AIDS
unlikely to be found soon, prevention is the only  effective
way to curb the spread of this deadly disease.  Here the use
of illegal drugs is of particular concern.  As elsewhere the
incidence of AIDS in Malaysia is greater among drug addicts.
Prevention  of  the spread of drug abuse by any means is es-
sential in the protection of the public from  becoming  vic-
tims  of this disease.  Additionally unawareness on the part
of doctors about the possibility of patients having AIDS may
result in unfortunate accidents.
9.   In Malaysia, we have taken some measures to  check  and
eliminate AIDS.  New measures will be considered if they are
deemed  necessary.    Besides  AIDS, we have intensified our
health campaign drives against five  other  diseases.    The
Malaysian medical authorities are organising a major nation-
wide  programme against heart diseases, hepatitis B, cancer,
diabetes and hypertension.
10.  Much of this programme will involve promoting awareness
of the need to inculcate a healthy lifestyle.  These include
the value of regular physical exercise,  good  personal  hy-
giene,  healthy  dietary habits and well-adjusted family re-
lationships to  ensure  that  maximum  level  of  health  is
achieved.   It is important for every one to realise and ac-
cept that the ultimate responsibility for one's  own  health
particularly the preventive aspect lies with the individual,
and  I  hope  this programme will help to persuade people of
this reality, and will be well received by everyone  in  the
community.
Ladies and gentlemen,
11.  Once again I wish to thank the Organising Committee for
inviting  me to officiate the opening of this Conference.  I
wish you all success in your deliberations.  To our  foreign
guests,  I  hope  you  have  a pleasant stay in Malaysia and
since this is Visit Malaysia Year, I would suggest that  you
take  time  off  to  see our country and witness some of the
special events that have been included in the Visit Malaysia
Year programme.  I bid you welcome to Malaysia.
12.  I now have much pleasure in declaring open the 9th  Re-
gional Conference of Dermatology.

 
 



 
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