SIBU: Sarawak is on track to achieve Malaria elimination by 2020, says Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.
“Sarawak has its share of problems and successes with communicable diseases. Not too long ago, we have a big problem with Malaria. We have had problem in dealing with the outbreak of Malaria in certain areas of Sarawak.
“The porous Sarawak-Kalimantan border was one of the factors which contributed to the high number of cases. However, through the ingenuity of Sarawak Health Department and its dedicated staff, we can safely say that we have tamed this disease. In fact, we are on track to achieve Malaria elimination by 2020,” he said in his speech at the launch of Belt and Road Tropical Medicine Alliance (BRTMA)-Malaysia International Congress on Tropical Medicine at Kingwood Hotel here today.
Abang Johari’s text-of-speech was read out by Housing and Local Government Minister Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian, who represented him to officiate at the function.
The congress, themed “Eliminating Infectious Diseases through Research, Innovation and Effective Strategies”, was a joint effort between the BRTMA and SEGi University.
Abang Johri said that morbidity and mortality due to major immunisable diseases have been greatly reduced over the past two decades, adding that effective and efficient surveillance systems, good immunisation coverage and access to health care facilities are among the factors that account for this decline.
“Having said that, we must not forget the role of the community in combating infectious diseases. Sarawak Health Department has had some success in harnessing the power of the community in complimenting the effort of the department in improving the health status of those segments of the community far removed from urban centres,” he said.
He cited a novel community-based project, known as Village Health Promoter Project, which was launched by Sarawak Health Department more than 20 years ago, as an example of such effort.
The success of this internationally acclaimed approach is well documented, he said.
“I am aware that other infectious such as Melioidosis, Leptospirosis, Tuberculosis is still a constant threat to our public health.”
Abang Johari said the state government is working hand-in-hand with Sarawak Health Department in enhancing access to health and in improving quality of health care in Sarawak.
“The state government will continue to provide the necessary assistance to ensure that the healthcare needs of the people of Sarawak is well taken care of although health is a federal matter,” he added.
Among those present were Group CEO, SEGi Sdn Bhd Hew Moi Lan, Ministry of Health (MOH) Infectious Disease Consultant Dr Suresh Kumar, representing MOH’s director-general of health, state Health Department’s representative Dr Teh Jo Hun, representative for the president Hainan Medical University BRTMA Council Prof Zhang Fan and congress organising committee chairman Prof Dr Mohd Raili Suhaili.