Joining forces to support population health

We signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Health (MOH), which marks a huge milestone between the Southeast Asia Community Observatory (SEACO) and MOH.

Monash University Malaysia signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Ministry of Health (MOH), working collaboratively to provide greater insights into population health and well-being in Malaysia.

The signing ceremony and partnership marks a huge milestone between the Southeast Asia Community Observatory (SEACO) at Monash University and MOH. Since 2011, their collaboration has enabled them to pursue health-related studies concerning dengue, paediatric eye disease, and diabetes among other trending health issues in the country.

“The MOU will serve as a mutual understanding between MOH and SEACO to further explore and provide insights related to health and social issues for the betterment of the Malaysian community. We hope that this collaboration will aid in the development of better policies on the health and well-being within middle-income communities in Malaysia,” said Professor Andrew Walker, President & Pro Vice-Chancellor, Monash University Malaysia.

SEACO is a major public health research facility located in Segamat, Johor. Funded by Monash University (Australia and Malaysia), the research platform in population health and well-being is modelled on the Health and Demographic Surveillance Systems (HDSS), which gathers health and demographic data for a dynamic cohort of the total population in a specific geographic area.

With more than 40,000 people participating in its regular data collection, SEACO collates and interprets health and health-related information that can be shared across multiple research programs in public health, social and environmental sciences, demography, human geography, and the clinical and biomedical sciences.

The partnership with MOH also allows leading public health professionals to be appointed as SEACO Scientific Advisory Group members. The appointment of these representatives will support future collaboration at district, state, and national levels. Additionally, SEACO’s position within Monash University Malaysia’s Jeffrey Cheah School of Medicine and Health Sciences provides opportunities for informal training and award programs to MOH employees.

“Today is a small, yet significant step moving towards our aim to prioritise the importance of health in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (or SDGs). Through SEACO, MOH has collaborated on a wide range of multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary research in the clinical and biomedical sciences, the social sciences, economics, education, and environmental sciences.Several policy briefs have also been published following implementation-type research conducted under SEACO. I look forward to meaningful research output coming out from this collaboration.” shared Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, Director General of Health, Ministry of Health, Malaysia.

Other outputs from SEACO and MOH’s research collaboration include:

  • A paediatric eye disease study that lead to the recommendation for younger national eye screening
  • Ongoing studies with the National Obstetrics Registry (NOR) which includes a study on pregnancy and childbirth outcomes with Hospital Segamat and the Segamat District Health Office
  • A study on blood-glucose control in diabetics leading to the discovery that >40% of people with diabetes were poorly controlled
  • An ongoing study on atrial fibrillation in the community and its relationship to dementia
  • An ongoing study on the relationship between antimicrobial resistance in the community and the hospital

For more information on research at Monash University Malaysia, please visit www.monash.edu.my/research.