Saturday, October 1

Ministry has several proposals to better control of rabies


(From left) Miri MP Dr Michael Teo and Dr Lee talk to patients at the dog bite clinic.

KUCHING: The Ministry of Health (MoH) has several proposals for the Sarawak government to better control the rabies situation in Sarawak.

Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye said the proposals would be discussed during a meeting with Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah and Minister of Local Government and Housing Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian today.

Speaking to reporters during his visit to Sarawak General Hospital (SGH) yesterday, he said the cooperation between the federal government and the Sarawak government was always very close in as far as controlling rabies is concerned.

Despite this, he said the ministry is of the opinion that both sides have to discuss the next steps to be taken to control rabies, which has so far claimed the lives of 16 people in Sarawak since the outbreak started on July 4, 2017, while 59 areas have been declared as rabies infected.

“The Ministry of Health is always concerned about the rabies situation in Sarawak. During every post Cabinet meeting, the high level management of the Ministry of Health would always discuss the rabies issue.

“We have several proposals and we will discuss them with the Sarawak government to refine these proposals and how we can implement them.

“Tomorrow (today), I will be meeting Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah and Minister of Local Government and Housing Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian to discuss the proposals,” said Dr Lee.

He, however, refused to reveal or even give a hint of what the proposals are to be presented to the Sarawak government, when asked by reporters.

He, nonetheless, said his working visit to Sarawak was to understand the rabies situation and to have discussions with the Sarawak government on the matter, apart from seeing for himself the medical facilities in Sarawak.

He was also happy to note the Sarawak Health Department director Dr Jamilah Hashim was always invited to the meetings of Sarawak Disaster Management Committee on the rabies situation.

Dr Lee, together with the ministry’s secretary general Datuk Seri Dr Chen Chaw Min, also visited the dog bite clinic at the SGH, and talked to medical personnel and the patients there.

They earlier attended a briefing at the SGH auditorium where they were told about problems facing the hospitals such as the problematic lifts and lack of beds. Both Dr Lee and Dr Chen also told reporters that the completion of Petra Jaya Hospital was important, to reduce the congestion and overcrowding at SGH.

Dr Chen said the Petra Jaya Hospital project had been re-tendered this year, and construction would re-commence in the middle or third quarter of this year to enable it to be completed in the next two years.

Based on previous news reports, the RM495 million project, which started in May 2013, was originally scheduled for completion in Nov 2017, but was only 35.4 per cent completed in June last year.

The federal government has since terminated the contract of the turnkey contractor.