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IBU x Thomson Hospital Kota Damansara Health Chats- Paediatric and adult care

Updated: Jul 24, 2023

"I got no time to see the doctor lah!”


We completely understand why going to the doctor just seems too time-consuming, especially when we have little kids! We know it sometimes can take hours, just to find out that there was nothing wrong in the first place!


So, we bring the doctors to you instead! Thank you, Thomson Hospital Kota Damansara. For taking the time to advise us on topics from paediatric care, eye health to the certified CPR session. For giving all of us better access to professionals through casual Coffee Morning chats!

Paediatric care and medical knowledge for parents
IBUxTHKD Health Chats


IBU x THKD Health Chat #3: Are Adult flu vaccines necessary

An overview

Last week, I had the privilege of attending an interactive and insightful IBU Coffee Morning hosted by Dr. Nor Liza Ariffin, who specialises in Infectious Diseases at Thomson Hospital.



Dr Nor Liza Ariffin, Consultant Infectious Disease Physician
Dr Nor Liza Ariffin, Consultant Infectious Disease Physician

The Coffee Morning conversation centered around the crucial topic of influenza vaccination for adults, with a special focus on mothers. Dr Liza provided valuable insights on various aspects related to vaccination, including the difference between viruses and bacteria, the appropriate use of antibiotics, the importance of taking the influenza vaccine, optimal timing for vaccination shots in Malaysia, and weighing the potential side effects against the risks of not taking the vaccine.


As a mother, I found Dr. Liza's talk both informative and empowering. In this blog post, I aim to share my perspective on these topics and emphasize the significance of influenza vaccination for mothers.


The Difference between Virus and Bacteria:

Viruses are microscopic particles that require a host cell to replicate and cause infection. They are responsible for several diseases, including influenza.


Bacteria, on the other hand, are single-celled organisms capable of surviving both inside and outside the body. While some bacteria can cause infections, many are harmless or even beneficial.


Understanding this difference is crucial in realizing that antibiotics are not effective against viral infections like the flu, underscoring the need for preventive measures such as vaccination. As mothers, it is vital for us to be knowledgeable about the appropriate use of antibiotics and to follow our healthcare provider's guidance.


Paediactric care and medical knoledge sessions for parents
A serious discussion in a lovely venue. Thank you Red Beanbag, for hosting us
The Importance of Taking a Vaccine for Influenza:

Dr. Liza highlighted the significance of influenza vaccination, especially for mothers. The influenza virus can cause severe illness and complications, particularly in vulnerable populations such as pregnant women, young children, and the elderly. By getting vaccinated, we not only protect ourselves but also create a protective barrier for our families and communities. Influenza vaccination reduces the risk of contracting the virus, minimizes the severity of symptoms, and decreases the chances of complications, hospitalizations, and even death.


As mothers, we must learn to prioritize our own health, to have the energy, strength, and emotional capacity to provide the care and support our families need. It is true, mothers often put the needs of their families before their own, which can sometimes lead to neglecting their own well-being. Dr. Liza reminded us - during an emergency on an airplane, flight attendants always emphasize the importance of taking care of ourselves first before assisting others. Similarly, as mothers, it is essential to prioritize our own well-being so that we can effectively care for our families. By putting ourselves first in terms of self-care, we are not being selfish, but rather recognizing that by taking care of ourselves, we are better equipped to take care of those who depend on us.


When Should We Take Our Vaccination Shots in Malaysia?

Generally, it is recommended to get vaccinated before the peak influenza season. In Malaysia, the peak season is usually from November to February. However, it is essential to consult healthcare professionals for specific recommendations based on individual circumstances, as vaccination timing may vary depending on factors such as age, health status, and the prevalence of influenza in the community.


Side Effects of Taking the Vaccine: Weighing the Risks:

Common side effects include soreness or redness at the injection site, low-grade fever, and mild body aches. Serious side effects are rare. It is crucial to understand that the potential side effects of the vaccine should be weighed against the risks associated with not taking the vaccine. The side effects of the influenza vaccine are generally minor compared to the potential complications and impact of the flu itself.


As mothers, it is our responsibility to make informed decisions by considering the potential side effects in relation to the dangers of not taking the vaccine.


My take away from the Coffee Morning with Dr Liza that day was to remind myself to get my annual influenza shot. Dr Liza gave us a valuable tip on how to not miss our annual vaccination - gift ourselves a trip to the doctors for an influenza shot on our birthdays. That way we will never miss!


~Shobana Segran

IBU Volunteer


IBU x THKD Health Chat #4: Common paediatric surgeries

An overview

Starting 2023, IBU and Thomson Hospital Kota Damansara joined hands to build a safe, healthy, happy parent community. Through a series of lectures, workshops, online sessions, Thomson Hospitals offer parents tips and guidance in raising healthy children.


