By Mei Kuan
Constantly striving to better serve the community, Yayasan Ipoh (YI) marches on with exciting upgrades and expansions underway. As its number of patients increases, extra efforts are being made to ensure that no one is left behind.
Founded in 1982, YI is a non-profit organisation established to primarily raise funds to support the rehabilitation services of its therapy division, Persatuan Pemulihan Sultan Azlan Shah (PPSAS). The foundation was formerly known as Yayasan Sultan Idris Shah.
This donor-funded rehabilitation centre in Bercham provides various therapy services for people with disabilities and anyone in need irrespective of race, religion, culture, age and financial status.
Ipoh Echo caught up with Dato’ Dr Ramanathan Ramiah, CEO of YI cum Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon of PPSAS to learn more updates.
To begin with, the spacious 8-acre site is a disabled-friendly, smoke-free and resort-like setting brimming with greenery.
“To add on to the existing 100 parking spots on the premises, we are setting up more covered parking lots, handicapped parking for motorcycles and shaded drop-off zones which are all near completion. There will also be extra new toilets for the public. We are shifting the current waiting area to a more comfortable space as well,” explained the amiable Dr Ramanathan.
Upon arrival, one would pass a barrier gate with a security guard—another recent addition for added safety.
The one-stop centre presently offers professional holistic services, namely pain management therapy, physiotherapy, electrotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, post-operation rehabilitative care, sensory stimulation therapy, sports rehabilitation and daycare for special needs children. Hydrotherapy and horse riding sessions, which were previously unavailable during the Movement Control Order, have resumed in full force with the latter conducted at the Perak Turf Club.
In terms of expansion of services, he shared, “In the pipeline are an activity space for additional therapy such as bowling, a wound care clinic and a dialysis unit with a capacity of about six machines as a start. When the patients come here for dialysis, they will also come for physiotherapy to get better because they are weak and tired—complementary to each other.”
“We are now looking for people to set up the dialysis unit as well as the wound care clinic,” he stated, adding that ongoing discussion is open to interested parties.
Besides that, the interior of the daycare for special needs children has been further enlivened with multi-hued mural paintings.
A Physical Fitness Rehabilitation Gym was launched last year. According to him, it is fully equipped with 17 pieces of gym equipment. The 117-square metre air-conditioned and naturally lit room also features rubber flooring tiles for shock absorption. The gym facility is free of charge and strictly meant for existing clients only, to further improve on their strength and overall fitness level after their normal therapy sessions.
Besides housing the only specially-built dark room (for those with hyperactivity) and white room (for those with hypoactivity) in Perak, the premises also feature a sensory garden and an Independent Living Centre.
Operating in strict adherence to the health and safety standard operating procedures, therapies are conducted in a way where each client is placed in a cubicle isolated and separated by curtains with ample spacing. Of course, the attentive team is ever ready to assist.
The minimal fee per full therapy session starts from only RM50. Plus with the prepaid packages, patients are entitled to one free session for every five sessions purchased.
“We have patients coming from as far as Gopeng, Kampar, Bidor and Simpang Pulai,” he observed, adding that transport is provided to those in need to ferry them to and from the centre within a 5km radius at just RM20.
Moreover, Yayasan Ipoh has been appointed as PERKESO’s (Social Security Organisation) rehabilitation panelist for over two years now.
Thus, it is no wonder that the number of patients has been increasing, recording a total of 3,411 patients of all ages with 8,521 therapy sessions in 2021 alone. Meanwhile, the daycare for special needs children is taking care of 10 young ones at the moment.
Despite that, Yayasan Ipoh is in dire need of funds to keep afloat as monetary donations have continued to further drop drastically since the pandemic hit the country.
“We continue to write to large corporations to enable us to work together in their corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes. We need to spend about RM1.3 million in total per year to run the place. The bulk of the funds would go towards the salary for all the staff,” he highlighted.
To aid the situation, Dr Ramanathan also runs an orthopaedic consultation clinic at the premises from 10am – 4pm from Monday to Friday (by telephone appointment only) where one only pays a one-off donation of RM50 to YI for the first consultation. For subsequent consultations within three months, only a one-off donation of RM20 to YI is applicable.
One of the luminaries in the medical field, Dr Ramanathan started the first spinal care unit in the whole country right at the Ipoh General Hospital in 2000—among his many contributions to the field. His journey in Yayasan Ipoh began in 1994 as he used to do social work for the foundation. He joined full time as CEO in 2017 right after his retirement from Ipoh General Hospital.
His one-to-one consultation touches on various orthopaedic conditions concerning the spine, hip, knee resulting from sports injury, road traffic accidents, post-surgery and beyond.
Readers who would like to donate to YI can channel their contribution to the CIMB account number 80-0504634-2 or Hong Leong account number 231-010-20711. Tax exemption receipts would be issued for donations of RM50 and above.
Institutions looking to hold health-related programmes for the community are welcome as its air-conditioned event hall is available for rent at a minimal rate complete with a projector, stage and necessary furnishing. Always thinking forward, Dr Ramanathan pointed out that the organisation of these community-oriented events enables more members of the public, aside from therapy patients and guardians, to learn about the place which leads to increased awareness of its objective.
Yayasan Ipoh opens from 8am to 5pm six full days a week (closed on Sunday). Undergraduate student placements are offered while volunteers are welcome.
To learn more, visit www.yayasanipoh.org.my or call 05 5481905. It is located at Lot 158413, Lorong Bercham 11, Bercham, 31400 Ipoh.