It all started when I realised that treating patients is not just about the clinical signs and symptoms that they experience. I got to know through my interactions with them that some are looking for a decent job while five kids are waiting to be fed at home. Some live in rural areas; I never knew of their existence. Some even need to travel 200 km to reach a tertiary hospital to see a specialist.
The Johor Doctors’ Association, also known as Persatuan Doktor-Doktor Johor (PDDJ), is a non-profit organisation set up in 2017, gathering a group of medical professionals with the aim of promoting health awareness, providing health screenings and home visits to the community, especially those who lack health-care access.
To date, the Johor Doctors’ Association has 250 members, consisting of doctors, dentists, nurses, physiotherapists and medical assistants. A total of 14 health screenings and 50 home visits have been carried out. Our health screening is slightly unique where the mobile hospital approach is implemented. We bring healthcare professionals from eight to 10 different specialties to rural areas to offer medical consultation.
I have always believed that an organisation is never complete without youth. Young people are able to contribute fresh ideas. Their intention to help society is usually so genuine and pure. With this, we expanded our association by collaborating with medical schools in Johor and formed PDDJ Newcastle University Student Alliance (PDDJNUSA) and PDDJ Monash.
To battle the COVID-19 pandemic, our members have been working hard to produce, collect and distribute personal protective equipment, food and other forms of donations received from the public. They have been working behind the scenes despite their busy schedules. It is our burden to ensure that all frontliners receive the equipment they need.
The success of the Johor Doctors’ Association would not have been possible without my female colleagues and my wife who fought this challenging battle with me. This proves the importance of women in any organisation. My wife, who is also my pillar, who completed her Master’s degree, is currently pursuing a PhD programme while taking care of our three children. It is not an easy feat. I appreciate her for being there to care for my whole family. I would like to also honour my mother, who has always supported me fully in everything I do.
Half of the board of directors in the Johor Doctors’ Association are led by very dedicated women. Dr Noreen, the ex-deputy president of our association, has contributed so much in the past before she left to Kota Bharu. When we first set up this organisation, she shared my burden and helped in every way that she could. Not forgetting Dr Latha, the current Vice President of our association, who is also the Head of Dermatology Department at Hospital Sultan Ismail. She has assisted me in organising health camps, sharing great ideas, and leading the team together.
Medical Officers Dr Tee Fuei Shian from HSI and Dr Soo Xi Ying from Klinik Kesihatan Taman University, serve as Treasurer and Vice Treasurer, respectively. Both have done such a great job being so meticulous in handling the accounts of our association. Every single donation from the public was recorded and traced. This association would have never run so smoothly without them. Loo Jie Qi holds the vice secretary position. This final-year medical student from Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia (NUMed) was the former president of PDDJNUSA. Being the youngest in the committee, she is willing to learn from anyone at any time. She once led in organising a health camp. Since it was her first time, she had to learn everything from scratch. Her effort and passion in community work are witnessed by everyone.
The current president of PDDJNUSA, Soh Wei Yan, is also a young lady from NUMed, currently in Year Four of medical school. She has a team of committee members to run PDDJNUSA in the university, ensuring that the youths have the chance to be exposed to various community work. In PDDJ Monash, four out of six committee members are iron ladies.
This association is not complete without the Excos. Yap May Kay and Lim Roucen, both pharmacists, have been replying messages on social media, coordinating donations and contacting suppliers. Dr Sharon Phua, the Head of Rehabilitation Department at Hospital Sultanah Aminah, led her rehabilitation team to sew gowns for the frontliners. During this pandemic, she made every effort to ensure that her colleagues always had adequate supply of personal protective equipment. Last but not least, D. Celine Fong, ex-committee and personal assistant in a medical camp, currently a doctor at a hospital in the United Kingdom.
I cannot imagine how it would be like to not have youths and women working with me. Their time, effort and sacrifices to our community and the nation are commendable and deserve much recognition. It is important for us to acknowledge that our youths and women have contributed significantly not just in the past, as well as the present and future. I stand together with you today to celebrate and honour their efforts, passion and service with two heartfelt words – Thank You.
Dr Ng Kim Fong is the founder and current president of the Johor Doctors’ Association. He currently serves as a Clinical Cardiology Specialist practising at Hospital Sultanah Aminah (HSA), Johor Bahru, Malaysia.
Malaysia National News Agency
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