Sime Darby: Developing Sustainable Futures
YSD-YOKUK Sayang Home Care Programme for the Terminally Ill in Kelantan

Yayasan Sime Darby funds community-based palliative care initiative

Kota Bharu, 15 July 2015 - A year ago, life was different for Nor Asmida Mohd Nor, 25, from Pantai Cahaya Bulan, Kota Bharu. 

Nor Asmida, a mother of a four-year old child, recalls how life was normal for her before fate intervened and left her bedridden. Nor Asmida, a patient under Yayasan Orang Kurang Upaya Kelantan’s (YOKUK) homecare programme suffers from Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, a chronic inflammatory condition caused by an autoimmune disease when the body’s tissues are attacked by its own immune system.

As the saying goes “when it rains, it pours”, her father-in-law, Mohd Nor Isa, 70, suffered a stroke a few months later the same year in 2014 due to diabetes and hypertension. He has also been bedridden since then and the family is dependent on palliative caregivers from YOKUK who come by to help the family to provide medical care for both Nor Asmida and Mohd Nor. They are both living in the same house and cared for by Nor Asmida’s mother-in-law and her lorry driver husband. 

Palliative care is relatively new in Malaysia with less than 10 palliative care physicians in the country while specialised palliative care offered by hospice organisations are mostly available only in major cities. Yayasan Sime Darby (YSD) through its YSD-YOKUK Sayang Home Care programme is supporting the largest palliative care movement in the East Coast of Malaysia with a sponsorship of RM855,000 over four years until May 2017.

Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problem associated with life-threatening illness. 
The care system is achieved through prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and even spiritual, sometimes. 

Headquartered in Pengkalan Chepa, Kelantan, YOKUK is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that assists underprivileged differently-abled people via healthcare, welfare and educational programmes. YOKUK’s mobile palliative care started in August 2012 and they now have 113 registered patients, of which 86 of them were active patients who required regular visits and treatment. 27 of its patients passed away with improved condition and their families were also assisted with grief counselling. 

With YSD’s assistance, YOKUK has successfully conducted to date 937 home visits from August 2014 up to April 2015. The free services provided by the community nurse and palliative care assistants include on the ground training to caregivers of patients on how to handle basic and routine nursing care at home, palliative care, medical referrals, bereavement counselling, psychosocial and spiritual support.

Earlier in May, YSD CEO Puan Hajjah Yatela Zainal Abidin and representatives from the foundation made a visit to YOKUK’s operations to learn more about the daily workload of the unsung heroes of the palliative care community, namely the community nurses and palliative care assistants. 

When met by a team from YSD recently at the operational visit, Wan Muhammad Syarif bin Wan Mohd Azuki, 25, a graduate from Kolej Politeknik Mara with a Diploma in Nursing recalled why he decided to become a palliative care assistant with YOKUK. 

“I am entering my seventh month of employment with YOKUK and I have never for a moment regretted my decision to be in this field. It is such a noble job that requires utmost dedication to provide comfort and care to ease the suffering of patients with life-threatening illnesses. It also comes with a heavy responsibility as the care we provide is very different compared to caring for an able-bodied patient.”

“Sometimes, the anguish and despair is overwhelming for some patients, and we have to tend to them, emotionally and physically. Sometimes it can be very daunting but I always think of my parents and that I might someday have to care for them, just like the patients we deal with.”

Wan Muhammad Syarif’s daily routine involves making rounds to at least three homes in the district of Bachok and Pasir Puteh with another colleague where they also carry out assessments based on the family’s needs and help them apply for financial aid from the Social Welfare Department. 

Hajjah Yatela Zainal Abidin expressed hope that the foundation’s contribution would in some way heighten awareness on the mobile palliative care unit in the state and more importantly help more palliative patients in Kelantan get the best care and treatment they need to continue with their lives in the best way possible.    

“We are very delighted to have been working with a credible organisation such as YOKUK who has been effectively mobilising four palliative care units to the rural areas as far as Jeli and Gua Musang. In addition, YSD’s funding had enabled YOKUK to successfully nurture eight aspiring individuals of the palliative care units as registered nurses.”

She added, “Our contribution will hopefully ease the burden of the patients and their families and also educate them through training by the palliative care assistants and nurses on basic nursing care including how they can look after their ailing family members. There is a misconception that palliative care is merely about counselling, but many do not understand that it is an active field of medicine that applies interventions requiring knowledge and skills. We hope to see palliative care as a growing medical field in our country with more take-ups from fresh nursing graduates.” 

Since 2013, YSD has contributed RM1.26 million to Hospis Malaysia to support its Home Visit Programme, education training and workshops, research work and public awareness and advocacy programme which will run until December 2015. 

Community and Health, one of the pillars of Yayasan Sime Darby’s philanthropy supports community-based programmes and sustainable initiatives intended to promote the wellbeing and health of disadvantaged people and enhance the welfare of neglected children and senior citizens, vulnerable women, people with disabilities and other marginalised groups.

For more information on Yayasan Sime Darby, please visit

For further information, please contact: 

Regina William
External Communications
Group Communications & Corporate Affairs
Sime Darby Berhad
Tel:  03-2711 3895 (Off), 019-299 0470 (HP)

About Yayasan Sime Darby

Yayasan Sime Darby, or Sime Darby Foundation, was established in 1982 and is the primary driver of Sime Darby Berhad’s Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives. 

The objectives of Yayasan Sime Darby are supported by its five pillars, namely: education; environment, community & health; youth & sports and arts & culture. While led by independent members of a Governing Council and managed by a dedicated team, Yayasan Sime Darby works closely with the Sime Darby Group, in areas of mutual interest. 

Since its inception, Yayasan Sime Darby has awarded scholarships worth RM217 million to 2,519 students both in and outside Malaysia. It is supporting long term research projects of significant scientific value like the Stability of Altered Forest Ecosystems (SAFE) project which is the world’s largest ecological project, a joint effort with the Royal Society (The UK and Commonwealth Academy of Science). Yayasan Sime Darby is also actively involved in the development and improvements of sports in Malaysia namely track cycling, lawn bowling, cricket, tennis and golf. Under its community & health pillar, Yayasan Sime Darby supports initiatives to promote the well-being of disadvantaged people irrespective of race, culture, religion, creed or gender and works with established organisations to promote the development of arts and culture.

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