SIBU: Three 1Malaysia clinics (K1M) in Sarawak will be closed, while Sabah will have two such health facilities closed, revealed Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye.
“For Sarawak, one each in Kuching, Sri Aman and Miri will be closed,” he told The Borneo Post via text message yesterday when asked on the number of K1M in Sarawak that will be closed out of 34 nationwide.
The Health Ministry has informed that the decision to close 34 out of 347 K1M nationwide was made after taking into account that the closure would have minimal impact on the local communities.
“None at Sibu,” Dr Lee added, when prompted on the number of K1M in Sibu that will be closed.
Sibu currently has 10 K1M – in Campus Park (Wawasan Road), Sungai Bidut, Teku, Rajang Park, Soon Hup Garden (Permai), Salim Road (Farley-Sentosa), Sibu Jaya, Bandong Road, Rantau Panjang, and Urban Transformation Centre (UTC).
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad on Saturday explained that the average number of patients was among the criteria on the closure of K1M, as well as the presence of other government health facilities within five kilometres of the said clinic.
Dr Dzulkefly also said the government was very concerned about the welfare of those in the lower income group; hence the decision not to close 1Malaysia clinics at public housing projects even though they served fewer than 40 patients a day.
Assistant Minister of Housing and Public Health Dr Annuar Rapaee pointed out that the services of K1M are still needed as some double up as Part Supply Medicine Collection Centres (PPUSS) to help ease congestion at polyclinics and hospitals.
He added that the provision of such service ought to be among the criteria considered by the Health Ministry in its decision to close some of the clinics.
“The closure of one (K1M) clinic may cause congestion in other clinics. The idea of this clinic is not only to provide facilities to the B40 (lower income group) but also to disperse patients (at hospitals and polyclinics) to ease congestion in getting their supply of medications.
“So, I think this should also be taken into account rather than just the number of patients attending a particular clinic,” said Dr Annuar, who is Assistant Minister of Education and Technological Research.