Innovation, Regional Cooperation to Take the Spotlight in Mekong Forum 2018
Jul 20, 2018

Innovation and regional cooperation are the central themes in this year’s Mekong Forum, an annual gathering of opinion leaders from the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) organized by Mekong Institute (MI), an intergovernmental organization working in human resource development based in Khon Kaen, Thailand. The Forum, which is set for August 3, 2018 at Avani Khon Kaen Hotel & Convention Centre, Khon Kaen, Thailand, expounds on the theme: Turnarounds and Takeoffs: Speeding Up Competitiveness and Connectivity in the GMS.

“In this year’s forum, we will strive to answer how innovation can be harnessed, what kind of strategic policy and incentives we can use to promote innovation, and how development cooperation can improve the connectivity of the people in the region,” explains MI’s Executive Director Dr. Watcharas Leelawath.

This year’s Mekong Forum is the sixth since MI began hosting the one-day event in 2011. “The Mekong Forum is a milestone event both for MI and the development actors in the GMS. It is an occasion for networking, linkaging, and sharing of ideas and solutions that can help realize the development goals and aspirations of the region,” Dr. Leelawath further added.

Mekong Forum 2018 will feature discussion sessions that will focus on the three central ideas of this year’s theme: challenges in the growth momentum of the GMS; initiatives and mechanisms to scale-up competitiveness through innovation; and harnessing development cooperation strategies to promote strengthened regional connectivity.

Dr. Narongchai Akrasanee, former Minister of Energy and Minister of Commerce of Thailand, is this year’s keynote speaker, while Mr. Kensuke Tanaka, head of the Asia Desk of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), is delivering a special address. Joining them as session speakers are experts from the government, academe, business and civil society and development cooperation agencies, working in and outside the GMS.

Mekong Forum 2018 is made possible through the support of the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Open Development Initiative (ODI), Thai Smile, and the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

About Mekong Forum

Initiated by Mekong Institute, the Mekong Forum:
• Brings together opinion leaders to discuss the most pressing issues in the GMS;
• Engages multiple stakeholders in collaborative efforts to shape the development agenda of the region; and
• Serves as a platform for interaction, dialogue and networking among scholars, business and government leaders and development experts and practitioners.

Mekong Institute has successfully organized five Mekong Forums in the past. Previous forums have offered discussions on topics such as narrowing the development disparities between nations in the GMS and ASEAN; modernizing the GMS in light of the post-ASEAN Economic Integration; the role of development partners in the region; and the challenges and mechanisms to respond to the new geo-economics.

About Mekong Institute

Mekong Institute is an intergovernmental organization that is owned and operated by the six member countries of the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) that it serves namely Cambodia, P.R. China (Yunnan Province and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region), Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. Our mission is to provide capacity development services and products that enhance regional development cooperation and integration. For more information, visit

# # #

Media Contact
Joclarisse Albia, Communications Coordinator
(+66) 43 202 4112 Ext 1204
Mekong Institute

- ASIA TODAY News Global Distribution

Through the Shifting Clouds of Fears & Worries
Jul 13, 2018

“Doctor, you mean both my kidneys are not functioning at all and I have to be on dialysis for three times a week with each time covering 4 hours for the rest of my life unless there is a possibility of me receiving a healthy donor kidney or advances in medical science?”.

This was a question posed by a bewildered 21 year old Vanitha a/p Veeramugam to the nephrologist standing beside her ward bed in 2004 at the Universiti Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) in Kuala Lumpur after the doctor had laid down the bare truth as to the cause of her illness.

She was earlier rushed to the medical centre upon an urgent referral by a medical group in Klang where her mother had brought her for treatment following a recurrence of continuous bouts of vomiting, diarrhoea and loss of appetite. 2 weeks prior to the referral she was admitted to the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital in Klang for observation after she had similar signs of illness. The hospital in Klang after warding her for treatment and observation for a week discharged her.

Alas, she had recovered with dialysis which took much of her working time as an operator in a Japanese company in Shah Alam where she had worked after passing her Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) in 2000. Ultimately, after having being on medical leave for finding a diagnosis to her kidney failure and for her dialysis she had to quit her job.

