Sunday, July 12

Dr Sim: Sarawak needs different approach in health services

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Dr Sim beats the gong to mark the opening of the 30th National Scientific Conference in conjunction with Borneo Scientific Meeting 2019 at a hotel in Kuching. – Photo by Roystein Emmor

KUCHING: The national norms used for the whole country cannot be applied to Sarawak when it comes to building more hospitals and having more specialists.

This is because of Sarawak’s different geography and scattered population, Minister of Local Government and Housing Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian said, citing the Pan Borneo Highway as an example.

“We cannot build big hospital for every two hours’ drive because we don’t have the people. But we need small hospitals with specialists and cover more areas,” he said when met on the sidelines of the 30th National Scientific Conference in conjunction with Borneo Scientific Meeting 2019 at a hotel here
yesterday.

“The national norms used for the country cannot be applicable to Sarawak. In the Peninsular Malaysia, they have many neurosurgeons and other specialists available within the 1,000km stretch. But we do not have many people within 1,000 km of the Pan Borneo Highway. Within any two-hour drive at the North South highway in Peninsular Malaysia, they would have two big hospitals but over here for any two-hour drive, we may not even reach the next town,” he added.

On the building of public health laboratories, Dr Sim suggested that Sarawak use state funds since the federal government is not supporting Sarawak in finance.

“If funding is an issue, then we can look at several business models. Since the federal government has a lot of issues, for instance being unable to support us, we can use our own money. We also should on our own make decisions on the number of hospitals and specialists. They always use the national norms to apply to us to make decisions. That we cannot (do). And if there is no money, how to talk? We are asking for our own money anyway,” he said.

Dr Sim also said Sarawak wants administrative autonomy over all these matters.

On the event proper, Dr Sim said medical laboratory professionals play an essential part in the delivery of quality healthcare.

“Their roles are crucial to the doctors who often depend of the laboratory test results to make diagnosis and treat patients. There are also medical laboratory professionals carrying out research to study about diseases, develop new laboratory techniques and study the effects of medication.

“It is important that they keep themselves abreast of the current advances in medical technology and the emerging developments in the field of medical sciences,” he said.

Conferences such as the one currently held help in enhancing their knowledge and competency, he added.

Among those present at the opening ceremony of the conference themed ‘Multidisciplinary Approach to Medical Laboratory Sciences’ were president of Malaysian Institute of Medical Laboratory Sciences (MIMLS) Faridah Robiah Ismail and Deputy Vice Chancellor of Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) Prof Dr Ahmad Hata Rasit.

The two-day conference was organised by MIMLS in collaboration with Unimas.