MEDICALLY REVIEWED

Weekly Asian Medical News Bulletin – 15 December 2023

weekly health bulletin

Medical Channel Asia presents the weekly Asian medical news bulletin, bringing you essential healthcare news from across the region.

This week’s health bulletin covers rising COVID-19 cases in the region, “walking pneumonia” in the Philippines and more.

Thailand

A pharmacist at Bangchak Hospital in Samut Prakan accidentally administered trichloroacetic acid, a wart treatment, to a toddler instead of a sleeping aid. The child, one year and four months old, was initially brought in for treatment after a fall. After being given the incorrect medication, the child experienced a burning sensation, leading to hospitalisation and use of a ventilator. The hospital has suspended the involved pharmacist and nurse, with potential termination for the pharmacist. The hospital is covering the child’s medical expenses at Ramathibodi Hospital, where his condition is improving but still shows burn traces. The family seeks an apology from the responsible official.

Malaysia

The Malaysian Pharmacists Society (MPS) has urged newly appointed Health Minister Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad to reinstate vape liquids containing nicotine to the Poisons List and to advance the Generational End Game (GEG) policy. The GEG policy aims to prohibit the sale and use of all smoking materials, including electronic cigarettes or vaping products, to individuals born on or after January 1, 2007. MPS praised Dzulkefly’s return, noting his previous focus on health promotion and preventive healthcare. 

Also reported this week:

No New COVID-19 Variants: Malaysian Health Minister Reassures Public

Reforms Necessary For Social Insurance And Inclusive Policies As Malaysia’s Ageing Population Grows

Philippines

The Department of Health (DOH) in the Philippines has confirmed four cases of Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection, commonly known as “walking pneumonia,” but reassures that all patients have recovered. These cases were identified among reported Influenza-like Illness cases in various weeks. The DOH stated that walking pneumonia is not a new or unusual illness and has been detected before. They emphasised that it is not a notifiable disease globally and that they rely on reports from the media and the World Health Organization.

Also reported this week:

Taguig City Government Extends Care to Hundreds on World Diabetes Day

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. Inaugurates the Healthway Cancer Care Hospital

Strengthening Partnerships for a Healthier Future: The Philippine Multisectoral Nutrition Project

Singapore

In Singapore, COVID-19 hospitalisations and ICU admissions have increased amid a surge in infections. For the week of Nov 26 to Dec 2, COVID-19 cases rose to 32,035, up from 22,094 the previous week. Average daily hospitalisations increased to 225, and ICU cases rose to an average of four per day. Despite these increases, the Ministry of Health (MOH) stated that the figures are not as high as during the pandemic’s peak but acknowledged the added strain on hospitals.

Also reported this week:

National Dental Centre Singapore Easing Dental Anxiety in Children with “Laughing Gas”

Groundbreaking Ureter Repair Using Mouth Tissue at NUH

Vietnam

At a conference in Hanoi, it was reported that tobacco-related diseases cause at least 40,000 deaths annually in Vietnam. Health Minister Dao Hong Lan highlighted Vietnam’s high prevalence of tobacco use, with 38.9% of men over 15 smoking. The WHO Representative in Vietnam, Angela Pratt, commended the country’s success in halving adolescent tobacco use and recommended increasing tobacco taxes and banning electronic and heated tobacco products. The Health Ministry proposed a resolution to prohibit these new tobacco products to further reduce tobacco use.

Indonesia

Indonesia has implemented thermal body scanners at key international entry points, including Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport and Batam’s ferry terminal, in response to a regional surge in COVID-19 cases. This move follows a Health Ministry circular urging vigilance due to rising infections in Southeast Asian countries. These include Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines. The Health Ministry has recommended Indonesians to delay travel to areas with spiking Covid-19 cases and to follow preventive health measures.

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