All this while, UMMC carried on in providing dialysis and at the same time advised her family to look for a dialysis centre which charged lesser fees for the treatment. In the midst of such activities, her maternal uncle, in addition to helping pay for the fees in dialysis and medication by the medical centre, managed to secure financial assistance for her from Tzu Chi, a Buddhist Foundation. Later, after a few months he managed to get for her “Pencen Ilat’ under the social security organisation, SOCSO to pay for the dialysis treatment.

In the search for a dialysis centre, there was found a vacancy in Pusat Dialisis NKF – Bakti (Klang) which was near her place of residence. She is indeed very much appreciative of NKF which she said, “gives a high standard of treatment with its staff members creating a family-like atmosphere to bring about a cosy and close relationship among not only the patients but staff members themselves.”

To-date, she has remained single, staying with a married younger sister with 3 children and a husband in Taman Sentosa, Klang. She has declined the offer of her mother donating one of her kidneys to her even though there was found compatibility in the matching of the older woman’s kidney with her body system for she feared for her mother’s suffering in the aftermath of the transplant. However, she would be prepared to accept a compatible kidney from any donor who is a non-relative.

She is now settled in her routine of dialysis and when she is not dialysing she helps her sister in cooking as she loves to cook and keeps herself busy by watching television programmes. For light relaxation, she loves going cycling in the park of the housing estate and treats each passing day as a wonderful gift

Members of the public can pledge to donate their organs with the organ donation promotion unit that the National Kidney Foundation of Malaysia (NKF) had set up at the Sunway Pyramid with the support of the Sunway Group.

For more information on these and future NKF activities or to donate towards the organisation’s efforts, please visit or call 03-7954 9048.

- ASIA TODAY News Global Distribution

Rural families in the Philippines tune into health advice
Jul 07, 2018

Radio show, home visits bring critical services to the hard-to-reach

June 2018 — When Ailleene Joy Verbo was a child, she loved listening to her grandfather’s solar-powered radio. “Our rural village did not have electricity,” she said. “The radio broke the quietness of the day.”

Verbo grew up in Siay, Zamboanga Sibugay — a province in the Philippines’ Mindanao region. She, along with her five siblings, lived with her grandparents because her parents moved away to find jobs.

“My mother had to work overseas to sustain our needs,” said Verbo.

Now a nurse and mother herself, Verbo knows how difficult it is to support a family, especially in rural areas where unpaved roads, marshlands, mountains and seas isolate people from opportunities available in towns and cities.

“Sometimes, if people get sick, they just endure pain and illness,” said Verbo, adding that people, in many instances, are unable to take charge of their own health.

A recent national health survey showed that more women in Mindanao desire to limit or space their pregnancies and use family planning methods, but lack information on where they can access the services. The areas where these women live are marked by high percentages of unintended or risky pregnancies that can result in serious consequences, including death.

In 2013, USAID launched its MindanaoHealth project, implemented by Jhpiego, to help the Philippine Department of Health strengthen health systems and services, especially for people living in hard-to-reach areas. The project, which works to improve access to maternal, neonatal and child health and nutrition, also trains health service providers to counsel parents looking to choose a method of family planning.

In 2017, Verbo became a family health associate in her hometown and undertook this training. Through this project, she learned to perform and administer basic procedures and services. She began visiting communities and homes to provide on-the-spot care.

Last February, a local radio station invited Verbo to appear as a guest on a show called Itanong mo Kay Doc! (Ask Doc!) to answer listeners’ questions about reproductive health. Since people in the region get their news from the radio, she saw this as an opportunity to make a big difference.

Verbo’s broadcast reached nearly 300,000 people across the province. When listeners flooded the station with questions, the station invited Verbo to host regularly. She also gave out her personal mobile number to answer listeners’ questions or refer them to their nearest health center when she is not on air.

“I just don’t want more children and families to suffer,” said Verbo, who now hosts the show about once per month.