Appendicitis, broken bones, hernia... few things hurt a parent's heart more than the thought of their child in pain. We are very grateful to be able to sit down with Thomson Hospital Kota Damansara's (THKD) Consultant Paediatric Surgeon Dato' Dr Zakaria to talk about the common surgeries in children, as well as what to expect.


Paediatric and medical knowledge for parents
Dato’ Dr Zakaria holds us all spellbound
Who is a Paediatric Surgeon?

A paediatric surgeon is a specialised surgeon who focuses on providing surgical care to infants, children, and adolescents. They are trained to diagnose, treat, and manage surgical conditions in young patients, from newborns to teenagers. Paediatric surgeons have expertise in performing a wide range of surgical procedures, including both elective and emergency surgeries.


Paediatric surgeons often collaborate with other healthcare professionals, such as paediatricians, paediatric anesthesiologists, and paediatric nurses, to ensure holistic, comprehensive and specialised care for their young patients. They may treat various conditions, including congenital anomalies (such as cleft lip and palate, heart defects, and gastrointestinal malformations), paediatric cancers, abdominal and thoracic conditions, trauma injuries, and more.


Currently there are around 70 - 80 Paediatric Surgeons serving in both public and private hospitals in Malaysia.


Difference between Paediatric Surgeon and General Surgeon

In addition to their surgical skills, paediatric surgeons also have a deep understanding of the unique physiological and psychological aspects of paediatric patients. They strive to create a comfortable and child-friendly environment while delivering the best possible surgical care to children and their families in a holistic manner.


Compared to paediatric surgeons, general surgeons are trained to perform a wide range of surgical procedures on various parts of the body, and their patients are mostly adults.


When should you consult a paediatric surgeon?
  • When your child is in chronic pain, and the problem has not been improved after seeing a few doctors

  • If the problem persists for more than 2 weeks

  • Referred to by a consultant paediatrician


Should you wait and see a paediatric surgeon if your child has an accident such as a burn, road accident, etc?
  • No. Please send your child to the emergency department of any hospital immediately for further assessment.


What are the common surgeries in children?
  • Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy

  • Circumcision

  • Hernia Repair

  • Appendectomy

  • Orthopaedic Surgeries

  • Cancer in Children - however depending on the type of cancer, a paediatric surgeon will work with other health professionals such as Paediatric Oncologist or Paediatric Neurosurgeon


Can a general surgeon perform circumcision on children?

Dato’ Dr Zakaria shared that parents should consider few factors before sending their child for circumcision:

  • Risk factors if the procedure is done by non-paediatric focused medical professionals

  • Risk factors if the procedure is done in a non-hospital setting

  • Skillsets of the medical professionals - whether they are able to handle paediatric patients (take your child’s behaviour, physiological and psychological needs into considerations as well)


What if I don’t want my child to be circumcised?

Dato’ Dr Zakaria said that’s totally fine! Just make sure that it’s properly cleaned. However, do note that for young children, don’t forcibly retract to clean as it may cause more harm. If you are not sure, do check with your doctor.


Circumcision is not a surgery to rush, and to ensure success, a parent is advised to do following:
  • Proper research on the pros and cons of the procedure. If you are not sure whether to go for circumcision, talk to your doctor!

  • Prepare your child mentally by having healthy conversations prior to the procedure. Once the child is being prepared, they will not be in shock when it happens.

  • The peak period of circumcision is during the school holidays. You can help the surgeon to lessen their workload by avoiding peak period (wink wink)

  • Post surgery care: loose fitting clothes, ensure there is enough intake of food and water as well as rest

IBU Volunteer


IBU x THKD Health Chats
Thank you for talking with us and reassuring parents

Venue for this chat: Red Beanbag


About Dato' Dr Zakaria Zahari, Consultant Paediatric Surgeon at Thomson Hospital Kota Damansara:


Dato' Dr. Zakaria Zahiri
Dato' Dr. Zakaria Zahiri

Dato’ Dr Zakaria graduated from the Royal College of Surgeons, Dublin in 1986. He commenced his surgical training in Hospital Kuala Lumpur (HKL) in March 1989 and passed his Fellowship Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh in November 1991. He pursued training in paediatric surgery since 1993 and has worked in Royal Children’s Hospital, Brisbane, Australia in 1995. Subsequently, he was appointed as the Head of Paediatric Surgery, Hospital Kuala Lumpur in 2000 and retired in November 2021. Throughout his impressive career in the Ministry of Health, he has revolutionised the paediatric surgical landscape in Malaysia. He was at the forefront in clinical excellence, research and academic teaching in Malaysia. Dr Zakaria's achievements in the medical field include being the leader of a surgical team that successfully separated a pair of conjoined, premature infants.


Other Health Chats

Thomson Hospital plans a series of workshops and other sessions with their experts. Do check our calendar for the dates and times as they get scheduled, so you don't miss out on important medical knowledge for your child and your family!


Still to come:


Update. We take this opportunity to check how many have redeemed their special rates and vouchers from Thomson Hospital? Click here to respond or share your feedback





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