The importance of giving back to society through corporate social programmes has led to corporations going the extra mile by institutionalising a culture of social awareness. The implementation of social programmes that cares for the well-being of societies builds trust in health care services and creates awareness of the significance of a healthy lifestyle. In a conversation with CSR Malaysia, Akmal Arief Mohamed Fauzi, Group Chief Operating Officer of Institut Jantung Negara (IJN) gives an insight into the organisational setup and endeavours of IJN, and its inspiring, life-changing CSR initiatives.
Established on 1st August 1992, Institut Jantung Negara (IJN) is a heart specialist centre committed to providing advanced cardiovascular and thoracic medical services for adults and children. The centre has gained recognition as a leading regional cardiovascular and thoracic centre based on its comprehensive range of services with associated cardiac treatment clinics. The medical staff consists of a team of experienced and committed specialist cardiologists, surgeons, anesthesiologists, paramedics and clinical support staff. The close collaboration with leading medical establishments ensures the latest state-of-the-art medical technology is applied in the delivery of its services.
The three main objectives and development of IJN are the provision of health care services, training and education and research services. The health care services offered by IJN represent a milestone in the medical health care services of the country as it has made specialised medical care more accessible and more affordable for Malaysians. The IJN health centre is recognised as one of the largest heart specialist centres in South-east Asia offering the latest in health care. The expansion of the hospital, in 2009, from a 262-bed hospital into a 464-bed hospital facilitated the provision of faster medical services and better quality care.
The continuous training of health care professionals has built a talent pool of cardiovascular and thoracic experts offering the latest skills and expertise in the medical field. IJN’s efforts in research and development and innovation have received recognition in the form of the Prime Minister’s Innovation Award (AIPM) for 2011. The prestigious AIPM recognizes creativity and innovations that have a high impact on the country.
The 3.7 million patients who have successfully visited and been treated at IJN to date speak volumes of its performance and is a testimony to its stellar success as a regional heart specialist centre. The most famous evidence of its growing support is Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s confidence in selecting IJN for medical care especially his coronary bypass surgery and subsequent health care.
The initiatives to recruit and improve its talent pool have borne results through the broadening of its service offerings ranging from the simplest to the most complicated cases. The average of 4,000 surgeries and 10,000 cardiology procedures carried out annually are indicators of IJN’s capacity and capabilities.
IJN stands as a landmark heart facility and is the first of its kind in Malaysia. The institute handles one of the highest caseloads of heart interventions and has a recognised heart, vascular and thoracic surgery programmes in the region. IJN has always been steadfast from the start to fully utilise clinical research to help prevent, diagnose and treat abbreviations in cardiovascular and cardiothoracic functioning.
Today, clinical research is one of the major pillars of the institutions. The busy caseload that IJN has offers the perfect environment for clinical research. The spectrum of complexity and the volume of cases allow IJN to gather data volume and document evidence.
The combined package consisting of facility/capacity trained medical and non-clinical personnel and a patients first culture has enabled IJN to operate on a sustainable basis while not losing sight of its professional commitments in providing affordable medical care.
The CSR programmes conducted by IJN labelled succinctly as corporate social initiatives (CSI), have been executed for the last eleven years since 2007. The budgetary allocation for CSR activities indicates an official recognition of its significance within the organisation. The main objective of the programmes is to create and build awareness of healthy lifestyles based on the maxim of prevention being better than cure and for the public outside the Klang Valley to have access to basic health screening. The IJN tagline “Caring beyond your heart”, created by its Group COO, Akmal Arief Fauzi, epitomises the centre’s CSR responsibilities. A healthy lifestyle has become a major concern of all Malaysians from rural and urban areas alike. The CSI programmes create awareness of one’s medical condition by providing free health screening while simultaneously providing guidance and advice for living a healthy lifestyle.
IJN’s CSR model based on collaboration and partnerships with corporations enables leveraging different areas of expertise. The shared partnership efforts have resulted in robust programmes with higher rates of successes inducing greater confidence to continue the sustainment of such CSR programmes. The collaborations have enabled IJN to spread the financial cost while simultaneously providing opportunities for other corporations to be involved in CSR programmes.
The collaboration with other partners such as Felda, Adabi, Media Prima and NGOs has provided the required assistance in the selection of target communities, conducting family programmes and facilitating the promotion of CSI events. Felda has been instrumental in providing assistance for the selection of suitable locations containing the required population mass for effective dissemination of health information and the provision of basic health checkups. For the 2018 CSI programme, a total of 19 locations were assessed prior to the selection of a suitable location.
IJN established the IJN Foundation in 1995 with the sole mission to raise philanthropic support mainly via its patients’ assistance programme and funding of cutting-edge research, scholarship, education and training and patients’ welfare.
The CSI programmes on the ground take on the air of a social event held within a close community. Although the main intention of the programme is to provide medical services, it is packaged as a family event with attractions for all members of the family. IJN’s volunteer medical services are conducted by a team of clinical and non-clinical staff. The events for the family range from health cooking competitions to events for children. The CSI promotion of a family package incorporating the message of health and well-being has benefited an estimated 37,000 people all over Peninsular Malaysia.
The programmes have proved to be a popular and successful event as they have fulfilled the objectives of building and sustaining trust and health awareness amongst communities located away from urban areas. An indicator of CSI’s success is the considerable number of attendees who have increased awareness and experience with IJN and who have followed up with IJN for subsequent medical checkups. The overwhelming success of the current CSI programmes has motivated IJN to continue with it in the near future.
There are other CSR initiatives that have been undertaken on an ad-hoc urgent basis. These include the 2015 floods in Kelantan where four teams were sent to provide medical care for the affected people. The experience gained from the floods has been invaluable towards improving the state of preparedness of IJN’s personnel to handle any such event in the future. Another significant programme is the annual cycling event with the tagline “Ride for Your Heart” and the occasional “Run for Your Heart” running event.
IJN is committed to let as many people “experience” IJN services via the basic health checkup and to improving the health well-being of Malaysians. The CSI programme has been effective in putting this message to the masses across the whole of Peninsular Malaysia. The building of awareness and trust for a healthy lifestyle contributes towards building a sustainable society. As a front runner in the Malaysian medical field, the organisation has achieved a considerable measure of success in creating awareness amongst the Malaysian public on the importance of taking care of one’s health on a preventive and timely basis.