USAID’s MindanaoHealth project, which runs from 2013 to 2018, has trained over 9,000 health service providers across Mindanao. Mostly, these service providers conduct group counseling and community outreach activities. They also visit hospital wards and outpatient departments.

“Doing a good job is not always about impressive innovations; sometimes it is only about doing something with plain dedication,” said Verbo.


ASEAN Center authorized to operate in Thailand as a foreign NGO
Jul 01, 2018

On 7 March 2018, the Thai Ministry of Labour's "Committee to Consider the Operation of Foreign Private Organizations" granted permission to Kyoto University’s ASEAN Center in Bangkok to operate as a foreign non-governmental organization (NGO). The NGO certificate was presented 24 May by Ms Supapitchaya Ruengves, the Ministry's labour specialist, to ASEAN Center Director Mamoru Shibayama, who is also a KyotoU professor emeritus.

As a certified NGO, the ASEAN Center aims to further expand its activities promoting research, education, and other forms of collaboration among Japan, Thailand, and ASEAN universities and other institutions.

Labour Specialist Ruengves and Director Shibayama

SOURCE / Kyoto University

Singapore Red Cross ramps up youth engagement with 'BE THE 1' campaign
Jun 19, 2018

• Fronted by superstar footballer Cristiano Ronaldo - social campaign part of global movement that aims to encourage blood donation amongst youth
• Outreach activities at upcoming Singapore Football Festival to encourage blood donation as a lifestyle choice

Singapore, 18 June 2018 - The Singapore Red Cross (SRC) today announced the launch of ‘BE THE 1™’ - its latest blood advocacy campaign that aims to encourage more people, particularly youth, to come forward to give blood.

Fronted by world-famous football superstar, Cristiano Ronaldo, the ‘BE THE 1’ global movement was created with the aim to inspire young people around the world to donate blood regularly. A strong advocate of blood donation, Ronaldo first gave blood when he was 24 years old after seeing his teammate struggle to get bone marrow donations for his son. Since then, he has continued to donate regularly and has avoided any activities that would prevent him from donating.

With the launch of the campaign, SRC joins the ranks of more than 80 blood donation centres across the world that has come onboard the movement. The campaign is part of SRC’s ongoing efforts to expand the blood donor pool in tandem with Singapore’s blood usage, which is projected to grow at a rate of 3 to 5 percent annually. While the overall blood donor pool has increased steadily over the years, the number of youth donors has been on a downward trend. In 2017, out of the 73,107 blood donors, only 26% are youth donors.

“Many young people are starting to take a more active interest and role in community service, moving from simply volunteering their time to taking the initiative to plan and organise charity events on their own,” says Mr Robert Teo, Director of the Blood Donor Recruitment Programme at Singapore Red Cross. “Through meaningful youth engagement, we hope to harness their exuberance and giving spirit, and nurture a whole generation of lifesavers. By stepping up as a blood donor or an advocate of blood donation, youth can play an active role in ensuring blood is available at all times – just like Cristiano Ronaldo!”

The ‘BE THE 1’ campaign will run from now till the end of July. Interested members of the public can join Cristiano Ronaldo and Singapore Red Cross in the movement by:
• Taking a photo of themselves (or a selfie with the life size cut-out standee of Ronaldo located at any of our four blood banks; from 19 June) and posting it on their social media pages with #BeThe1DonorSG
• Making a pledge to give blood
• Helping to spread the word about blood donation and encouraging their friends or followers to do the same.

In conjunction with the campaign, SRC has also partnered Sport Singapore (SportSG) for their upcoming Singapore Football Festival. Held from 30 June to 30 July, the month-long festival will see a line-up of football activities and tournaments being organised across the island to encourage everyone to watch, play and celebrate football. As part of the partnership, there will be Singapore Red Cross roadshows present at selected activities to spread awareness about blood donation.

To kick-off the partnership, a "Be The 1 Football Clinic", held on 21 July, will be offered exclusively to students from the various secondary schools and junior colleges under SRC’s network of bloodmobile organisers, with limited slots available. The football clinic offers participants the opportunity to engage with coaches from the ActiveSG Football Academy, pick up tips to improve their skills, and enjoy a game or two with the coaches and fellow football enthusiasts.

