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Southern Charm

April 07, 2012

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Dr Mohd Hafetz Ahmad

Dr Mohd. Hafetz Ahmad, obstetrician and gynaecologist at KPJ Johor Specialist Hospital in Johor Bahru, explains how the secret to good health is not waiting until it’s too late

In the southern gateway city of Johor Bahru stands the first private hospital built in thestate of Johor, opened back in 1981. Theimpetus for its construction came from oneDato’ Lim Kee Jin, and, following discussionswith Tan Sri Dato’ Basir Ismail, the then CEOof Johor Corporation, the KPJ Johor SpecialistHospital was constructed amid lush, greensurroundings. With its services immediatelyin demand, the hospital now has 213 beds. Tofind out more about this queen of the south,we spoke to Consultant Obstetrician andGynaecologist and Medical Director Dr Mohd.Hafetz Ahmad. The specialist doctor has beenwith the hospital since its inception, and haswatched as the facility has grown.As a young medical student at the Universityof Malaya, he was once required to performdeliveries during a posting in the hospital’sObstetrics and Gynaecology department. “Thedepartment was then one of the strongest in thecountry, and the experience I had there gave methe exposure to the area,” says Dr Hafetz.

He classifies the field of obstetrics and gynaecologyas trading in “happy medicine”, as it gives himgreat pleasure to deliver healthy babies, as wellas stay in touch with many grateful patientsthrough his years of service. Since beginningpractising in 1982, Dr Hafetz has observedthe fields of obstetrics and gynaecologydeveloping rapidly. “Now there are many moresub-specialities, such as maternalfoetal,gynaecological oncology, infertility and laparoscopic surgery, among others,” he says.Methods of treatment have changed aswell, and with the advent of new technologyto measure foetal heartbeat, Dr Hafetz seesincreasing numbers of babies born throughcaesarean section. “In Brazil, for example,almost 80 per cent of babies are born throughcaesareans,” he says. He believes that the doctorshould always decide the best delivery method.However, whatever way they eventually arrivein the world, Dr Hafetz is just thankful to beable to help deliver babies. “My patients seemto have good memories of their childbirth asI’ve attended many weddings of the babies Idelivered years back, as well as received manygifts from them.” Of course, as well as the ups,he also faces the downs, including unfortunatelyseeing cancer in young patients that could havebeen prevented if they had been brought in for anearlier diagnosis. “Sometimes I get cases wherethe patient would rather see a traditional doctorfirst and comes to us too late,” he says.During his tenure, Dr Hafetz has attendedto many patients from around the world. “Ihave a good mix of clientele from all racesand nationalities.” During the 1980s and 90s,KPJ Johor Specialist Hospital saw an influx ofKoreans and Japanese patients, while the doctornow sees a number of visitors from Indonesia,including Batam, Tanjung Pinang and Sumatra.No matter the nationality of his patients, overthe years he has been in the medical profession,Dr Hafetz has seen a tremendous improvementin the quality of maternity services and a sharpdecline in mortality rates nationwide. Overall,with Malaysians generally enjoying betternutritional and living standards, as well as havingaccess to vaccinations such as one for cervicalcancer, Dr Hafetz finds the future bright.However, he still admonishes women whoare too shy to take the initiative to go for a Papsmear examination or health screening. “Thisattitude must be eradicated,” he says. “Thereare more women doctors nowadays if you arereluctant to see a male doctor.” He stresses thatthe hospital’s extensive screening programmesare held for a reason. “Some people might saythey don’t feel sick, so why should they go for acheck up, but the thing is, the correct time to doa screening is when you’re feeling well,” saysthe doctor, lamenting that “Many people are justnot motivated until something bad happens; thiskind of attitude has to change.”

As medical director at KPJ Johor SpecialistHospital, the hardworking Dr Hafetz alwaysmakes sure that both the clinical governanceis in place and that patient safety is alwaysparamount. “Patients nowadays have higherexpectations and are well informed,” he says,adding that the medical field has changed frombeing doctor to patient oriented. It’s a professionand legacy that Dr Hafetz is very proud of.

Dr Mohd. Hafetz Ahmad
Where: KPJ Johor Specialist Hospital
39-B, Jalan Abdul Samad, 80100
Johor Bahru, Johor
Tel: 07 225 3000

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Dr Mohd Hafetz Ahmad
Speciality : Obstetric & Gynaecology
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