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Disease Prevention Combat Camp: A Knowledge-filled Scientific Adventure

An elderly visitor aiming to shoot the mosquito larvae at the “Crime Scene” with guidance from an assistant researcher from the NSTM exhibition team (1st from left) and volunteers. [Photo by Lee Kok Keong]

Integrating augmented reality technology and station games, the “Disease Prevention Combat Camp” science exhibition makes learning enjoyable and engaging for not only students, but also parents and the general public. Starting today (October 8, 2023), the exhibition will be showcased until February 29, 2024, at the KL Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall.

How much do you know about infectious diseases? Has the COVID-19 pandemic deepened your understanding of viruses, their transmission pathways, and preventive measures?

The “Disease Prevention Combat Camp” science exhibition, jointly organised by Tzu Chi Foundation Malaysia, Taiwan National Health Research Institutes (NHRI), and Taiwan National Science and Technology Museum (NSTM), officially opens its doors at the Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall in Kuala Lumpur. This interactive and informative exhibition promises to take visitors on a journey of knowledge and discovery, providing an in-depth understanding of three major infectious diseases: dengue fever, influenza, and COVID-19.

Distinguished guests, including Deputy Minister of Education, YB Lim Hui Ying; Deputy Director-General of Health (Public Health), Datuk Dr. Norhayati; Deputy Representative of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Malaysia, Joy Yen; and NSTM Director-General, Lee Hsiu-Feng; graced the opening ceremony with their presence.

The “Disease Prevention Combat Camp” science exhibition officially opens at Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall in Kuala Lumpur, witnessed by many distinguished guests. [Photo by Boon Wui Kong]
Deputy Director-General of Health (Public Health), Datuk Dr. Norhayati, visiting the exhibition ushered by volunteer Yong Send Yeow. [Photo by Lai Jih Chuan]

In his speech, Deputy CEO of Tzu Chi KL & Selangor, Sio Kee Hong, informed that the “Disease Prevention Combat Camp” has been showcased at various Jing Si Halls in Taiwan, and Tzu Chi KL & Selangor Chapter is honoured to be the first overseas Tzu Chi host for this remarkable exhibition.

Witnessing how the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly progressed from an epidemic to a global pandemic, mercilessly claiming lives and leaving people in suffering and anxiety over the past few years, Kee Hong underscored the significance of this exhibition in raising public awareness about viruses and the prevention of infectious diseases.

He highlighted, “Admission is free for all, and our target audience extends beyond students to include parents and the entire society at large. We hope that everyone will invite their friends and families to come for a visit and benefit from this valuable educational experience. We must take responsibility for ourselves and others to reduce the risk of infection, and together, build a more resilient society.” Kee Hong invited the audience to explore the exhibition with open minds and curious hearts.

Deputy CEO of Tzu Chi KL & Selangor, Sio Kee Hong, called upon everyone to invite their families and friends to visit the exhibition and apply the valuable knowledge to prevent infectious diseases. [Photo by Lai Jih Chuan]

◎Awareness – The first step to prevention

YB Lim Hui Ying expressed in her opening remarks that she felt extremely honoured to be invited to Tzu Chi. “Tzu Chi has been seen at many disaster sites in Malaysia, whether it was the century flood on the Peninsula two years ago or the Batang Kali landslide incident last year. Tzu Chi volunteers have always spontaneously joined to help with the clean-up or comfort the affected victims, providing them with peace of mind. Whenever there is a need, we can always see Tzu Chi as the first responders, and their presence brings a sense of reassurance,” she said.

Despite it being her first visit to the Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall in Kuala Lumpur, she understood that the premises had served as a vaccination centre during the movement control order period, administering over 45,000 vaccine doses. She commended Tzu Chi volunteers’ dedication over the past three decades, which has earned the Foundation the trust and recognition of the public, and this time round, it has brought the educational and entertaining exhibition from Taiwan to Malaysia, allowing fellow Malaysians to visit with their families and enhance their understanding of viruses through interactive games.

Although COVID-19 is no longer rampant, she urged everyone to remain vigilant because viruses are still present. Besides COVID-19, dengue fever and influenza also pose a threat to our health. She took the opportunity to call upon residents in the Klang Valley, and even those from other states, to visit the exhibition during the weekends or holidays, with the assurance that they will “gain a lot from it”.

Deputy Minister of Education, YB Lim Hui Ying, commended Tzu Chi for bringing the educational exhibition to Malaysia, allowing the public to deepen their understanding of viruses through interactive games and activities. [Photo by Lai Jih Chuan]

◎Everyone can be a disease prevention hero

The “Disease Prevention Combat Camp” combines entertainment and education, utilising various multimedia elements and interactive games, including augmented reality (AR), motion-sensing, and shooting games, to provide an engaging experience. It also introduces a cutting-edge approach to dengue fever prevention known as the “Wolbachia Bio-Control Method,” explaining how scientists use Wolbachia bacteria to effectively control the spread of dengue fever.

Before embarking on their journey of knowledge and discovery, the visitors will obtain a “Hero Card”, where points accumulated for the various exhibit units, such as “Crime Scene”, “The Immunisation Speedster”, “House of Aedes Mosquitoes” and “Disease Prevention Battle Stage”, will be recorded. At the end of the visit, visitors may check their total scores and see if they have made it into the leaderboard as the Mighty Disease Prevention Hero. Through these activities, it is hoped that the visitors could gain a deeper understanding of the diseases, and apply the knowledge to reduce the threat of infectious diseases.

