5 Apr 2017 IMU Pharmacy Alumna Heads T&CM Policy and International Relations Unit
Improving lives and making a difference for people were the motivation for Ng Angeline to aspire to be a pharmacist. In the earlier years, she had always imagined herself as a clinical pharmacist in the ICU or oncology department. She had since moved away from this direction and is currently the Principal Assistant Director and Head of the Policy and International Relations Unit, Traditional and Complementary Medicine Division (T&CM), Ministry of Health, Malaysia. This is the national regulatory authority overseeing the practice and practitioners of T&CM in Malaysia. It is committed in ensuring the practice of T&CM in Malaysia is safe and effective for the benefit of all Malaysians
|What does my team do in the Policy and International Relations Unit?|
|Coordinate matters relating to the act, policy and regulation of T&CM|
|Coordinate matters related to the Malaysian Parliament for the T&CM Division|
|Responsible for the development, implementation and evaluation of T&CM-related health policies and planning in Malaysia|
|Focal point and advisor to the Ministry and the T&CM Division on international issues related to T&CM|
|Develop and build strategic partnerships to foster international collaboration in the field of T&CM amongst others.|
Why we do what we do?
o Although conventional medicine is the primary healthcare system in Malaysia, traditional and complementary medicine continues to be practiced and be in high demand due to the rich ethnic diversity and cultural beliefs of the Malaysian society.
o Considering the socio-economic importance of T&CM, the Ministry of Health Malaysia places considerable amount of effort to develop T&CM in the country with a vision that one day T&CM and modern medicine will harmoniously co-exist to enhance the health and quality of life of all Malaysians.
o To achieve that vision, the Ministry had partake on various measures and initiatives to professionalise the T&CM industry and to ensure T&CM services of the highest safety and quality can be accessible to all. This included the establishment of the Traditional and Complementary Medicine Division in 2004, the establishment of T&CM Units in government healthcare facilities and most recently, the enforcement of the T&CM Act in 2016. We are also moving towards service provision at the primary health care and domiciliary level.
o The Ministry is also embarking on the development of a National T&CM Blueprint 2018-2027 which will guide the 10-year development of T&CM in the country. The blueprint shall cover the socio-cultural, economic and healthcare aspects of T&CM development which will ultimately contribute towards a strengthened Malaysian healthcare system.’
|Angeline began her tertiary education in pharmacy at IMU in 2005 and graduated in 2009. For her, getting a pharmacy degree from a reputable university is a great start to a professional career in healthcare. However, she always believe that it is important to level up with complementary skills and knowledge (eg learn a new language, develop leadership / negotiation skills, earn a masters, do sports etc.) one is passionate in to differentiate themselves and give them an extra competitive edge.|
• Remember, you must be willing to do something you have never done before to get to where you have never been before. And while you are at it, be consistent in your path to mastery. The only difference between legendary and good is consistency.
• I see excellent potential for Malaysian pharmacists to expand their roles into T&CM (e.g. herbal medicine and homeopathy). A small few have already recognised this and are already embracing opportunities to build their expertise in the area. If you are interested in T&CM, don’t just stop at knowing. Level up and see where it can take you further in your career.
Upon graduation, Angeline completed her housemanship training at Klang Hospital where she was largely involved in the routine management of pharmacy and clinical support services and then moved on to an administrative role for the next 7 years at the Traditional and Complementary Medicine Division, Ministry of Health. While working at this Division, she completed her Masters in Business Administration which was awarded by the University of Sunderland UK and is currently pursuing her Doctorate of Business Administration at Open University Malaysia.
|Advice on furthering studies|
|I am supportive of anyone who wants to pursue their postgraduate studies especially when they have the passion and insatiable thirst for knowledge. Also, don’t be afraid to pursue subjects other than pharmacy!|
|Knowing your why is important. A strong why gives a more compelling reason to act and have massive action in pursuing your dreams. When you are stubborn with your dreams, the universe of things will arrange itself to your cause and things will eventually fall into place.|
For Angeline, each transition is fraught with unexpected challenges.
o Transition from clinical to administrative position
o From pharmacy to traditional and complementary medicine
– IMU does well in building highly-competent pharmacists who would be able to excel in any work environment be it in a clinical, retail or industrial setting.
– In my case, no amount of prior training and exposure would suffice for the roles and responsibilities I was entrusted with when working in the Traditional and Complementary Medicine Division. It just falls beyond the natural scope of practice and expertise of a pharmacist.
– The learning curve was steep but I’ve always believed that what you lack in knowledge can be compensated with hard work and the commitment to excel in everything you do.
|It is all in the mind|
|Although the current platform is different, I am still able to make a difference in people’s lives through the development and implementation of suitable policies and directives that will ensure T&CM services provided to the public are safe and of the highest quality. The impact of our decisions and actions is nationwide and I find great value and satisfaction when I see progress underway.|
|The way I see it, these are exciting times for T&CM in Malaysia. The industry is progressing steadily towards being a standardised and professionalised arena. Being able to contribute as the driving force behind the growth and professionalisation of this industry is an exciting and rewarding experience.|
|In short, I would like to say that in face of challenges or adversity, it is all about having a positive mindset and flexibility in your plan of action (adaptiveness). You are not the product of your circumstances but rather, the product of your decisions.|
|I also believe that life is not always about finding yourself but creating yourself. Become a niche pharmacist. Become outstanding and in the process you will create better shared value and contribution to others.|