KOTA KINABALU June 21, 2012: Not many doctors in Sabah are trained in dermatology.
And in Sabah, the Health Department has only one dermatologist, Dr Zaigham Mahmood, the head of the dermatology department.
“As a solution to the problem, the department has proposed for dermatology training to be given to houseman officers and medical officers,” said Dr Zaigham to reporters at the sixth annual State Conference of Dermatology on ‘Paediatric Dermatology Updates 2012′ here yesterday.
“This is the only specialty where doctors don’t have much training, especially new doctors, houseman officers and medical officers. We have plans now to teach dermatology to houseman officers for two weeks, and for the medical officers, we have offered them three months of training in our department. At least when they go to other districts they will know something about dermatology and they can manage and treat the patients … Our aim is to update our colleagues and teach them how to recognize simple skin diseases and treat them in a proper way,” he said.
“As of now, most doctors are not exposed to dermatology, so when they go to hospitals to work, they have very slim knowledge of dermatology, making it hard for them to diagnose even simple skin diseases,” he said.
“That is why we have this plan to train doctors… so that they can recognize simple skin diseases”
He added that there was a big issue on adverse reaction to drugs or drug allergy.
“It is common in all hospitals, the number is rising. The adverse reaction to drugs is common in older people as they take a lot of medication due to the multiple diseases at any one time. They could have hypertension, gout and diabetes and they take all the medication one time, so sometimes patients can develop adverse reaction to the drugs and we need to teach doctors how to recognize the adverse reaction at initial stages so they can manage the patient in a nice way and save the life of the patient.”
Some 100 participants took part in the one-day conference yesterday.
QEH director Dr Herric Corray said in his speech that the objective of the conference was to impart exposure, added skills and expertise in the updated management of pediatric skin problems.
He added that the Health Ministry would continue to strive to provide the best of health care and one of its main objectives was to expand dermatology services from the state hospitals to health clinics.
“Recognition of skin diseases in the rural areas by doctors and paramedics, coupled with accessibility of dermatological topical therapy to these areas, would definitely reduce unnecessary delay and referrals in the provision of dermatology care,” he said.
In another development, dermatologist Dr Leong Kin Fon, in his presentation on atopic/seborrheic eczema, said skin diseases were not so prevalent in the rural areas but more common in urban places.
He cited urban areas like Kuala Lumpur experienced higher occurrences of eczema as compared to places in Sabah.
The incidence of eczema is even higher in developed nations such as Singapore, he said.
He added that environment, as well as genetic and food were among the factors that caused eczema.
Dr Leong also said it was impossible to treat eczema within a short duration of time.
“It can be managed properly, but it’s impossible to cure it within two days … It must be noted that eczema affects the whole family and not just the sufferer,” he said.