Tuesday, September 26

New hospital planned for Kapit at old airport site


Ago signs the visitors’ book. Seated next to him is Health  Department Sarawak director Dr Chin Zin Hing.

KAPIT: The Ministry of Health has a long term plan to construct a new hospital at the old airport site here.

Deputy Health Minister Datuk Aaron Ago Dagang said this was part of the government’s plans to provide better healthcare to the people in the division.

“The Ministry of Health – we have short and long term plans. The short-term, as soon as possible, is to send more medical officers, especially specialists – physicians, general surgeons, orthopaedic, et cetera – to the hospital.

“The long-term plan is to plan for a new hospital at the old airport, which is a strategic location between Kapit town and Bletih. The airport’s land is under the Malaysia Airports authority, and the Ministry of Health comes under the federal government. So it will be easier to handle the land issues.

“Of course, to build a new hospital takes time to plan, to bid for funds, and to acquire land from the Ministry of Transport to the Health Ministry,” Ago said prior attending a health briefing here yesterday.

He visited Kapit Hospital and Kapit Health Clinic, after visiting the Sungai Asap Health Clinic last week.

“As Deputy Minister of Health, I am tasked by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to look into health facilities and healthcare in Sarawak and Sabah especially. Through briefings, we know the way forward is to provide better healthcare to the people, especially the rural communities,” said Ago, who is Kanowit MP.

According to him, providing healthcare services here is particularly challenging because the majority of the people depend on government’s facilities, with just two private clinics available.

“In big cities like Kuching, people have many choices because many private specialist clinics and healthcare facilities are available. We are short of human resources at hospitals and clinics, also the old equipment would need to be replaced and more facilities need to be added to enhance healthcare.

“For instance, Kapit should have some 70 medical officers, but Kapit Hospital only has 19 medical officers, while Kapit Health Clinic only has eight medical officers,” he said.

Ago also thanked all healthcare workers on the frontline, who were involved in the fight against Covid-19.

“Because of your commitment, hard work, and new approach, Kapit is free from Covid-19. Congratulations. Keep Kapit ‘green’ to safeguard public health,” he added.

Meanwhile in his briefing, Kapit Hospital director Dr Ivan Vun said the hospital urgently needed a computerised tomography (CT) scanner as currently, patients would need to go to Sibu Hospital for scans and then return to Kapit, which is time-consuming and costly.

He also pointed out that when medical officers got transferred out of Kapit, it would be very difficult and complicated to get replacements.