“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give”, Winston Churchill, former British Prime Minister once said.
Holding to the sole purpose of giving out of goodwill, UCSI University’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences and UCSI Medical Students’ Association (UCSI MedicSA) have been actively involved in various outreach programmes throughout the years.
In 2017, UCSI University launched its very first UCSI Medical Outreach Programme in collaboration with University Technology MARA (UiTM) at Kampung Orang Asli Temuan, Sungai Buloh and the response was overwhelming and positive.
This year in conjunction with AMSA Malaysia Health Day 2019, UCSI MedicSA, the Asian Medical Student Association (AMSA) and the Faculty of Medicine, UiTM once again collaborated and organised another outreach programme - the UCSI Medical Outreach Programme (UCSIMOP), with the theme, “AMSA Malaysia Health Day 2019: What About Us? – Inclusivity in Healthcare”.
The programme was chaired by UCSI’s representative for AMSA Magdalene Lee Ming Hwei, with Professor Dr Hoh Boon Peng as the advisor.
Health care accessibility is one of the important components in achieving an adequate and equitable health system in any country. It has been shown that geographical location, income-based community and age play big roles as accessibility determinants for the primary health care system.
This inequity related to the doctor-population ratio in urban and rural areas. The disparity of health care access in rural and low-income communities are also most likely due to unaffordable medical treatment which could be costly.
Owing to this challenge, the organising committee of the UCSIMOP provided medical health care to the communities of low socio-economy status inhabiting the Klang Valley.
Under this initiative, health screenings and health education were provided for the community members. Additionally, the participating organising committees went from house to house to distribute items of need.
Weeks leading up to the day of the programme were spent by collecting the items for the said cause. The donation campaign called the Parcel Box Project targeted the community in Kampung Orang Asli Bukit Lagong. Items such as food, clothes, school supplies, sanitary items and toys were donated by the concerned staff and students from UCSI University.
The Parcel Box Project chaired by Natasha Tsen Pei Pei, UCSI’s Public Health officer for AMSA and guided by UCSI MedicSA club advisor Associate Professor Dr Cheah Shiau Chuen, was carried out throughout the month of October 2019.
A collection booth was set up from 17 to 25 October, 2019 at Block A, UCSI University KL campus and received an overwhelming response from many UCSI staff and students.
The donated items were then screened for their quality and sorted into boxes. Each box contained articles of clothing, food supplies and sanitary items sufficient for each family. A total of 52 boxes filled to the brim with donated items were sorted and given to the 52 participating families. Meanwhile, each participating child were given school supplies and toys packed into the school bags.
The UCSIMOP took place on 24 November 2019 at the community hall of Kampung Orang Asli Bukit Lagong and was divided into three sub-events; health screening, educational talk, lucky draw session and a distribution of the goods and donations.
Counters and booths were set up inside the community hall to accommodate the health screening segment in which the villagers participated in various screening tests such as waist to hip ratio measurement, BMI measurement, blood pressure test and blood glucose level test.
Associate Professor Dr Kyu Kyu Win, UCSI’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Basic Medical Sciences Head of Department and Dr Thuhairah Abdul Rahman as well as Dr Rafezah Razali both from the Faculty of Medicine, UiTM helped in conducting the blood test for all participants.
A set of questionnaires regarding past medical history was also distributed to get further insight on the villagers’ exposure to medical assistance. These screening tests and questionnaire distributions were carried out by two Year 1 and Year 2 Medical degree students who volunteered in the programme.
Dr Thuhairah who is a qualified medical doctor also gave counselling to the villagers advocating on how important it is to be responsible for their health. Meanwhile, two dentistry students from Padjadjaran University, Indonesia, Wong Weng Shung and Leena Losheene Vijaya Kumar, together with UCSI Year 4 Medical degree student, Su Yik Peng volunteered to share their knowledge on dental hygiene and dengue prevention through two separate talks called ‘The Importance of Dental Hygiene, and "What is Dengue? - Awareness and Prevention Methods".
The programme later continued with a question and answer session where participants who managed to answer the questions correctly were rewarded with prizes. In addition, a lucky draw session was carried out for the villagers in which the grand prize worth up to RM200 was presented. Lastly, all the donated items were then distributed to families in accordance to the family census.
With the tremendous success of UCSIMOP, AMSA UCSI is looking forward to officiating this into an annual event and planning more community service projects in the near future. It is hoped that excellent primary health care and social services will be provided to communities with low socio-economy status through the UCSI Medical Outreach.
Education and awareness of the importance of immunisations among the communities will be emphasised to prevent future potential outbreak of communicable diseases such as measles. It is believed long term collaboration between governmental organisations and non-governmental organisations will be the successful determinant of this project as constant and continuous social impacts are the key to create health care awareness in our society.