Saturday, November 27, 2010

Duty of all to stop child abuse

Hans Olsen

EARLIER this year, the life of a small child was cut short. She died from injuries to her brain, stomach and kidneys inflicted by an adult who was taking care of her, a person she should have been able to trust and depend on.
An autopsy conducted found cuts and bruises all over her body, believed to have resulted from previous instances of abuse. Her case was, and is, not an isolated incident.

According to 2008 statistics from the Welfare Department, the number of abuse cases is increasing and now, an average of seven children are abused in different ways every day in Malaysia.

But these figures are only based on reported incidents. Many more children are hidden behind these numbers and if they eventually get recorded, it may already be too late.

Can we prevent these abuses from happening at all? Yes, I believe we can. But to achieve this, everyone must regard child abuse as unacceptable and be prepared to take action and intervene.

In the case of this child, there were witnesses who saw her being abused close to her home. No one interfered. I can't believe that this was because they condoned what they saw. I think there is a widespread uncertainty about how to interpret what you see and how to act. Had these witnesses known how to act and be prepared to do it, the small Malaysian child may still be alive today.

There are mechanisms in place to support such action. Police and government agencies are trained to handle this kind of cases. An immediate report would have mobilised a team of law enforcers to save the child from further abuse and, in this case, death. Intervention depends on family members, neighbours and bystanders who have the knowledge and spirit to intervene and put a stop to the abuse before it is too late.

In line with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Malaysia has introduced the Child Act 2001 to guarantee the protection for children. With this legislation, not only can abusers be held accountable for their actions, informers are guaranteed anonymity and protection by law.

Furthermore, Childline Malaysia, a civil society initiative, has collaborated with the government to set up the dedicated hotline, 15999, where the public, as well as children themselves, can call for advice or report abuse. It is crucial that people know and utilise these services, and that they feel they can make a difference.

We need to empower ourselves with knowledge about child abuse and what we can do as individuals or in groups to stop it. To provide an opportunity for this, Unicef has set up a dedicated website,, where people can learn more about the issue and what to do to protect a child from abuse.

This website is part of the larger Get on Board campaign by Unicef to encourage people to break their silence and take responsibility for the children around them -- be it in their home and families or in their communities. We each have an important role to play.

The Get on Board campaign clearly recognises the challenges parents go through in raising children, and provides a link to special services provided by the government to help cope with the stresses of parenting.

Unicef also urges communities to provide support activities for parents to manage the stress they face. By focusing on efforts to stabilise families and provide support for healthy child development, we are collectively creating an environment around us that reduces the likelihood of child abuse.

Every child has the right to grow up in a safe environment and to be sheltered from all forms of abuse, be it physical, emotional, sexual or neglect. This environment is only possible when society unites around children's basic rights, openly confronting violence and defending their right to protection.

While the government is primarily accountable for translating the Convention on the Rights of the Child into reality, parents and other caregivers, like teachers, health workers, youth leaders as well as children themselves, have a crucial role to play every day to protect the rights of children.

Very young children who lack the capacity to report abuse, or older children who fear reprisals by perpetrators should be able to rely on the people around them to take action.

What we see in statistics of reported cases only tells us a small part of the truth about child abuse in Malaysia. We need to know more. Thorough research is needed to help the government establish benchmarks for measurement of child abuse.

Data from this research would also make it possible to monitor future trends in abusive behaviour towards children and society's attitude towards it. This kind of evidence-based intervention is equally important for individual interventions by family members and the community.

We cannot wait for more children to die or be scarred for life. Everyone must be ready to take action. The silence must be broken. I invite the people of Malaysia to get on board and unite against child abuse.

The writer is Unicef representative to Malaysia

Read more: Duty of all to stop child abuse

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Call to extend breast screening

By Helen Briggs
Health reporter, BBC News

Annual screening for women in their 40s with a family history of breast cancer may save lives, research suggests.

The NHS breast screening programme currently offers mammograms to women aged between 50 and 70.

But UK researchers say a pilot study suggests regular mammograms should be given to younger women who have relatives with breast cancer.

A cancer charity said more data was needed to weigh up risks and benefits.

The study, published in the journal Lancet Oncology, looked at women deemed at moderate risk of breast cancer because they have relatives with the disease.

Screening is considered unjustified in women with no family history of breast cancer because of the risk of a false-alarm.

Women at high-risk - because they are thought to have a gene mutation associated with the disease - are already closely assessed, with many given MRI scans or offered early surgery.

