Dr Fazlina Ahmad (fourth from left) stressing a point to Dr G. Baskaran (fifth from left) and Dr Farique Rizal and others

By S. Arulldas

Rotary Foundation and Rotary International lend a helping hand to create palliative care ward at Sultanah Bahiyah Hospital in Alor Setar, Kedah.

The palliative care ward was officially opened on Aug 23 by Rotary Club of Alor Setar past president Radha Kumar’s husband Dr Vishar Kumar, Rotary Club of Alor Setar president M. Uthaya Sanker and past district governor Dr G. Baskaran.

Also present was hospital’s deputy medical director Dr Farique Rizal Abd Hamid, Kedah and Perlis Palliative Care Specialist Dr Fazlina Ahmad, Rotary Club of Guindy, Chennai, president R. Sivaraman and Rotary Club of Hatyai president Nareerat Boonchuay.

A seven member team from Rotary Club of Guindy and nine member team from Rotary Club of Hatyai attended the event.

Rotary Club of Alor Setar initiated the idea of creating a palliative care ward at the hospital was mooted in 2014 by its past president Chong Poe Su, but it was shelved due to time and financial constraints.

Dr Kumar cutting the ribbon, looking on are Dr Fazlina Ahmad (first from left), Dr Farique Rizal (second from left) Dr G. Baskran, M. Utahya Sankar and R. Sivaraman

It was revived when Dr Radha Kumar, who was the director of the hospital was elected president of the Rotary Club of Alor Setar in 2017, she later fell victim was the president for 2017 and 2018

A preliminary meeting was held between the club represented by Dr Radha and past presidents Poe Su, Sarjit Singh and RJ Naidu and Datuk Dr Muhammad Radzi Abu Hassan and Dr Fazlina Ahmad from the hospital.

Rotarians and the Hospital staff posing for a group photo outside the palliative care ward at Hospital Sultanah Bahiyah, Alor Setar

The club applied for global grant for the project from Rotary Foundation, where Rotary International district 3300 donated USD 10,000 (RM41,803) Rotary Club of Alor Setar through late Dr Radha Kumar’s family that raised USD5,000 (RM20,901)

Rotary Club of Narayanganj from Bangladesh donated USD5,000 (RM20,901), Rotary Club of Guindy, Chennai, India donated USD5,000 (20,901).

Totally the club raised USD44,987 (RM180,529), where it purchased eight units of oxygen concentrators, seven units of electric beds, seven units of terumo terusion syringe pumps, seven units of vital sign monitor set with trolley patient monitor and one unit of defribillator for the ward.

The ward was now equipped with more beds and medical equipment to enable terminally ill patients to rest in relative comfort, supported by specialised palliative care hospital staff led by Dr Fazlina Ahmad.

Uthaya Sankar in his welcoming speech thanked the Rotary Foundation and Rotary International for making their dream come true.

Sivaraman praised the Rotary Club Alor Setar for the idea to create the palliative care ward for the noble humanitarian service.

Dr Farique Rizal said the hospital has 1,100 beds, 70 speciality clinics where 45 clinics need a palliative care ward as the number of patients were kept increasing.

He commended the works and contributions of Rotary Club of Alor Setar for sponsoring the palliative care ward at the hospital and he welcomed the public-private partnership as private corporations.