KOTA KINABALU: A group of National Heart Institute (IJN) employees will be touring Sabah to provide free medical check-ups and raise health awareness among the local communities here.
Clad in their cycling apparel, 17 clinical and non-clinical IJN employees will cycle a total of 625km.
Besides going deep into Sabah’s interior, the group will also visit the state’s West Coast and Kudat divisions.
They began their journey at Mitsubishi’s TNBC Motors Sdn Bhd office compound at 7am here, today.
The group was flagged off by Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia regional sales manager Bernard Kee and TNBC Motor sales manager CK Wong.
The My Heart, My Life — Sabah 2017 Cycling Tour programme, co-organised by IJN Foundation and IJN Cycling Club (IJNCC), will also see the group teaming up with local cyclists from other districts.
IJNCC captain Azran Ahmad, who led the team, said the programme is aimed at promoting a healthy lifestyle through cycling, besides allowing IJN to engage the local communities.
“During the tour, we will stop at four districts, namely Sipitang, Keningau, Kundasang, and Kota Marudu before returning to Kota Kinabalu.
“The team’s size will increase to about 40 people when local cyclists join us in Keningau and Kundasang.
“At each stopping point, we will conduct free screenings for the locals so they can check their cholesterol, sugar, and heart rate levels, among others,” he said.
The team will also visit two less fortunate heart patients in Kinarut and Keningau to get an update on their conditions.
IJN will also conduct a Community Social Responsibility (CSR) programme on Sept 16 in Kundasang in conjunction with Malaysia Day and World Heart Day.
Azran said during the event, IJN chief executive officer Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Azhari Yakub will be present to give talks on cardiac health to the people of Kundasang.
Other activities include aerobic exercises and free medical check-ups.
Mohd Azhari is also scheduled to join the cycling tour from Keningau to Kundasang.
Under IJN Foundation’s Patient Aid Programme, the foundation has spent almost RM4 million to help finance treatments and operations for 157 less fortunate patients, including 77 children.
Meanwhile, IJN deputy head of cardiothoracic surgery department Dr Alwi Mohamed Yunus said the institute has, in the past, provided support to hospitals in Sabah with regard to heart surgery.
“Prior to the establishment of the heart surgery centre in Queen Elizabeth Hospital 2 here, we often sent our specialists to Kota Kinabalu.
“Some 10 years ago, we used to do (surgeries) here when there were no heart surgeons in Kota Kinabalu.
“However, Sabah now has surgeons. In fact, a surgeon who was a trainee of ours is currently attached to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital 2 and he’s heading the cardiac services unit,” he added.
In support of the the IJN Cycling Tour programme, Mitsubishi Motors has provided two vehicles to help transport medical supplies and equipment. -NST