False alarms

The study recruited 6,710 moderate risk women across the UK who were given mammograms to check for signs of breast cancer every year for four years.

These women are not currently included in the main NHS breast screening programme, which offers mammograms to women aged 50-70 every three years.

The researchers, led by Professor Stephen Duffy of Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary, University of London, compared cancer rates and deaths in this group with women from other trials who were not given annual screening.

They say the women given screening were significantly more likely to be alive 10 years after a diagnosis of cancer than women in the two control groups.

Professor Duffy told the BBC: "It means that annual mammography does reduce the risk of dying of breast cancer in this group of moderate risk women.

"It means they can go and seek medical help knowing that there is something that can be done."

Rough figures suggest that it would probably save an extra 50 lives a year, he added.

"It doesn't sound like much but it means alot to the people who are in that group because they have relatives who have had breast cancer," he explained. "It's not a huge expense to the NHS."


But Hazel Nunn, senior health information manager at Cancer Research UK, said the full picture was not yet clear.

"Since it seems 5,000 women would need to be screened to save one life, it will be important to weigh up these benefits carefully against potential risks of routine mammography before deciding whether screening really is the best course of action for this group," she said.

"We await the results of further research measuring the risks."

The NHS Breast Screening Programme said plans were in place to extend screening to women with a family history of breast cancer in the future.

Assistant Director, Sarah Sellars, said current guidelines for women at risk of breast cancer because of their family history recommend that certain women should be offered surveillance.

She said these services were currently commissioned locally but in the future would be run by them.

"In the future, the NHS Breast Screening Programmes will be taking on responsibility for routinely screening higher risk women under 50," she said.

"Several breast screening sites are currently testing the software to be able to manage these women effectively.

"This service will sit alongside our current breast screening programme for women aged 50 years old and over."

Friday, November 12, 2010

Sarawakian woman rescues lost child on bus

NOBLE DEED: Nur Asyikin receiving a letter of commendation from Abdul Rahim for rescuing the lost toddler

KUALA LUMPUR: If it was not for a mother-of-two, three-year-old Mohd Amin Rozi may have disappeared forever after boarding a bus alone on Wednesday morning with a milk bottle in hand.

Nur Asyikin Rufi became concerned when she noticed the boy looking lost and restless as he was constantly changing seats.

The Sarawakian, in her 40s, was sitting at the back of the bus and became suspicious when she saw a foreigner speaking to the boy.

"I did what any mother would have done," she said, walking forward to rescue the child. "The boy was unresponsive when I asked him questions. So, I called 999."

Nur Asyikin then got off at Jalan Tun Hussein and carried the boy to the police station, as advised over the phone. She also lodged a report after handing the child to police officers.

"I hope this is a serious lesson learnt by every parent as such young children are naive and vulnerable."

Expressing disappointment that no one aboard the bus tried to help Amin, she said: "We should also look out for other children around us."

The police took photographs of the boy before handing him over to the Welfare Department in Jalan Pahang. Copies of his photo were distributed at the Sri Sabah flats area, where the boy was seen waiting before boarding the bus.

At 5.30pm on Wednesday, a couple arrived at the Cheras district police station, claiming their grandchild had gone missing. The boy, whom they called Amin, had apparently been sleeping while the grandfather was washing his car.

Neither of them realised the boy had woken up and wandered off. Amin's mother also arrived at the police station later to retrieve her child, but police refused to release him until a DNA test was conducted.

When the test results confirmed the grandparents and mother were indeed related to the boy and the necessary documentation were produced, Cheras acting police chief Supt Abdul Rahim Hamzah Othman allowed the child to be reunited with his family yesterday.

"What happened here is typical curiosity of children at such an age. As adults, we should be more aware of their tendencies and look out for them," said Abdul Rahman, who gave a letter of commendation to Nur Asyikin yesterday.

It was learnt the bus driver was not aware of the boy's presence as Mohd Amin was hidden among the passengers when he boarded the bus. The bus had travelled 10km before he was noticed by Nur Asyikin.

Meanwhile, Bernama reported the boy was suffering from a hyperactive disorder. His mother, Norhaslinda Hashim, 23, said she was working when informed by her mother about her missing child at about 1pm.

Norhaslinda said she would try to keep a close watch on her son from now.
Friday, November 12th, 2010 04:51:00

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Kisah menyayat hati

Semoga Allah merahmati roh-roh mereka dan semoga kita semua dijauhkan dari dugaan berat seperti ini.

Rentung bersujud
Oleh Ibrahim Isa

MUSNAH...Rusidah dan Asaari melihat katil mangsa yang rentung dalam kebakaran, semalam.

