Unveiling the Impact of Corporate Actions on Public Health: Insights from the Global Health Seminar


It was an honour to be the Master of Ceremony and to work with a dynamic group of creative and brilliant minds from Group 4 of the Global Health module for the Master of Public Health programme at the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Malaya.

We proudly presented an exceptional seminar, showcasing the dedication and hard work of 21 candidates. Our presentation was not only captivating but also deeply informative.

The seminar created an immersive experience, akin to a cinema theatre, guiding the audience through the complexities of Commercial Determinants of Health (CDOH) and Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs). Our goal was to highlight how corporate actions impact public health, influencing daily habits and health outcomes.

Key to our seminar was a discussion on the modern implications of CDOH, emphasising how strategies and approaches used by the private sector often promote products and choices detrimental to health.

To enrich the discussion, we featured a special forum on the challenges and future directions of the generational tobacco ban program. This segment was particularly engaging, addressing both the successes and ongoing hurdles in implementing comprehensive tobacco control policies.

Our seminar was graced by the presence of three distinguished panellists, whose insights and expertise significantly enhanced our discussion:

  1. Dr. Feisul Idzwan Dato’ Mustapha, Director of the Perak State Health Department, provided invaluable perspectives on public health strategies and the role of government in regulating harmful commercial practices.
  2. Mr. Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar, Former Minister of Health and Generation End Game (GEG) Policy Advocate, shared his experiences and advocacy efforts in pushing for the generational tobacco ban, offering a firsthand account of the policy challenges and triumphs.
  3. Assoc Prof Dr. Murallitharan Munisamy, Managing Director of the National Cancer Society Malaysia and Co-chairman of NCD Malaysia, brought extensive knowledge on the intersection of NCDs and commercial determinants, emphasising the need for robust public health interventions.

We also highlighted the varied impacts of CDOH through case studies and real-world examples, discussing the adverse health outcomes associated with ultra-processed foods and alcohol. These illustrations demonstrated how marketing strategies and product formulations by the private sector often undermine public health efforts.

Throughout the seminar, we encouraged the audience to reflect on their health choices and the broader societal influences that shape them. Questions like “Have you ever considered how the products advertised daily influence your health choices and behaviours?” and “Do you believe that governments and policymakers have a responsibility to regulate the marketing practices of industries that promote unhealthy products?” sparked thoughtful discussions and deeper engagement.

In closing, our seminar emphasised the importance of a coordinated global response to mitigate the negative effects of CDOH. We advocated for stronger regulations, public health campaigns, transparency in corporate practices, and building coalitions with stakeholders to promote healthier environments.

This seminar was more than just an academic exercise; it was a call to action for all attendees to recognise and address the commercial determinants of health in their personal and professional lives. We left the event inspired and motivated to continue our efforts in public health advocacy, armed with the knowledge and passion to make a meaningful difference.

Our sincerest appreciation goes to Prof. Dr. Victor Hoe Chee Wai Bin Abdullah and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tharani Loganathan, the Module Coordinator of the Global Health Module of the Master of Public Health Programme. Your guidance and support were invaluable to our success.

A special shout-out to all my amazing group mates who worked tirelessly to make this event a success. Your dedication and hard work truly made a difference.

Written by: Dr. Nurul Firdaus Binti Salahul Ahamed, Medical Officer, Master of Public Health Candidate, Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Malaya on as part of the Master of Public Health Programme – MQB7042 GLOBAL HEALTH module seminar conducted on 7 June 2024.

#EveryBiteMatters #HealthvsIndustry #UniversitiMalaya #GlobalHealth

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