Mr Lim Tong Hai, Team Lead, ActiveSG Football Academy said, “Football is a powerful tool to rally Singaporeans to show care for their fellow people. We hope to raise awareness of blood donation among the participants and their families and friends during the Singapore Football Festival. I will be encouraging our coaches and parents to take the lead in supporting the cause during the festival period and beyond.”

Mr Teo added, “Youth engagement has always been one of our top priorities. With the support of SPORT SG and DATE (Develop the passion And Teach Everyone), we aim to reach out to these students in a fun setting and encourage them to lead an active lifestyle, while learning about blood donation. Our hope is that youth will also be inspired by Cristiano Ronaldo to step forward and "Be the 1" to donate blood. Ultimately, we wish to encourage them to adopt blood donation as a lifestyle, much like keeping active, and to help spread the cause to their family and friends.”

For media queries, please contact:
Name: Alina Tee
Tel: 9736 5267

About the Singapore Red Cross Blood Donor Recruitment Programme

The Singapore Red Cross (SRC) was appointed the National Blood Donor Recruiter in April 2001. Together with our partner-in-service, the Blood Services Group of the Health Sciences Authority, we aim to collect sufficient safe blood for the transfusion needs of all our hospitals.

The SRC focuses on three main functions in the National Blood Programme:
• Recruitment, Retention and Recognition of blood donors
• Promotion and Education to increase public awareness on the importance of blood donation
• Organisation of mobile blood donation drives in the community

New journal on nuclear disarmament launched by Nagasaki University
JCN Newswire
Jun 05, 2018

A Japanese university that suffered from atomic devastation will help pave the way towards a world without nuclear weapons.

Nagasaki, Japan - (ACN Newswire) - The inaugural issue of the Journal for Peace and Nuclear Disarmament (J-PAND) was published in May by Nagasaki University's Research Center for Nuclear Weapons Abolition (RECNA).

The English-language journal aims to provide a forum for proposing policies and other ideas that could contribute to nuclear disarmament. To encourage public debate, J-PAND is provided on an open access basis by its publisher Taylor & Francis.

In the first edition, readers can find new ideas and perspectives on the Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty and no-first-use of nuclear weapons.

"As is demonstrated in North Korea's nuclear programme and the latest US Nuclear Posture Review under the Trump administration, nobody can evade this issue. By launching J-PAND, we wish to provide an academic platform for promoting nuclear disarmament," says Fumihiko Yoshida, who serves as Editor-in-Chief of the journal.

Seventy-three years ago, an atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan. Located close to the hypocentre, Nagasaki Medical College was totally destroyed. Nearly 900 faculty members, students, and medical workers were killed.

The reconstruction of the college appeared to be an impossible mission. But from the ashes of the atomic wasteland rose the renewed Nagasaki University, which has developed into a world research centre on atomic radiation.

Determined to eliminate nuclear weapons, Nagasaki University established the Research Center for Nuclear Weapons Abolition in 2012. It was apparent that former US President Barack Obama's landmark speech in Prague in April 2009 was a source of inspiration.

The second edition of J-PAND will be published at the end of 2018 and is expected to feature issues such as diversifying nuclear strategies and nuclear risks.

Dr. Hibiki Yamaguchi
Managing Editor
Journal for Peace and Nuclear Disarmament
Nagasaki University

Journal information
Journal for Peace and Nuclear Disarmament, Vol.1, Issue 1.

Press release distributed by ResearchSEA.

Company JCN Newswire
Contact Tiara Liu
Telephone +81-3-5791-1821
World's largest innovation lab designed to help achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals in Singapore
May 23, 2018

SINGAPORE --( ASIA TODAY )-- UNLEASH is a global innovation lab, convening 1,000 carefully selected millennial thought leaders from more than 100 countries, who will collaborate on ideas and solutions to help achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Singapore is the official host of UNLEASH 2018.