BATU PAHAT: “Tolong mak, tolong Nini mak,” itulah jeritan akhir ibu tunggal, Lenny Mariyana Daud, 29, sebelum ditemui rentung dalam kedudukan bersujud sambil memeluk anak tunggalnya, Nur Sabihah Qasreena Mohd Nizam, 3, yang turut maut dalam kebakaran di Kampung Seri Paya Darat, Ayer Hitam di sini, awal pagi semalam.

Dalam kejadian jam 1.30 pagi itu, Lenny dipercayai hanya sempat menjerit meminta bantuan buat beberapa saat disertai tangisan kuat Sabihah ketika cuba menyelamatkan diri dari biliknya.
Lenny yang bakal mendirikan rumah tangga buat kali kedua hujung tahun ini dipercayai gagal melarikan diri dengan anaknya melalui pintu dan tingkap bilik akibat asap tebal selain api marak.

Melihat api marak selain kesukaran menyelamatkan diri, Lenny dipercayai hanya mampu membongkok seperti bersujud sambil memeluk anaknya sebelum dua beranak itu ditemui rentung di sudut tepi katil oleh anggota Bomba dan Penyelamat, kira-kira jam 4 pagi.

Kakaknya, Ratna Dewi, 35, berkata Lenny pulang ke rumah selepas membawa ibu mereka, Saringatin Jalal, 65, berurut di kampung bersebelahan pada kira-kira jam 12 tengah malam.

“Selepas itu, Lenny membasuh baju dan bersolat sebelum tidur di biliknya pada jam 1 pagi. Kira-kira setengah jam kemudian, ketika berehat di ruang tamu, saya terdengar bunyi hentakan kaki ke lantai.

“Pada mulanya, saya ingatkan dia mengigau dan tidak mengendahkan bunyi berkenaan, namun ia semakin kuat diikuti jeritan Nini meminta tolong serta tangisan anaknya.

“Saya dan ibu bergegas ke bilik dan membuka pintu, namun api marak menyebabkan kami gagal membawa mereka keluar,” katanya di lokasi kejadian, semalam.

Ratna berkata, tidak lama kemudian jeritan meminta tolong dan tangisan anak saudaranya itu tidak lagi kedengaran dan dia terus menjerit meminta enam lagi ahli keluarga yang lain menyelamatkan diri apabila melihat api semakin merebak.

Ratna berkata, abangnya cuba memadamkan api dengan menyimbah air di tingkap bagi membolehkan Lenny terjun menyelamatkan diri, namun api terlalu marak.

Sementara itu, adik bongsu mangsa, Seri Rusidah, 25, berkata, dia hanya sedar berkaitan kejadian apabila terdengar jeritan ibunya mengatakan rumah terbakar.

“Ketika itu saya dan suami, Asaari Mohd Muji, 26, nyenyak tidur sebelum pintu bilik di ketuk ahli keluarga yang meminta kami melarikan diri kerana rumah dijilat api.

“Saya bersama suami terus keluar untuk mendapatkan bantuan, malangnya apabila kembali, rumah sudah hangus manakala kakak serta anaknya gagal diselamatkan.

“Sayu hati kami melihat dua beranak berkenaan rentung dengan arwah kakak dalam keadaan bersujud memeluk arwah Sabihah,” katanya.

Am I ready for another baby?

Non-daily contraceptive options available include the levonorgestrel intrauterine system, copper intrauterine device, progestogen implants, and sterilisation.

JULIE, 33, is a senior manager at an accounting firm. She has been married for five years and recently gave birth to her second child, Jayden, 10 months ago. Her first child, Caitlin, is two years old.

Although Julie and her husband are very happy to have a son, they did not plan on adding to the family so soon as they are both still focused on building their careers. Julie’s unplanned pregnancy happened when she forgot to take her oral contraceptive pills, and she does not want to run the risk of being surprised with another child in the next few years.

For couples such as Julie and her husband, deciding whether to expand your family by one more – whether this would be your second child or your fourth – is one of the most significant decisions you will make in your lifetime. Assuming that you have struck a happy balance with your present family size, it is understandable that mothers can be pulled between the joys of having another child and a reluctance to upset the balance that currently exists.

While you and your husband are still deciding on whether you wish to have more children, it is essential to have effective and reversible contraception.

Non-daily contraceptive options available today include the levonorgestrel intrauterine system, copper intrauterine device, progestogen implants, and sterilisation.

