A community engagement programme for the indigenous communities in Kuala Mu, Kuala Kangsar District, Perak was conducted by UniKL RCMP, UniKL MIAT and RCMP Alumni in collaboration with the Malaysian Relief Agency (Perak Chapter) and the Club 4X4, from the 29 to the 31 of December, 2017.
Medical and Pharmacy students preparing for the mobile clinic at Kg Gepeh Hul
The objective of this activity was to provide medical as well as other forms of welfare assistance for the rural communities. It was also intended to expose our students to the experience of living with remote communities so that they could understand the problems faced by these people. The lack of basic facilities in such places cause severe hardship for the people especially during medical emergencies.
Distributing snacks to the children
The students who participated in this activity were mainly from Aviation Technology, Medical and Pharmacy programmes. They were led by qualified doctors and physiotherapists from the UniKL RCMP Alumni.
UniKL RCMP collaborating with UniKL MIAT
The participants were briefed on the events so as to prepare them for the tough life they were going to endure. The next day the team departed by bus and van to Kg Baung near Kuala Kangsar, about an hour by road. They were accompanied by several four-wheel drive vehicles which were used to transport the team to the village of Kuala Mu through the timber tracks. We arrived at the village after two hours in sunny weather and were welcomed by the Village Headman, Penghulu Hadu.
The Orang Asli communities of Kuala Mu comprise of the Temiar tribes living in several villages headed by the Tok Batin. They are mainly subsistence farmers who grow bananas, tapioca, sweet potatoes and vegetables for their own consumption while they also grow cocoa and coconuts as cash crops to transact for essential household items.
UniKL RCMP mobile clinic team
We found that the government has installed solar panels for electricity generation in some of the households. Water supply is from gravity pipes and clean water is provided through the filtration system installed in some places such as the school. Incidentally, the villages are located close to the river for easy access to water as well as a means of transport and source of food supply.
As soon as they arrived, some of the students started preparing for the community programme the next morning while the rest of them went tracking in the forest guided by the Penghulu Hadu.
Having tug-of -war with Orang Asli children
The next morning, the Medical and Pharmacy students prepared for the mobile clinic at Kg Gepeh Hulu. The Tok Batin of Kg Gepeh Hulu gave us permission to conduct the mobile clinic at the village near the Rumah Siwang. The medical team registered the villagers, measured their height and weight and blood pressure as a screening for hypertension. Those with high risk for diabetes were screened for blood glucose as well. Some were given treatment for minor medical conditions.
Those with hypertension and diabetes were advised to seek further treatment from the nearest clinic or hospital. The medical team was well received by the villagers and the team managed to visit several villages where the children were given demonstrations of personal hygiene that included nail care and treatment for lice.
The students also conducted sporting activities with the school children and played tug-of-war with students and adults. Meanwhile, the cooking team prepared food for the villagers and the participants. We are thankful to all the donors for their contribution of food, clothing and educational materials.
The next day we woke up early and started preparing for the journey back home. The participants reached the destination at Kg Baung from where they were transferred to the waiting bus and vans that took them to Ipoh and Kuala Lumpur respectively.
The students gained useful experience staying in the Orang Asli village besides learning the importance of team work in overcoming obstacles and completing tasks. . It was indeed an experience the students will cherish for a long time.
We wish to thank Dr Zailani from UniKL MIAT for his initiative in collaborating with UniKL RCMP in support of this programme. Our sincere appreciation to members of the Malaysian Relief Agency (MRA) and the 4X4 Club for their logistic support and the four-wheel drive vehicles and technical support.
Prof Dr Abdul Karim Russ Hassan