MEDICALLY REVIEWED

Weekly Asian Medical News Bulletin – 24 November 2023

Phnom penh health HIV

Medical Channel Asia presents the weekly Asian medical news bulletin, bringing you essential healthcare news from across the region. This week’s bulletin covers HIV cases in the Philippines, illegal eczema creams in Singapore and more.

Thailand

Thailand’s Public Health Ministry has streamlined 13 national health plans into ten urgent “quick win” policies, with the “30-baht treatment anywhere” scheme as the central focus. This scheme, a continuation of the universal healthcare initiative from 2002, allows beneficiaries to receive treatment for key medical issues at participating hospitals for just 30 baht. Four health zones across 27 provinces are ready to implement this scheme. These measures aim to yield results within 100 days as a New Year’s gift to the public.

Malaysia

The Malaysian Pharmacists Society (MPS) is supporting an increase in drug pricing transparency. MPS President Prof Amrahi Buang highlights that this collaboration will improve public health and manage living costs. The initiative aims to give the public clear pricing information, enhancing informed health choices. Pharmacists and pharmacies have long provided medication cost information, emphasising healthcare accessibility and transparency. Transparent pricing allows patients to compare costs and manage expenses, aligning with Malaysia’s Health White Paper’s aim to ensure affordable, comprehensive services. 

Also reported this week:

ROSE Foundation Celebrates Screening More Than 25,000 Women For Cervical Cancer

Philippines

In the Philippines, HIV cases have nearly doubled in 2023, with teens making up almost half of the new infections. Health Secretary Teodoro Herbosa reported a rise from an average of 22 to about 50 new cases per day. This increase, especially among 15 to 24-year-olds, is attributed to a more infectious HIV subvariant. Herbosa, in discussion with Vice President Sara Duterte, highlighted the need for interventions in health literacy, addressing other youth issues like teenage pregnancy and mental health. The Philippines has been facing a rapidly growing HIV epidemic since 1984.

Also reported this week:

DOH Ilocos Region Intensifies Efforts to Combat Diabetes

Senator Bong Go Concerned About Surging Typhoid Cases in the Philippines 

Measles Crisis in the Philippines: A 299% Surge Sparks Urgent Action

Singapore

Singapore’s Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has warned against Euzema Confidence Revival Cream, an eczema cream sold in Malaysia and on Carousell. The cream contained over 430 times the permissible limit of arsenic and high levels of betamethasone and salicylic acid. A man in his 30s developed purpura after using the product for a year. HSA advises against using the cream and suggests consulting a doctor immediately. Additionally, HSA warned against three weight loss products—HONEY Q Dietary Supplement, SLIME 7D ADVANCE Slimming Pill, and FINOs—found to contain potent medicinal ingredients, including banned substances.

Also reported this week:

Singapore Introduces Air Master Service for Chronic Breathlessness

Understanding Paraphimosis: A Critical Urological Condition

Unlicensed Beautician In Singapore Jailed for Illegal Facial Treatments

Cambodia

Cambodia is tackling malnutrition with a new national plan, as a recent report reveals a worrying trend in the country’s diet. The analysis, conducted by the Council for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) and supported by the World Food Programme (WFP) and UNICEF, shows that about 80% of Cambodia’s caloric intake comes from rice and sugar, leading to nutrient deficiencies and a heightened risk of chronic diseases. This diet imbalance incurs an annual economic cost of $1.5 billion, or 6.6% of the country’s GDP.

Vietnam

A recent survey in Vietnam indicates that one in five adolescents face mental health challenges, but only 8.4% can access support services. UNICEF is advocating for improved mental health strategies for young people in Vietnam. The “Open Up & Connect” campaign, running until December 11, aims to provide resources and promote communication about mental health. An upcoming event in Hanoi will further discuss these issues, incorporating youth perspectives and ideas.

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