KUCHING: Forty- one medical students, three lecturers and five faculty members from SEGI University, Sibu had a memorable and meaningful experience during the Special Olympics Healthy Athletes Programme ( SOHAP) at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak ( Unimas) over the weekend.
They were assigned to various disciplines under SOHAP such as Health Promotion, Fun Fitness, Fit Feet, Special Smiles, Opening Eyes, Healthy Hearing and MedFest.
According to fourth year medical student Napatr Watchara- Apa who joined SOHAP for the second time after the one held in Sibu last month, she has learned how to work like a team and listen to other people’s opinions.
“I was attached to Healthy Promotion … As I was exposed to more athletes with intellectual disability this time, I had the chance to learn how to break the ice and communicate with them, find out what is their problem and try to help them overcome it,” said the 23year old from Hatyai, Thailand.
Another fourth year medical student Tilagaan Mariumuthu who hails from Ipoh, Perak was another one who feels they benefitted from the experience.
“This is my first time associated with SOHAP and we assessed a lot of things for these athletes. What we did here for three days was a hands- on experience and learned many things that can’t be learned from the books.
“People say always say these people are normal. From this programme I think we can redefine what the word “normal” is,” he said.
Nancy Ng Choon Si, 24, from Johor Bahru is another medical student who is with SOHAP for the first time.
“I was mostly helping the children in the Health Promotion discipline, teaching them how to do proper hand washing and some healthy lifestyle promotion.
“It was really great interacting with the kids although they are special, they are like normal kids like when we were young. We were able to dance with them, teach them the proper hand washing techniques, talk to them and interact with them. It was really great experience for a medical student per se,” said Ng.
She also had the chance to talk to the coaches and trainers who could in turn help the athletes when they return to their respective stations.
For 30-year old Ahmad Ashraf Saharuddin from Johor Bahru, he enjoyed working with such a big team of medical practitioners, lecturers and athletes in the programme for the first time.
“This is a very new experience and it was really very enjoyable. I was attached to the Fun Fitness team and the nine of us (medical students) were working very closely with the physiotherapists.
“We are very much grateful and appreciate the experience because we were given a hands on class and experience to do all the exercises for the athletes,” he said.
Ahmad has also learned on how to handle people with intellectual disability and special needs and how to better communicate with them.
“As medical students, it teaches us on how to be grateful and how to appreciate things that come in your life,” he added.
Meanwhile, at the closing of the programme, deputy vice chancellor of Segi University Prof Dr Azrin Esmady Ariffin said it was a great experience for the medical students and chance to build on their soft skills.
“Beinginvolvedinthecommunity is part of it, the interaction and communication and the way you speak to different types of people will also be part of it,’ he said.
Talking about the richness of the clinical training in Sibu, he felt that Segi would be able to attract more people to take up medicine.
“The medical team has done a very fantastic job and I hope you have enjoyed your stay in Sibu,” he said.
Published by : https://www.pressreader.com/malaysia/the-borneo-post/20180820/282402695230072