Speechs in the year
Tarikh/Date 	: 	06/11/91 
Tajuk/Title  	: 	THE 7TH ASEAN CONGRESS 

    It   is   a   pleasure   for   me   to  be  here  among
Anaesthesiologists and I would like to thank the  Organisers
of  7th ASEAN Congress of Anaesthesiologists for inviting my
wife and I tonight.  I wish to take this opportunity to wel-
come all the distinguished members of the delegation  and  I
hope your stay in Malaysia will be fruitful and enjoyable.
2.   I    understand    that    the    last    Congress   of
Anaesthesiologists was held  in  the  Philippines  in  1989.
Malaysia  is  honoured  to  host it this time around.  Gath-
erings such as these will definitely go a long  way  towards
fostering  good relations amongst your colleagues and there-
fore enhance professionalism among  anaesthesiologists  from
the ASEAN member countries.  This will undoubtedly result in
making  the voice of ASEAN countries heard around the world,
not only in the political and economic areas but also in the
field of medicine.
3.   Malaysia has made substantial improvements in the  pro-
vision  of  medical and health care facilities over the past
34 years since achieving independence  in  1957.    Positive
changes  in  important  health status indicators reflect the
real situation.  The Infant Mortality Rate has declined from
75.5 per 1000 live births in 1957 to 13.2 in 1989.  For  the
same period, while the Maternal Mortality Rate declined from
2.8  per  1000 live births to 0.2, Life Expectancy increased
from 55.8 to 69 years for male and 58.2 to  73.5  years  for
4.   Since  health  services form an important aspect of our
social development plans, it is important to ensure that our
people have access to the latest modern health care  facili-
ties  so  that  they  can enjoy a better standard of living.
This means among other things,  that our planning has to  be
flexible  so as to be able to accommodate changing situation
and problems.  In order to provide  effective  patient  care
programmes  we  must  be innovative and look for new ways to
improve medical and health services in our respective  coun-
5.   In  response  to greater expectations for accessibility
to medical care from the people and the need to increase the
coverage of medical services,  the  Ministry  of  Health  in
Malaysia   has  been  actively  pursuing  its  programme  of
decentralisation of specialist services.    To  start  with,
Surgical,  Medical  and  Obstetric & Gynaecological services
are now being provided in District Hospitals.  It is the in-
tention of the Ministry of Health to provide  sub-speciality
services in a planned manner in General Hospitals while con-
tinuing  to develop the Kuala Lumpur General Hospital as the
National Referral Hospital.
6.   This expansion and decentralisation of specialist  ser-
vices  has  resulted in increasing demand for specialists in
the     various     medical      specialities      including
Anaesthesiologists  in  the  Ministry of Health.  The estab-
lishment of new private hospitals has further aggravated the
demand for anaesthesiologists.
7.   In order to ensure that the expansion programme of  the
Ministry   of   Health  is  not  thwarted  by  the  lack  of
anaesthesiologists, Malaysia had started local post-graduate
training programmes in Anaesthesiology.  At the  same  time,
our  doctors  have also been sent for post-graduate training
8.   Advancements in Anaesthesiology have made possible  new
developments  in patient treatment modalities.  The develop-
ment of modern surgery to its  present  level  of  sophisti-
cation  has  been  due  to  a  very  great  extent  on these
developemnts in Anaesthesiology.  It has also contributed to
the development  of  intensive  care  traumatology  and  the
treatment  of intractable chronic pain as well as of debili-
tating acute pain.
9.   There have been rapid advances in the  field  of  medi-
cine.   Increasing sophistication in technology has resulted
in new developments and advances in  biomedical  engineering
and  the development of sophisticated equipments such as the
new generation CT Scan,  ultrasounds,  laser,  lithotripters
and magnetic resonance imagers.  Malaysia has kept itself in
the  mainstream  of technology by acquiring these new equip-
ments and techniques for its hospitals.  Realising that  the
introduction  of  these new technologies would result in in-
creased cost of medical care, the Government  has  been  ac-
quiring  these  new equipments in a judicious manner, always
taking into account their cost effectiveness and benefits to
10.  As we move towards the year 2020 when Malaysia hope  to
be  a  developed  country, there is a need for us to contin-
ually  address  changing  disease  patterns.    With   rapid
industrialisation  people's  way  of  life will change. This
will require us to reexamine the role  of  our  medical  and
health services.
11.  Since curative medicine is becoming increasingly expen-
sive,  the government has been promoting the concept of pri-
mary prevention of diseases by  focussing  on  healthy  life
styles  and  habits.    By  encouraging  people  to practise
healthy life styles, the government hopes  that  our  people
will  be  free  from  dieseases,  such  as  AIDS, cancer and
chronic illnesses.
12.  An individual is primarily responsible for his own well
being and by engaging in healthy life style  practices,  can
acquire positive habits towards achieving a healthy disease-
free life.  The government on the other hand will assist the
individual  in  his endeavours by providing them with neces-
sary health and medical support facilities.
13.  I hope this Congress will be succesful in achieving its
objectives of promoting and updating information and enhanc-
ing closer relations among Asean countries for the sake of a
better future for all member countries.
14.  Lastly, I wish you every success in your  deliberations
during the Congress.