Relishing Safe Hari Raya 2023

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced recently that COVID-19 is no longer a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC). The WHO director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, made the decision following a recommendation by the organisation’s COVID-19 emergency committee. Since last year, celebrating Syawal in the midst of the Covid-19 endemic, Malaysians are able to enjoy a more joyous Hari Raya with family and friends.

All faculty members; staff and students, gathered together at Centrepoint, Faculty of Medicine on 9th May 2023, to celebrate Majlis Jamuan Hari Raya Fakulti Perubatan 2023. The event began from 11.30 am to 3.00 pm and was attended by the Dean Faculty of Medicine, Professor Dr April Camilla Roslani.

Uniquely, each department was assigned its own dishes and delicacies. Last year, our department in collaboration with the Emergency and Trauma Unit, Universiti Malaya Medical Centre was set for Hari Raya delicacies like ketupat palas, nasi impit, lemang, rendang ayam, kuah kacang, and sayur lodeh. This year our collaboration with the Department of Psychological Medicine, Universiti Malaya Medical Centre was set for Menu Sajian Petang such as pisang goreng, keropok lekor, keledek goreng, mee goreng, and bihun goreng.

All the preparations have been made since the previous day, all staff were together in the preparation of the ‘raya station’ with all the menus and decorations which can reminisce the festive atmosphere. The uniqueness that we have brought this year is a ‘pantun’ recitation by our staff, Mohd Haniff Romainoor for the welcomed guests to our raya station. Although a bit unfortunate for us to defend our last year’s title of the best ‘raya station’ but all efforts are well-appreciated as our department was named in the top 4 of the best ‘raya station’ for its decoration, delicacies, friendliness, and hospitality.

Hari Raya Aidilfitri is a significant cultural and religious event celebrated by Muslims not only in Malaysia but also around the world. This time, however, in regions where the festival coincides with hot weather conditions, such as in Malaysia, there is a need to be mindful of the potential health risks associated with high temperatures and humidity, particularly heat strokes. It becomes challenging when the scorching heat of the weather adds an extra layer of discomfort, especially when we are spending most of our time outdoors and in heated spaces such as in a car. As the sun shines brightly during this festive season, it is crucial to take precautions to ensure a safe and enjoyable celebration. The hot weather poses potential risks, including heat exhaustion, dehydration, heat cramps, and heat strokes, which can dampen the festive spirit.

By staying hydrated, wearing light and breathable clothing, seeking shade, and taking breaks in cool environments, we can protect ourselves and our loved ones from the adverse effects of the hot weather. Embracing the spirit of togetherness and gratitude while being mindful of the heat can make the Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebration a memorable and pleasant experience for all.

This write-up was written by Muhammad Haizril Arif Md Mokhtar, Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Malaya.

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