The advantages of these methods are that they require less action by the user, and for levonorgestrel and progestogen implants, create steady blood hormone levels due to continuous release of a low dose of hormones.

A ‘fit and forget contraception’

The levonorgestrel intrauterine system or LNG-IUS is one of the most effective contraceptive options available when compared with other methods such as condoms, oral contraceptive pills, and hormone injections. Most importantly, this method does not require daily patient compliance as it provides continuous and effective contraception for up to five years.

The LNG-IUS is a small, T-shaped device made of impregnated plastic that is placed inside the uterus (womb) to provide continuous contraceptive protection. The LNG-IUS releases a progestogen called levonorgestrel (LNG), which acts directly on the lining of the uterus to make it thin and unreceptive to implantation of a fertilised egg, and changes the lining of the fallopian tubes and the mucous produced by the cervix to make it difficult for sperm to swim.

In some women, it also stops ovulation from occurring.

The insertion of LNG-IUS can be carried out in your doctor’s clinic within minutes. Once inserted, you should not be aware of the system. The device is removed by your doctor after five years, or earlier if contraception is no longer required. If further contraception is needed, a new system is inserted at the same time as removal of the previous system.

The most common side effect of the LNG-IUS is a change in the pattern of your periods. This can include an increased time between periods or longer periods, but the longer the LNG-IUS is in place, the more likely that periods will become fewer (further apart) or, for some women, absent altogether.

The LNG-IUS is useful for women who need effective long-term contraception, have just had a baby, who need a reversible alternative to sterilisation, and those who are dissatisfied with other methods of contraception. Compliance is good as it is a “fit and forget” method, which makes it convenient to use. The LNG-IUS is also becoming an increasingly preferred alternative to the irreversibility of sterilisation among women in developed nations.

An advantage of the LNG-IUS is that it can provide effective contraception for a mother who is breastfeeding as the hormone effect is contained within the womb and will not affect the composition or volume of breast milk produced. Other benefits of the LNG-IUS include reduced menstrual flow and pain, a shorter duration of menstrual bleeding, as well as increased haemoglobin and serum ferritin (iron) levels.

Normal menstruation generally returns within 30 days after removal of the LNG-IUS, and a woman’s usual level of fertility returns quickly after removal, with conception rates becoming equal to before IUS use (90% within the first year). Pregnancies progress as normal with no increased risk of foetal abnormalities.

The Copper IUD (Cu-IUD)

A Cu-IUD is also inserted into the uterus and may be left in the uterus for up to 10 years. However, it is different from the LNG-IUS in that it does not release hormones, but copper, into the uterus. Copper is toxic to sperm. The presence of an IUD interferes with the movement of sperm, fertilisation of eggs, and implantation. Cu-IUDs may sometimes cause increased menstrual flow, cramps, or backaches.

A Cu-IUD is a small plastic device that has a stem wound with fine copper wire. It looks like a small anchor with two side branches. Attached to the base of the stem is a nylon string. The string hangs out from the uterus through the cervix and can be felt with the fingers high in the vagina.

The insertion procedure for the copper IUD is similar to the LNG-IUS. Fertility will also return with the removal of the copper IUD.

The implant

The contraceptive hormonal implant is inserted under the skin of the inner, upper arm to provide three years of contraceptive protection. The implant is made of plastic containing a progestogen, and is 2mm wide and 4cm long – similar in shape and size to a match stick.

Your doctor will remove the implant after it has been in place for three years, or at any time prior to this if the contraceptive effect is no longer required. Normal fertility returns soon after removal of the implant. To continue contraception, a new implant must be inserted at the time of removal of the previous one.

The contraceptive hormonal implant will continuously release a progestogen hormone called etonogestrel, which prevents ovulation from occurring each month. This means that no egg is available for fertilisation, so pregnancy is avoided. The contraceptive hormonal implant also changes the mucous produced by the cervix, which makes it difficult for sperm to enter the uterus.

Even though the contraceptive hormonal implant is inserted and removed with just a local anaesthetic, you need to be comfortable with the idea of having an implant placed under your skin if you plan to use this contraceptive option. Prolonged, irregular or absent periods, acne, weight gain, headache, and breast tenderness are among the side-effects that have been reported in some women using the contraceptive hormonal implant.


This is an irreversible method of contraception which can be performed on either the male or female. In tubal ligation for the female, the Fallopian tubes are cut and stitched to prevent the ovum (egg) from reaching the uterus. It is a surgical procedure requiring a general anaesthetic.