In 2017, the inaugural UNLEASH was held in August in Denmark, convening 1,000 talents from 129 countries. Last November, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was handed the host country torch for UNLEASH 2018 by Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen. “We each have a valuable contribution to make to sustainable development,” observed PM Lee Hsien Loong. “I am happy that Singapore’s private sector will be hosting UNLEASH 2018 and doing their part for the Sustainable Development Agenda. This gathering of young, creative and innovative minds will harness the power of human ingenuity, to create imaginative solutions that achieve the SDGs.”

For the upcoming event from May 30 to June 6, UNLEASH has again handpicked 1,000 talents from more than 100 countries, who will work on challenges related to the SDGs, in eight different themes: Zero Hunger, Health, Education, Water & Sanitation, Energy, Sustainable Cities, Responsible Supply Chain & Consumption, and Climate Action. UNLEASH, a nonprofit, is sponsored by leading organizations within their fields, including DBS Bank, Deloitte, National University of Singapore (NUS), Temasek, Keppel Corporation, Sembcorp Industries, Hempel Foundation, Novo Nordisk Foundation, PSA International, Ramboll Foundation, SP Group, ST Engineering, and World Diabetes Foundation.

This year’s UNLEASH program will integrate powerhouse Singaporean businesses with local ways of living, thinking, and working: “Singapore embodies UNLEASH’s values of innovation, multi-culturalism, and cross-sector partnerships,” says Flemming Besenbacher, chairman of UNLEASH, Carlsberg Group, and the Carlsberg Foundation. “I’m looking forward to welcoming the new group of talents and to cement UNLEASH’s status as a global and influential movement for the SDGs.”

An 8-day program to spark innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals

UNLEASH starts on May 30, when talents will be guided through a day of activities at Nanyang Technological University’s (NTU), The Wave. Scheduled speakers include the founder of the World Toilet Organization Jack Sim; and the founder of the Mara Group Ashish Thakkar.

Starting May 31, the talents will go through a four-day Innovation Lab held at NUS and NTU. The talents will form teams that work on solutions within their areas of expertise. The lab will be facilitated by Lead Innovation Partner Deloitte, who is continuing their involvement in UNLEASH from last year.

On June 5, the talent teams will pitch their solutions to experts, mentors and peers at NUS. Teams will then go on to showcase their solutions to the public at the market place, which will be held alongside Ecosperity, Temasek’s annual sustainability-focused conference at Suntec Convention Centre.

On June 6, the final day of UNLEASH, five winning teams will be picked to receive special prizes at the UNLEASH Closing Ceremony. Here, 1,400 local and international stakeholders will convene to celebrate the talents and be inspired by speakers such as President of Singapore Mdm Halimah Yacob; Nobel Peace Prize laureate José Ramos-Horta; Oscar-winning actor and UNESCO Special Envoy for Peace and Reconciliation Forest Whitaker; CEO of DBS Bank Piyush Gupta; and UNDP Innovation Champion Sophia the Robot.

Execution partners are the Carlsberg Foundation, Dalberg, and UNDP.

Interviews with organizers, talents or VIPs can be arranged upon request.

UNLEASH Partners

UNLEASH works with a range of partners. The Diamond partners of UNLEASH include DBS Bank, Deloitte, National University of Singapore, and Temasek. UNLEASH also works with a range of track sponsors and ecosystem partners, who provide guidance and help to the talents.

Partner quotes

“We believe that businesses have a fundamental role to play in sustainable development. DBS is proud to be a key partner of UNLEASH, and to be championing social entrepreneurship – a cornerstone of our sustainability agenda. We’re excited to be supporting the 1,000 bright young minds coming together to create solutions for a better future, and to be part of an important initiative that contributes towards the SDGs.”

- Sim S. Lim, Singapore Country Head, DBS Bank

“Having played a role in the success of the inaugural UNLEASH in 2017, we are honoured to continue our support as lead innovation partner and bring this meaningful experience to Singapore. Deloitte will be sending a global team of 50 facilitators to help the UNLEASH talents advance their ideas through the innovation process and we are excited to see how these wonderful ideas can be translated to help make the world more sustainable for the future.”

