At the 31st International Commission on Occupational Health (ICOH) congress held at the COEX Convention Centre in Seoul Korea from 31 May to 5 June 2015, ICOH members from developing countries who had submitted papers for the congress were invited to participate in the competitive International Labour Organization (ILO) Fellowships. With his paper entitled “Barriers in notification on Occupational Disease in Malaysia”, Associate Professor Dr Victor Hoe from the University of Malaya, was one of the two awardees for the ILO Master Fellowship for the Master in Occupational Safety and Health course at the International Training Centre of the ILO Turin School of Development, University of Turin, Italy. The fellowship covers the partial economic support equivalent to a grant value of 4200€.
The paper presented by Dr Hoe was the results of the Malaysian Notification of Occupational Disease Study (MyNODS), a consultancy project that the Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health-UM (COEHUM) conducted for the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH), Ministry of Human Resources Malaysia to look into the issue of notification of occupational disease in Malaysia. The main recommendation from the paper was to improve and standardise undergraduate teaching modules for occupational health among all local medical schools, to allow the power of entry to factories or workplaces for Occupational physicians to investigate occupational health cases, and to enhance the notification process via an online platform. Also, to improve updates or response on action taken by DOSH following notification and create awareness of the notification forms, for compulsory placement of Occupational physicians in a certain workplace or have structured Occupational Health Services, and anyone can notify suspected cases of occupational disease to DOSH. The improvement of notification of occupational diseases is an important aspect of surveillance and management of workers’ health.