Malaysia is the first country in the ASEAN region and fourth in the world to offer Cyberdyne Hybrid Assistive Limb (HAL) treatment, an innovative medical technology to treat patients with paralysis or weakened limbs.
Human Resource Minister M. Kula Segaran said the treatment, available at the Neuro-Robotics Rehabilitation and Cybernics Centre at the Social Security Organisation’s (Socso) Tun Abdul Razak Rehabilitation Centre (TRRC) in Ayer Keroh, here, was equipped with 24 units of HAL robot suits developed by Cyberdyne Inc Japan.
According to him, the centre is able to treat Socso-insured persons with paralysis or weakened limbs caused by injury or central nervous system disorder such as spinal cord injury, stroke, traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis, and neurodegenerative diseases to regain their ability.
"I'm told that the newly developed cybernic treatment is a revolutionary robot treatment system that will regenerate the patient's own brain-neuro-physical functions through the signals interaction between the human and robot.
"This accelerates the learning process of the brain and muscles to move the paralysed leg again and provides changes in patient's mobility functions. The new technology will undoubtedly improve the rate of recovery of workers treated and rehabilitated at TRRC.”
He said this when launching the Neuro-Robotics Rehabilitation and Cybernics Centre, here, today.
Also present were the Japanese embassy’s minister counsellor and mission deputy chief, Hiroyuki Orikasa; Socso chief executive officer, Datuk Seri Mohammed Azman Aziz Mohammed and Cyberdyne Inc Japan president and chief Executive officer, Prof Dr Yoshiyuki Sankai.
Kula Segaran said to date, 100 Socso insured persons had undergone the Cyberdyne HAL treatment at TRRC that started in November last year where most of these patients suffered from spinal cord injury or stroke.
He said up to last month, TRRC had rehabilitated 3,875 Socso-insured persons and for the first four months of this year, 539 cases were referred to TRRC, with 463 having been discharged, of whom 268 had been rehabilitated and 195 had returned to work.
Later at a press conference, Kula Segaran said there were almost 100 Socso-insured persons on the waiting list to get the treatment and TRRC would do its best to meet their needs as soon as possible.
"One of the plans that we are discussing is extending the centre’s operational hours beyond 5.30 pm and maybe opening on weekends. We will look into it and when the centre is able to fully meet the demand of insured persons, maybe it can open to the public to generate revenue," he said.
Meanwhile, Mohammed Azman said the startup cost of the centre and technology was US$200,000, while the Cyberdyne HAL treatment was being given free of charge to Socso-insured persons.