Association to sign WHO declaration on Parkinson's
By The New Straits Times Press
KUALA LUMPUR: April 11 is a significant day for patients with Parkinson's disease throughout the world as they gather to celebrate World Parkinson's Day.
It is also the birthday of Dr James Parkinson, the physician who established the disease as a recognised medical condition.
In Malaysia, it is estimated that more than 10,000 people are afflicted with the disease and the number is growing.
World Parkinson's Day aims to raise awareness of Parkinson's disease and how it impacts individuals, families and the wider community.
The Malaysian Parkinson's Disease Association (MPDA) will be signing the World Health Organisation (WHO) Global Declaration on Parkinson's Disease.
The MPDA is the first non-governmental and patient-based organisation set up to provide support for people with Parkinson's and their caregivers in the country.
Sara Lew, the president of MPDA, said the declaration was significant as it helped to create greater awareness of Parkinson's disease.
"Parkinson's disease is a silent disease and the symptoms are often associated with old age. Patients need a lot of emotional and physical support. As the disease progresses, the patient's movement is greatly affected and emotionally get weaker.
"This puts a great deal of stress on caregivers. There is a need for greater support from the government and healthcare agencies to meet the needs of Parkinson's disease patients, in terms of medical aid and other support services, such as having more disabled friendly facilities and services.
"It is in the interest of the government that the necessary support be given as many of the patients are still economically productive and can contribute to nation building.
"As MPDA is the first support group for Parkinson's disease patients in Malaysia, we want to work closely with the government to come up with effective strategies that can improve the quality of lives of patients," she said.
More than 20 countries have signed the Declaration.
The Malaysian Chapter of the WHO Global Declaration of Parkinson's Disease will be signed on April 25, witnessed by members of MPDA, Health and Social Welfare Ministry officials and representatives of drug companies.