- Philip YUEN, Chief Executive Officer, Deloitte Southeast Asia and Singapore

“Temasek is a generational investor and we believe in creating opportunities for the next generation. That is why we are happy to welcome UNLEASH as a partner for Ecosperity this year. Ecosperity is more than a conference. It is an intergenerational effort to build a sustainable tomorrow – starting today.”

- Robin Hu, Head, Sustainability & Stewardship Group, Temasek

“The National University of Singapore (NUS) is proud to be a Diamond Partner for UNLEASH. We wholeheartedly support UNLEASH’s search for innovative solutions to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). NUS itself is committed to incorporate sustainability into all aspects of university life, from research, education, and enterprise, to public service and operations. NUS is pleased to provide accommodation for the 1,000 talents and to host many of the Innovation Lab activities on our campus. Our experts in various SDG themes will also guide the talents on their innovation process.”

- Professor TAN Eng Chye, President of the National University of Singapore

For further information, contact:
Julie Buur Trærup,
M: +6581514302,

- ASIA TODAY News Global Distribution

ADB, AECID Sign MOU for Further Collaboration, Knowledge Sharing
May 22, 2018

ADB Head of Cofinancing Operations Mr. Kai Preugschat (left, sitting) and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) Director Mr. Luis Tejada Chacòn (right, sitting) sign a Memorandum of Agreement (MOU) on the sidelines of the 51st Annual Meeting of ADB's Board of Governors in Manila, Philippines.

They were joined by ADB Deputy Director General for Southeast Asia Ms. F. Cleo Kawawaki (left, standing) and Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry, and Competitiveness Deputy Director for Multilateral Financial Institutions Ms. Clara Crespo Ruiz de Elvira (right, standing).

The MOU lays the groundwork for further cooperation between the two institutions and outlines the criteria for cofinancing projects, coordination of activities in countries and sectors of common interest, and knowledge sharing.


- ASIA TODAY News Global Distribution

ADB Seminar Considers Challenge of Technological Change, Globalization, and Jobs in Asia
May 20, 2018

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — As Asia and the Pacific seeks inclusive and sustainable economic growth, countries are adapting to the possibility that new technologies in fields such as robotics and artificial intelligence may lead to challenges for some industries and groups of workers, according to participants at a high-level Asian Development Bank (ADB) seminar.

“Advances in new technologies will raise incomes and increase demand from Asia’s rising consumer class,” ADB President Mr. Takehiko Nakao said at the Governors’ Seminar during ADB’s 51st Annual Meeting in Manila, Philippines. “Countries that maintain flexible policies, support improvements to education, and put in place a stronger social safety net will be well positioned to take advantage of change that new technologies will bring to the region.”

The seminar “Technological Change, Globalization, and Jobs in Asia” had as panelists Philippines Finance Secretary Mr. Carlos G. Dominguez, Indonesia Finance Minister Ms. Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Japan Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Taro Aso, and Fiji Attorney-General and Minister for Economy, Public Enterprises, Civil Service, and Communications Mr. Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. They shared experiences and issues from their countries’ perspectives.

According to the theme chapter of ADB’s Asian Development Outlook 2018, despite concerns that new technologies and automation could lead to widespread job losses, there are four reasons for optimism about developing Asia’s job prospects.

First, despite the growing use of industrial robots in the region, new technologies often automate some tasks of a job, not the whole job.

Second, automation takes place only where it is both technically and economically feasible, and it has so far been concentrated in the region’s capital-intensive manufacturing with relatively low employment levels.

Third, empirical evidence from developing Asia shows that jobs created by rising domestic demand more than compensate for job losses due to technological advances. This job creation will likely continue as a growing middle class consumes more and better goods and services.

Fourth, technological advances and rising incomes will lead to new occupations and industries, further offsetting labor displacement due to automation.

Nonetheless, new technologies will alter the composition of skills needed by the workforce, panelists said. They may lead to more frequent unemployment and lower wage growth for less skilled workers who engage in manual and routine tasks, widening income inequality.

Governments can respond by ensuring workers are protected from these negative effects. This will require policy actions on education and skills development, labor regulation, social protection, and income distribution. Also, government support for new technologies must benefit people and protect their rights and privacy, panelists agreed.

