July 30, 2019, by Lee Mei Kee
TROPICAL MEDICINE AND BEYOND: An Experience Beyond Classrooms
Students from UK and Malaysia Campuses got the opportunity to be a part of the brand-new module, Tropical Medicine and Beyond. With classes on Dengue to Tuberculosis, this module aimed at providing insights on prevalent diseases in the tropics. We were also taught about struggles in the indigenous communities and refugees.
During the first week, we visited CFF (Crops for the Future), where we were introduced to food from underutilized produce. Guest lecturers, Dr. Niazlin Taib and Dr. Rosni Ibrahim from UPM taught us about various diseases in a very interactive session. We also had Dr. Farida Hanim and Dr. How Kang Nien talking about Malaria and Skin diseases respectively. Later, our own UNM lecturers took the reins in teaching several topics. Madam Chee Yoke Ling, founder of the Third World Network informed us about financial toxicity, and everybody listened attentively for the entire class.
In the early morning of 11th July, we set off to Pantai Hospital, Kuala Lumpur. We were fascinated by the latest technology in the Cancer Centres and facilities provided by them. After that, we visited NCSM (National Cancer Society Malaysia). We went on a tour and were showed cancer screening areas. We were told of a helpline, detection and prevention of certain cancers, and, left the place much more aware of the effect of such a debilitating illness on people. We ended the day by a visit to Rimba Ilmu at University Malaya, hosted by Dr. Yong Kien Thai. We walked around the beautiful botanical garden and learnt about medical uses of the flora around Malaysia.
Professor Iekhsan Othman from Monash University taught us about venomous snakes around the country. Snakes were brought in from Perlis snake farm for a demonstration on venom milking. We were excited and terrified at the same time. Later, after our fear of snakes had weaned off, we all took pictures holding a python.
Dr. Beh Choon Hong introduced Traditional Chinese Medicine to us. We also had practical demonstrations of Gua Sha and Acupuncture. Dr. Colin Nicholas, founder of the Centre for Orang Asli Concerns (COAC) and Dr. Xavier Sim, who helped establish Rural Expeditions Assisting Community Health (REACH), came in and had a very interactive session on the awareness about the Orang Asli (indigenous people).
The GHA Learning Centre and Dignity for Children Foundation activities were the most enjoyable for most of us. We set up different stations and taught kids about magnification, microscopes and slime! Seeing the kids’ enthusiasm to learn was heart-warming and we didn’t even realize it was time to leave. For the afternoon, we visited Tung Shin Hospital, a 138-year old establishment where Western and Chinese medicine were practiced together. Some of us even had the chance to experience Acupuncture, while others bought herbal tea that was sweet and refreshing. The day after, students from the GHA Learning Centre and Dignity for Children Foundation came to the campus. We taught them how to use microscopes and isolate DNA from bananas. We probably enjoyed teaching them more than they did learning!
Our group presentation was the last activity of the module. Professor Graham Kendall, Provost and CEO of the University of Nottingham Malaysia, came in to share his words of wisdom and wish us luck. In the end, everybody gave their best and our hard work paid off. Realizing the module had finished, was bittersweet. Our holidays lied ahead, but the memories we had made in mere two weeks would stay with us for a long time. It was time to say good-bye.
Article by: Katyayni Ganesan (BMS Year 3 student)