The science exhibition also showcases the cutting-edge “Wolbachia Biocontrol Method”, where mosquitoes are used to fight mosquitoes for dengue fever prevention. [Photo by Lee Kok Keong]
Visitors act as investigators in the “Stop the Epidemic” activity, trying to identify individuals who need to be quarantined to prevent an outbreak. [Photo by Lee Kok Keong]

NSTM Director-General, Lee Hsiu-Feng, mentioned in her speech that the world recently experienced a collective battle against COVID-19. With the rapid increase in global warming and population mobility, the prevention and control of infectious diseases are no longer challenges that a single country can handle independently. International cooperation in combating epidemics is of utmost importance in effectively countering the threat of viruses.

She expressed her deep gratitude for the support from NHRI, and the collaboration with Tzu Chi, which has enabled the hosting of the exhibition in Malaysia. She stated, “Just as mentioned earlier, epidemic work requires a global effort, and it starts right here in Malaysia.” She also hoped that the enjoyable experiences and comprehensible information displayed will help the visitors gain insights into the often complex world of scientific knowledge.

She joyfully welcomed everyone to experience the exhibition and extended an invitation for those who have the opportunity, to visit the NSTM in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

NSTM Director-General, Lee Hsiu-Feng, highlighted that epidemic prevention and control is no longer something a nation could handle all by itself; it requires global collective efforts. [Photo by Chan Tuck Meng]

◎Jing Si Hall converted into a learning ground

While promoting disease prevention, the exhibition also converted Jing Si Hall into a learning ground for the community members. Luo Cheng Chung, representative from Tzu Chi Headquarters in Taiwan, hoped that the exhibition will not only convey disease prevention knowledge, but also foster closer bonds between parents and their children.

Built with contributions from the general public, the Jing Si Hall is more than a volunteer training centre. “In fact, we hope that Jing Si Hall can play a beneficial role in the local community, welcoming the public for visits while also allowing them to deeply experience, through the settings and ambience, the humanistic culture of Tzu Chi under Master Cheng Yen’s teachings,” said Cheng Chung.

He was delighted at the successful launch of the exhibition, and said, “It is great to see Malaysia’s Deputy Minister of Education, Deputy Director-General of Health, and other officials gracing this exhibition. Their influence will make more people aware of this educational exhibition happening right here at the Tzu- Chi Jing Si Hall in Kuala Lumpur. For those curious to explore and learn more, they are welcome to visit and experience it.”

Representative from Tzu Chi Taiwan Headquarters, Luo Cheng Chung, hopes that the exhibition not only serves to convey knowledge but also foster family bonding through shared experiences. [Photo by Lai Jih Chuan]

◎Surprising new knowledge

Wong Khing Pin, a parent from Tzu Chi Parent-child Bonding Class, visited the exhibition with her daughter. She was glad to be among the first batch of visitors to the exhibition, which provides an excellent environment and information for children to learn. She remarked that it is difficult for young children to sit still and listen to explanations, but the exhibition offers interactive activities that allow them to deepen their understanding of the topics via games. Moreover, the hands-on experiences will help them to better remember the knowledge they have acquired.

While exploring the dengue fever zone, she found some information that she was already aware of, such as the vector mosquitoes for dengue fever, their transmission methods, symptoms of infections, and preventive measures. However, she was surprised to learn about the Wolbachia biological control method, where mosquitoes are used to fight mosquitoes. She said, “I thought we could only administer vaccines on humans. I have never imagined that we could microinject (bacterium into the eggs of) mosquitoes, to eventually control the population of these mosquitoes and inhibit the transmission of mosquito-borne viruses.” 

Khing Pin was particularly interested in “The Immunisation Speedster”. She explained, “I don’t exercise much in my daily life. This activity allows me to move my body while learning about disease prevention. She also tried the game of shooting mosquito larvae at the “Crime Scene”. Through the game, she became more aware of the areas in her home that might be conducive to mosquito breeding.

She found the exhibition is not only suitable for children, but also provides adults with opportunities to learn new knowledge. She said, “I have already shared our participation in the exhibition with my friends, and I encourage everyone to invite their friends to come experience and learn about epidemic prevention measures.”

An assistant researcher from NSTM (1st from right) leading the visitors to challenge and compete their knowledge in disease prevention in the “Disease Prevention Battle Stage” activity. [Photo by Lee Kok Keong]
Through her personal participation along with her daughter, Wong Khing Pin found that the games and hands-on experiences make learning easier and help with knowledge retention. [Photo by Boon Wui Kong]

The exhibition will be opened to the public daily from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. until February 29, 2024, and admission is completely free! During the exhibition period, there will also be a series of talks, workshops, and storytelling sessions, as well as community health promotion activities in collaboration with the Ministry of Health. The venue can be conveniently accessed by taking the MRT to Kepong Baru station, followed by a five-minute walk. For group visits, kindly make a reservation at least 14 days in advance through the Tzu Chi KL & Selangor official website.


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