Monday, January 30, 2006

Study on men's health

The Star published (Jan 29 2006) that

MAGINE you have, in your hands, the power to transform a nation, for the better. That’s what 4,000 men in Subang Jaya/Kelana Jaya, Selangor, have been offered – an opportunity to leave an exclamation mark in the history of this nation’s healthcare system.

While those men may leave an exclamation mark on the nation's healthcare system it clearly raises disturbing question marks for a discerning reader. Two people are named in the study. The first is Datuk Prof Dr Tan Hui Meng (ED: Phew, what a lot of title to get through before you see the man's name)

The Aseemblyman from Subang Jaya, Lee Hwa Beng, is also mentioned in the article. Look what he has to say in the Star.

Subang Jaya assemblyman Datuk Lee Hwa Beng said he was surprised at the poor response as it was free and respondents would receive blood tests and health consultations, too. They will also get a Living Well book, multivitamins and be eligible for a lucky draw.

And what would be the lucky draw prize?

Prizes in the lucky draw include vouchers from Subang Jaya Medical Centre for 10 Executive Screening Programme consultant packages worth RM450 each, meal vouchers from Holiday Villa Subang worth a total of RM1,000 and a treadmill worth RM4,000 from Transmark Corporation

When the doctor was asked to comment on this article he had this to reply:

It is interesting to note that this is the combine effort of the Malaysian Society of Andrology, the Asia Pacific Society for the Study of the Aging Male, the UMMC and endorsed by the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development. The study co-ordinating centre is obviously Subang Jaya Medical Center. (ED: Look at the lucky draw prize for hints)

I am very curious to know why the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Education is not involved and the Women's Ministry is taking an interest in Men's Health. There even exists a department of medical statistics but they are also not involved.

Be it as it may, the residents of Subang Jaya are not informed. Looks like the state assembly an is in the know, but those of us who stay in SJ are in the dark, except for the Star newspaper accounts. 4,000 males (only 10% have responded) were chosen. It is not surprising. How is the randomising done, when the SJ community is not aware? (ED: Here's the google for Jeff Ooi and the USJ forum. As of 10 AM on the30th of January I don't think the Subang people are talking about this)

Of course, the most important factor is confidentiality. I am certain that the data collected will be use by someone in some publication or presentation. How is the confidentiality safeguarded? Would it be appropriate for the society to hold the data? I hope that the SJ council or the Department of National Statistics will hold the information, and any one who wishes to use the information can get assess to it.

It is said that we do not know much about men's health. That is not exactly true. It is true that we now know much more about men's health as opposed to ten years ago. It is also true that there is much more that we can learn.

However we certainly know more about men's health, and men's cardiovascular risk, then about women's health and women's cardiovascular risk. Yet the Ministry of Women, did not ask for a study on women's health.

This is of great personal intertest as the information collected will help those of us interested in heart disease to know the situation locally, thus helping us to plan strategy. Alas this is not the first such study. The Malaysian Hypertension Society, and the Persatuan Diabetes Malaysia, have been collecting such statistics on hypertension and diabetes, but with less fanfare.

We wish the research team all the best in their undertaking and we look forward to the findings. We certainly hope that this announcement is not just for publicity for some individuals. So is this a political medical study?

1 comment:

John Postill said...

An interesting comment. Have you done any follow-up on this? I'd be interested as I did anthropological research in Subang Jaya in 2003-2004. Many thanks,

Dr John Postill
Sheffield Hallam University, UK