In 2007, Ministry of Health Malaysia through Pharmaceutical Services Programme launched the Know Your Medicines (KYM) Campaign. The main objective is to increase consumers’ understanding, awareness on medication and educate the public on rational use of medicines. In 2012, to enhance the impact of KYM Campaign, the KYM Ambassadors Programme (Duta Kenali Ubat Anda) introduced with the purpose to empower the community towards rational use of medicines. The programme targets to provide the public with information regarding issues concerning medicines and health thus encourage behavioural changes.
Individuals may volunteer or selected based on recommendation to become Duta Kenali Ubat Anda. A structured training programme to coach the ambassadors on basic information on medication conducted. The training includes modules on Know Your Medicines, registered products, proper way of taking medicines, medicines storage and KYM Ambassadors’ roles. The programme utilizes peer education and behavioural change approach in ensuring effective dissemination of information. Through the training, ambassadors are able to understand and share basic information on medications to the community together with the pharmacist.
A National Survey on Use on Medicines (NSUM) 2015 shows a rise of public understanding towards proper use of medicines from 56.6% in NSUM 2013 to 81.4%. The same studies found that the awareness of KYM programme has increase from 47.5% (2012) to 51.9% (2015).
Behavioural changes is the ultimate goal in community empowerment movement. Translating knowledge and understanding into practice is the challenge in ensuring quality use of medicines. Hopefully with the introduction of KYM Ambassadors Programme, the process of disseminating information and educating users on proper use of medicines will be more effective and comprehensive.