Datuk Dr Madhuri Majumder

The International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievement of women in the past, present, and future. In conjunction with this honourable day, I wish to share about a truly towering lady in Perak.

Just mention Datuk Dr Madhuri Majumder, a name synonymous with Perak and people instantly recognize her. She is our country’s first woman dermatologist who has shown great enthusiasm to be of  service to humanity.

When she took over the reigns of the Perak Society for Promotion of Mental Health (PSPMH) in 1986 as the President of the society, she immediately introduced various activities for rehabilitation with occupational therapies like singing, dancing, orchid farming, ceramic and art projects, music and laughter therapy, handicraft production, glove packing and counseling sessions for all the patients who are housed at the centre.

The PSPMH’s patron is DYMM Paduka Seri Sultan Azlan Shah and it is affiliated with the World Federation of Mental Health is also actively promoting mental health through education, information, conventions and forums for the benefit of the general public.

Datuk Dr Majumder has a strong bond with the patients, whom she affectionately addresses as the residents, being careful to never stigmatize mentally ill patients with the notion that they are crazy.

She believes that the biggest dichotomy that exists between mental illness and physical illness and disabilities is that, people with mental health conditions such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, epilepsy, substance abuse disorder and child and adolescent mental conditions are predisposed to a very high degree of economic and social marginalization. She also noted that they are habitually excluded from participation in society, subject to stigma and discrimination and are restricted from social activities.

Her dream is to rehabilitate these psycho-socially ill patients and send them back to  society as good as the next-able bodied person. To give an example, she has three of the society’s residents from the Ulu Kinta Centre being employed to take care of her house and assist in her clinic.

Datuk Dr Madhuri read Medicine at Calcutta University in 1959. A government scholarship took her to the United Kingdom to specialize in Dermatology and she came back to serve the government as the first woman dermatologist in the country. She scored another first when she was installed as the first woman Chairman of Perak branch of the Malaysian Medical Association in 1981. She also created history when she was installed as the President of Rotary Club of Greentown in 1995 – the First Lady President of a Rotary Club of Perak.

Last year during the state level women’s day celebration, she was bestowed the Women of True Beauty Award during the Anugerah Wanita Mutiara Perak, receiving the award from the Prime Minister’s wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.

This illustrious lady recently celebrated her 80th birthday by launching the “Majumder Scholarship Fund” to assist needy children for their educational needs. This significant event is another milestone for this distinguish “Mother Teresa of Ipoh” as she is popularly known.

S. Sundralingam

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