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2017, ADB operations totaled $32.2 billion, including $11.9 billion in cofinancing.

- ASIA TODAY News Global Distribution

Grateful for the Little Blessings
May 15, 2018

She was only in her early twenties when Zaliha binti Sis discovered that her kidneys were failing. Noticing that her legs and face were unusually swollen, she decided to go for a medical check-up, and was diagnosed as having nephrotic syndrome, a type of kidney disorder.

Two years later in 1978, Zaliha got married and began her lifelong journey with dialysis. Later that same year, due to her chronic kidney condition, Zaliha was also forced to abort her pregnancy. Her husband, a health officer, whom she had confided in about her illness before marriage, was understanding and supportive.

She received a glimmer of hope in 1979 when her mother donated one of her kidneys, but after undergoing surgery the following year, Zaliha’s body rejected it, leaving the latter with no choice but to resume dialysis.

Back then, the former assistant nurse used to commute to Hospital Kuala Lumpur (HKL) from Banting to undergo 8-hour dialysis treatments three times a week.

“I am very fortunate to have had the strong support of my husband and his family while I was ill and undergoing treatment. Even my hospital superiors were understanding and gave me the flexibility to choose my work shifts based on my treatments,” shares Zaliha.

In 1982, the couple adopted a daughter, her husband’s niece, who is now an engineer with two sons of her own. Zaliha’s treatments have now reduced to four hours per session, and despite all she has been through, the 63-year-old seems content.

“Even though I have to undergo these treatments I’m still able to do the things I love, like sewing and cooking for my family. I made sure I controlled my child’s diet when she was younger so she wouldn’t go through what I did,” says Zaliha, who currently lives in Ampang with her daughter and grandsons.”

“My only wish”, she says, “is to see my grandsons grow up healthily and hope that I don’t become a burden to anyone as I get older.”
Meanwhile, Melini binti Ismail has been through quite a different journey. Born in Kota Bharu, Kelantan, Melini pursued her further education in accounting (ACCA) in the United Kingdom many years ago.

The former accountant at TV3 found out about her failing kidneys after a blood test in 2012. Prior to that, Melini and her family members had suspected that her kidneys were not functioning well as she was already suffering from diabetes and hypertension (high blood pressure).

However, despite advice from the nephrologist she decided to delay her dialysis treatments due to her work commitments at a German firm at that time.

Since commencing dialysis treatments in late 2012, the 62-year-old admits that one of the things she has had to give up, and that she misses most, is traveling.

“When traveling I need to find areas with dialysis centres and book well in advance, which can be quite troublesome, especially if I’m going overseas. So the only traveling I do these days is back to my hometown in Kota Bahru, which incidentally has an NKF branch,” shares Melini, who has only been under NKF’s care since 2012, undergoing dialysis treatments at a private hospital prior to this.

Having a chronic kidney condition also means that Melini has to watch her diet closely, which can prove to be quite challenging for a self-proclaimed food-lover like her.

She admits that she was once admitted to hospital for two days after indulging in nasi dagang. Since that scare, she has been more careful about her diet and has started cooking healthier food for herself.

These days, Melini, who has two daughters and a son, spends her free time helping her husband plant figs and lemons at his farms in Rawang.

“These days I prefer to stay home, cook and spend time with my family. I’m actually happy with what I have, and wouldn’t want to consider a kidney transplant from any of my family members. My only regret is perhaps that I did not have more children when I was younger, but otherwise, I have lived a good life. I am happy.”

For more information on these and future NKF activities or to donate towards the organisation’s efforts, please visit - or call 03-7954 9048.


Plight Story
by National Kidney Foundation Malaysia

National Kidney Foundation of Malaysia
The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) Malaysia is a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to helping Malaysians suffering from end stage kidney failure who lack access to or cannot afford dialysis treatment. NKF currently has over 1,600 dialysis patients receiving subsidized dialysis treatment in over 27 dialysis centers nationwide.

- ASIA TODAY News Global Distribution