[Interview] Dr. Zahilah Filzah Zulkifli: Co-Founder of DoktorBudak.com

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DoktorBudak.com could very well be the latest addition to your browser’s bookmark list. Started as an outreach project by Dr. Zahilah Filzah Zulkifli and Dr. Foo Chee Hoe, DoktorBudak.com is where you can consult local paediatricians online and for free.

With 14 doctors on board, DoktorBudak.com wants to improve child health by arming parents and caretakers with information and knowledge. Makchic sits down with Dr. Zahilah Filzah, paediatricians and co-founder of DoktorBudak, to chat about it.

When and how did DoktorBudak.com come about?
My good friend and ex-colleague, Dr. Foo Chee Hoe and I have always wanted to come up with a blog on child health. Frequently, we see patients who were brought in late for treatment, after which complications would have often set in. We know that if parents are aware of the symptoms and understand the nature of the diseases, they would have made wiser decisions. At the same time, we also see parents who would ask for cough syrup and antibiotics when it isn’t necessary.

So, a blog seems like the best way to reach out beyond the patients we see in clinics and wards. However, because of our busy schedule, that took a backseat for more than a year. I must say, I felt compelled to set up the blog after reading the many comments (some of which are myths and misconceptions) on vaccination on the article I wrote for my good friend, Dr. Halina Mohd Yunos.

One morning in July, I texted Dr. Foo “we have to do the blog, we really have to” and he went straight to designing the website. We knew that we needed more paediatricians on board to keep up with the momentum, so we approached a few others. We now have 14 paediatricians from government and private hospitals on Doktorbudak.com.

What’s been the response so far? Are you flooded with questions from concerned parents?
The response has been great – beyond our expectations. The questions are, I must say, A LOT! The questions come from our Facebook page, the website’s ‘Ask a Question‘ section and from emails as well.

What’s the best way for parents to ask a question and how long would it take for their question to be answered?
They may do so at the ‘Ask a Question’ section on the website or email us. We don’t answer questions from our Twitter account.

We have a good compilation of articles on the website, so some of the questions may have already been answered. Do use the search button to get to the related articles or click on the listed tags.

We may not attend to the questions immediately as this website doesn’t serve as an online clinic. Some of the questions are answered promptly and some aren’t. A few selected questions are replied in the form of articles and the answers are only published after some time.

We need to remind the readers that the blog doesn’t replace a face-to-face consultation. In cases of emergency, where the child is unwell, please go and see a doctor.

Can a parent direct a question to a specific doctor on DoktorBudak.com?
We often take turns in answering the questions, depending on the availability of the paediatricians. Some of us may not be available at certain times due to our schedules, so we don’t recommend that the questions be directed to specific paediatricians. But if insisted, we’ll try our best to reply and we shall let you know if otherwise.

What’s in store for DoktorBudak.com?
We hope to expand the service to include child psychiatrist, paediatrician dentist, psychologist and nutritionist. In the near future, we’re working on producing video content on child health topics, which will include vaccination-related issues in hopes to allay parental concern and misinformation on the matter.

Parents with burning questions can head on over to DoktorBudak.com.