April 11, 2023

Malaysian Adventists Partner with Government, Academia for Health Awareness

The Adventist Church is known across the region for its health practices and advocacy.

Jane Botabara, Southern Asia-Pacific Division, and Adventist Review
A recent visit connected Adventist health ministries leaders and government officers in Sarawak, Malaysia. [Photo: Malaysia Union Mission Health Ministries Department]

In Sarawak, Malaysia, Adventist leaders are partnering with government officers and members of academia in their ongoing quest to support and advocate for healthy lifestyles and sound health practices. A recent visit to a government official and the support for a research project focused on Adventist health are evidence of it, leaders said.

Ham Diyon, Malaysia’s Sarawak Mission health ministries director, led a delegation to a recent meeting with Sarawak’s Deputy Premier and Minister of Public Health, Sim Kui Hian.

During the visit, the delegation invited Sim to be guest of honor at the upcoming Adventist Health Professional Summit. The summit, which is scheduled to take place August 13-16 in Kuching, Sarawak, aims to bring together health professionals from various Adventist institutions to discuss the latest trends, challenges, and opportunities in health care, regional church leaders said.

The meeting also focused on potential collaborations between the Seventh-day Adventist Church and the government regarding its No Smoking program. The program aims to raise awareness among Sarawakians about the dangers of smoking and to improve health education activities on the issue.

The upcoming health summit is one of the Adventist Church’s many initiatives in Malaysia to provide various health and lifestyle programs, church leaders said. “It is the church’s advocacy to run community programs that help the community by providing free health care, lifestyle development, and building relations.”

The Adventist Church is well known in the region for its support of healthy living and wellness practices, leaders explained, adding, “SAK is eager to explore potential government collaborations to strengthen health education activities and promote healthier lifestyles among Sarawakians.”

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A university in Malaysia is working on a research project that will study the connections between spiritual practices and health outcomes in Seventh-day Adventists. [Photo: Malaysia Union Mission Health Ministries Department]

Collaboration in Health Research

At the same time, the faculty and students of Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at the University Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) have joined forces with the health ministries office of both the Sarawak Mission and the Malaysia Union Mission to conduct a research project. The study aims to investigate the correlation between spiritual practices and diet-related health behaviors with the quality of life among Seventh-day Adventists in Kuching.

Led by associate professor Cheah Whye Lian, the study focuses on the impact of spiritual practices and dietary habits on Adventists’ health and quality of life. Researchers have enrolled more than 300 Adventist respondents from the Kuching area. These respondents will undergo health screening tests and answer questionnaires as part of the study.

The findings of the study will be showcased at the Adventist Health Professional Summit in August. Researchers said they hope that the results will provide valuable insights into the relationship between spirituality, diet, and health. 

Lian shared that the numerous studies conducted among Adventists in the international realm prompted her to study the Adventists’ lifestyle. Adventists are known for their healthy lifestyles, such as abstaining from smoking and alcohol consumption, and consuming healthy food. “The study aims to determine the impact of these practices on Adventists’ quality of life,” Lian shared.

This research collaboration among UNIMAS, Sarawak Mission, and the Malaysia Union Mission demonstrates the Adventist Church’s commitment to promoting health and wellness, regional church leaders explained. “The Adventist Church believes that the body is the temple of God and encourages its members to prioritize their physical, mental, and spiritual health,” they said.

This article was originally this story and this story on the Southern Asia-Pacific Division news site.