In the male, a vasectomy is a minor surgical procedure that interrupts the vas deferens (tube that connects the testes to the urinary tract), preventing the sperm from entering the urinary tract, so that semen is ejaculated without sperm. A vasectomy is usually done under local anaesthetic. Sterilisation results in permanent infertility in the female or male in which the procedure is done and cannot be reversed.

Deciding on whether your family is complete or not is a personal decision and one that needs to be discussed thoroughly with your partner and other family members. Family members bond through the process of being considered in the decision making process. Discussing and gathering input will help you and your children prepare for the challenges and the joys of adding a new member to the family.

Nevertheless, until you and your husband decide that the family is ready, effective contraception is a vital consideration in avoiding an unplanned pregnancy.


> This article is contributed by Dr S.Y. Chong, medical advisor with Bayer Schering Pharma. This information is provided for educational purposes only and should not be taken in place of a consultation with your doctor. Bayer Schering Pharma disclaims any and all liability for injury or other damages that could result from use of the information obtained from this article.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Bayi dijual RM10,000 perkg.

KUALA LUMPUR: Mengejutkan, hospital swasta di Jalan Ipoh, yang diserbu polis kerana dipercayai terbabit dalam sindiket penjualan bayi petang kelmarin, didapati sudah tamat tempoh lesen operasinya sejak April lalu.

Selepas serbuan polis yang membongkar aktiviti haram itu, tinjauan Berita Harian semalam mendapati hospital berkenaan berkunci dan diletakkan tanda “ditutup”.

Tindakan itu dikatakan berikutan penahanan enam suspek termasuk pemilik hospital yang juga seorang doktor bergelar Datuk, isterinya dan anak perempuan mereka juga doktor serta tiga jururawat hospital itu. Mereka ditahan reman selama tiga hari mulai semalam.

Sumber Kementerian Kesihatan memberitahu, hospital itu kini pada peringkat rayuan untuk memperbaharui lesen, namun enggan mendedahkan sebab lambat mendapat kelulusan.

“Hospital itu ada membuat permohonan memperbaharui lesen, namun disebabkan beberapa isu, kita masih belum meluluskannya,” katanya yang enggan mendedahkan butiran lanjut.

Berita Harian semalam mendedahkan, Unit Anti Pemerdagangan Orang Bukit Aman menyerbu hospital itu dan menahan enam suspek berkenaan kira-kira jam 4.15 petang selepas selesai urusan menjual seorang bayi perempuan berusia seminggu di hospital itu kepada sepasang suami isteri dengan harga RM21,000.
Dalam kejadian itu, polis juga berjaya menyelamatkan seorang bayi lelaki berusia kira-kira empat bulan. Kedua-dua bayi yang diselamatkan itu kini diletakkan di se-buah pusat perlindungan Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat.

Sumber itu berkata, pihaknya banyak menerima aduan mengenai salah laku hospital dan klinik swasta yang dipercayai menjual bayi itu, namun sehingga kini tiada sebarang laporan diterima.

Katanya, jika hospital itu didapati bersalah menjual bayi, Kementerian Kesihatan mungkin menarik semula lesen operasinya, sementara pembatalan bagi lesen perubatan doktor berkenaan adalah di bawah kuasa Majlis Perubatan Malaysia (MMC).

“MMC akan membuat inkuiri dalaman dan akan memanggil doktor berkenaan untuk membela diri. Jika terbukti bersalah, mereka akan membuat keputusan sama ada untuk menggantung atau membatalkan lesen terbabit,” katanya.

Sementara itu, jurucakap MMC berkata, doktor itu sememangnya berdaftar di bawah majlis berkenaan.

Dalam operasi polis kelmarin, polis turut merampas sijil lahir bayi perempuan itu dan wang tunai RM21,000 dipercayai dibayar suami isteri berkenaan.

Siasatan awal polis mendapati pasangan itu, membeli bayi perempuan berkenaan selepas berurusan sejak sebulan lalu.

Hospital itu dipercayai memalsukan maklumat ibu bapa kandung bayi itu bagi membolehkan pasangan suami isteri terbabit mendapatkan sijil kelahiran yang mereka perolehi pada hari yang sama dengan dibantu kakitangan hospital itu.

Difahamkan, harga bayi dijual sindiket itu boleh mencecah lebih RM30,000 mengikut bangsa dan jantina. Harga bayi lelaki dikatakan lebih mahal yang biasanya dijual antara RM15,000 ke RM20,000. Bayi berbangsa Cina pula paling mahal dan dijual mengikut berat, iaitu RM10,000 sekilogram berikutan permintaannya tinggi dan sukar diperoleh.