Back in the early 1970s and 1980s, there were less than 10 dietitians in Ministry of Health and only 2 to 3 dietitians in private medical centres. The only institution of higher learning that produced dietitians for the country then was Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM). The first batch of dietitians graduated from UKM in 1989.
As years went by, the number of dietitians in Malaysia increased. The early dietitians saw the need to form an association to drive and guide the growth of the profession. In 1994, the Malaysian Dietitians’ Association’ (Persatuan Dietitian Malaysia) was born. The establishment of the Code of Ethics is the first step by the association to increase the professional integrity of all dietitians in Malaysia. This code of ethics remains an integral part of MDA today.
The theme of the launch was “Stairways to Nutritional Intervention”. Professor Dr Fatimah in her opening address reminded dietitians of the significance of the launch in the development of the profession. The highlight of the day was when YB Dato’ Dr Chua Jui Meng unveiled the MDA logo. The MDA logo represents the 5 vital roles of dietitians – Clinical , Community, Education, Industry & Agency and Research.
The first issue of MDA’s newsletter, Diet Link was also released on this inaugural day. The objective of Diet Link is to serve as a channel for continuous education, exchange of ideas and to build a closer fraternity amongst the members of the association. Ms Winnie Chee Siew Swee was the accomplished editor together with team members, Ms Lee Lai Fun, Ms Mageswary Lapchmanan, Ms Mary Easaw, Ms Nilsiswati Ramilis and advisor, Ms Foo Yun Mui.
The 5 MNT guidelines include Type 2 Diabetes, Hyperlipidemia, Hypertension, Chronic Kidney Disease and Nutrition Support for the Critically Ill Adults which are relevant and continue to be updated till today. The launch subsequently spawned 4 MNT Training Roadshows, which were conducted in and outside of Klang Valley.
The objective of MNT training is to provide updates, use of the evidence-based guidelines in the management of cases and to standardise the practice of dietetics in Malaysia.