Helping seniors to age gracefully

MALAYSIA is expected to become an ‘aged nation’ by 2030 when 15% of its total population are senior citizens (aged 60 and above).


Penang Agrotech and Food Security, Rural Development and Health Committee chairman Dr Norlela Ariffin said that Penang is currently in second place (after Perak) in terms of the ageing population in the states.


Dr Norlela delivering her speech.


“The data from the Department of Statistics Malaysia shows that the elderly population in Penang will increase to 26.2% in the year 2040. Penang is expected to grab the pole position in 20 years,” Dr Norlela said.


Stressing the importance of awareness and action, Dr Norlela commended the Malaysian Pharmacists Society (MPS) Penang, MPS Young Pharmacist Chapter Penang and Malaysian Community Pharmacy Guild (Northern Branch) for hosting the Penang Pharmacists Convention (PPC) 2022.


The theme of the two-day convention was ‘Aging and Geriatric Health’.


“I understand that the convention is aimed at promoting and equipping pharmacists in handling geriatric health.


“The participants can learn about their roles and ways of providing long-term care for the elderly who needs it.


“This convention is an ideal platform for pharmacists,” she said in her opening speech at Ascott Gurney Penang today.


Dr Norlela visiting the booths after the opening ceremony. With her is Andrew (second from right).


The PPC 2022 marks the first physical event hosted by MPS-Penang since the implementation of the movement control order (MCO) in March 2020.


She also wished the elderly community a Happy International Day for Older Persons. The affair is celebrated annually on Oct 1 (today).


“The Penang government launched the ‘Road Map for Active Ageing’ in Komtar yesterday (Sept 30), aimed at creating an elderly-friendly city,” she said.


Organising chairman Tan Zhi Kai hoped that the convention could expose the participants to a better experience and knowledge.


“We have lectures on various topics related to geriatric health, and workshop sessions to guide them (participants) on wound care, assisted living and others,” he said.


He believed that pharmacists could play a big role in improving the quality of life of the elder population.


Through a teleconference, MPS president Amrahi Buang said chronic care and geriatric management were part of the major focuses of national initiatives.




“Pharmacists from all levels of practice are well-positioned to play a crucial role as medication experts in chronic care and geriatric management,” he said.


He congratulated the Health Ministry for initiating the Health White Paper (HWP) advisory council.


It was reported that the Health White Paper aims to future-proof the healthcare system by focusing on key areas such as equitability of access; sustainable healthcare financing; governance, oversight, and accountability; and bringing ‘health’ back to healthcare.


“Unfortunately, pharmacists are still not included in the advisory council. We have submitted an appeal to be included in the advisory council,” he said.


MPS deputy president Andrew Tan Eng Joo agreed with Amrahi on the need to include pharmacists in the HWP advisory council.


Andrew addressing the media.


The 13-member advisory council was formally set up on Aug 10, and is co-chaired by former health minister Tan Sri Dr S. Subramaniam and Axiata Group chairman, Tan Sri Shahril Ridza Ridzuan.


Back to the PPC 2022, the convention featured more than 10 renowned healthcare companies.


The convention was attended by over 170 registered participants, outstanding speakers, government officials, healthcare professionals and media nationwide.


Among those present were Malaysian Community Pharmacy Guild president Foon Hwei Foong, Universiti Sains Malaysia School of Pharmaceutical Science dean Prof Dr Habibah A Wahab, MPS-Penang chairman Gina Koay, Malaysian Community Pharmacy Guild (Northern Branch) chairman Teoh Sin Yee, and Malaysian Pharmacist Society Young Pharmacist Chapter Penang former chairman Brian Tan.



Story by Christopher Tan

Pix by Alissala Thian