His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Omar 'Ali Saifuddien Sa'adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam toured the PAPRSB Institute of Health Sciences (IHS) in Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) on 18th February 2019.
Accompanying His Majesty on the visit were the Vice Chancellor of UBD Datin Dr Hajah Anita Binurul Zahrina Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Wijaya Dato Seri Setia Haji Awang Abdul Aziz and Minister of Education Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Hamzah Haji Sulaiman. Also present were senior government officials and principal officers from UBD.
In the PAPRSB IHS Extension Building, His Majesty visited the Simulation Centre, which is used to train students and provide them with hands-on practical experience covering different clinical scenarios. First, students from PAPRSB and Politeknik Brunei provided demonstrations at the Medical Surgical Bay for trauma management using high fidelity mannequins and a simulated patient. There was then a demonstration on how trainings are facilitated from the Facilities Control Room as well as a moulage demonstration. In the Operating Theatre, students demonstrated how Operation Theatre training is performed for nurses. The Children's Bay held a demonstration with a child mannequin for the nursing care of a child suffering an asthma attack. The Maternity Bay housed a demonstration on how midwives are trained using the scenario of a woman in labour.
The Simulation Centre was officially opened on 26th June 2014. It features a general ward, an operating theatre, a critical care centre, labour and neonates area, as well as emergency and medical centres. It also includes computer-controlled High Fidelity Mannequins to train students in emergency cases and Low Fidelity Mannequins for simple training. The centre also runs workshops which cover a variety of clinical scenarios such as Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), airway management, analysing electrocardiogram (ECG), obstetric and paedatric settings.
CPR and Basic Life Support (BLS) training were demonstrated at the American heart Association (AHA) International Training Centre. Accredited by the American Heart Association in January last year, PAPRSB IHS has been licensed to provide AHA-certified Basic Life Support (BLS), Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) and Paediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) courses as well as conduct first-aid and heart-saver training. The BLS, ACLS and PALS courses are exclusively for healthcare professionals, while the first-aid and heart-saver training is open to all which will be conducted throughout the year with the target of training at least 500 participants annually.
His Majesty was then briefed on ongoing research projects by graduate students at the Biomedical Lab which included a project on gene expression in Brunei cancer patients, the use of C. elegans worms to study human diseases, and 3D protein structure of cytochrome p450.
In the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Lab, students demonstrated how to perform the tablet dissolution test and tablet hardness test as well as how to use the fluidized bed dryer, friabilator apparatus and tablet punching apparatus.
Prior to a clinical skills demonstration which involved UBD medical students as well as Politeknik Brunei and IBTE nursing students, His Majesty had the opportunity to observe a Microbiology practical session with Year 4 students in the Biomedical Science Teaching Laboratory.
In addition to infrastructure, training and research at PAPRSB IHS, other UBD researchers also presented their latest studies. One of the research projects on display was the use of Internet of Things (IoT) in hydroponic farming with the integration of multiple sensors in order to maximise crop production with minimal human interaction.
Another project, the online UBD Herbarium, began in 2014 with the help of volunteers and currently the database contains 9,862 specimens: 59 marine algae, 2,874 bryophytes, 890 lycopods and ferns, 1,312 fertile seed plant collections, and 4,727 (mostly sterile) permanent-plot tree collections. Together with the Computer Science Department of UBD, all this information has now been combined to create an online herbarium website scheduled to be launched this year. A user will be able to search for and be shown pictures of specimens.
Biosurfactants produced by oil-degrading microorganisms like bacteria and fungi can be used in bioremediation and microbial enhanced oil recovery. There has been a renewed interest in the production of biosurfactants due to their applications in different areas such as oil industry, medicine, cleaning products and agriculture. A variety of bacterial and fungal species in Brunei Darussalam have been identified as binge capable of degrading oil. Biosurfactants find wide applications in bioremediation of spills as they enhance emulsification of hydrocarbons by reducing surface tension. They are also being employed for enhanced oil recovery from sites. Biosurfactants have advantages as they are eco-friendly, easily degradable, active in any extreme conditions such as high salinity/temperature regions. Biosurfactants obtained from organisms are seen to efficiently displace oil in laboratory experiments and are being researched for large scale production and onsite application.
UBD has been recognised by the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) Asian University Rankings as a "very high" research intensive university, which places it on the same level as other top universities in the world. It continues to focus on key areas of research which have academic and economic relevance, impactful and important in national development.
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