Monday, March 1

Chang agrees with Dr Sim’s call for public health care decentralisation


SIBU: Bukit Assek assemblywoman Irene Chang supports the call by Minister of Local Government and Housing Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian for the decentralisation of public health care in order to improve the health services in Sarawak.

Chang added that she concurred with Dr Sim that the federal government had failed Sarawak in its healthcare system.

She said in a statement yesterday the state government should push for decentralisation of management of medical service from Putrajaya to allow the State Health Department to have the autonomy to decide on the stationing of the specialists and senior health staff in any hospitals in Sarawak, on their promotion and on how to spend the funds allocated to Sarawak.

Irene Chang

The State Health Department should immediately deploy experienced specialists like infectious disease physicians, kidney and heart specialists and intensivists along with more nurses and medical assistants to help both Sibu Hospital and Sibu Public Health Departments combat the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Only in this way, can the health care system in Sarawak have the chance to be improved.”

Chang said the current pandemic situation in Sibu once again reaffirmed the ugly truth of how the healthcare system in Sibu has been sidelined all these years.

“Today in the midst of Covid-19 crisis, we Sibuans, pay the ultimate price of being treated like a stepson by not only the Federal Government but also by the Sarawak State Health Ministry.”

She noted that  all these years, the state Health Ministry had centralised too much power and resources and manpower in Sarawak General Hospital in Kuching.

“Most funds and resources which come in to Sarawak from Putrajaya would be channelled to Sarawak State Health Department or the State Specialist mostly based in Sarawak General Hospital for distribution by these departments.

“Sadly, most of the time, these distributions were very often not done equitably. The main hospitals in Sibu, Miri, Bintulu and Sarikei were often left to their own devices to find the necessary funds to purchase the equipment which they may urgently need for their own hospital.”

Adding on, Chang said the reported news on the private donations of the PCR machines to run the Covid-19 swab test in both Sibu Hospital and Miri Hospital were the cases in point.

“Likewise, it was also reported that the setting up of the two testing laboratories in Bintulu were also borne by public donations. Why should these hospitals outside Kuching be left to themselves to source for the necessary funds to purchase these machines?

With Sibu now being the epicentre of Covid-19 in Sarawak, the 2 PCR machines are still insufficient as it was reported that arrangements have to be made to send more than 1,000 samples daily to Kuala Lumpur and Kuching.”

“Other than funds and resources, the people outside Kuching over the years, have paid the price of being deprived of specialist care at their hospitals.

While Sarawak General Hospital is well staffed with specialists and sub-specialists, the hospitals in Sibu, Miri and Bintulu are consistently short and deprived of these specialists care.”

Even during this pandemic, Chang said the State Health Department could not t even spare one infectious disease specialist to come in to Sibu Hospital to help treat the infectious disease of our Covid-19 patients.

“Since a lot of our Covid-19 patients are kidney disease patients and/or have heart complications, it is also unacceptable that until now, not even one kidney specialist or cardiologist have been sent to Sibu Hospital to help our people here.

“Has our lack in the specialists care in any way contributed to the high mortality rate from Covid-19 in Sibu Hospital?

“To date, we have 41 deaths out of the total 69 deaths in Sarawak since the Pasai Cluster started in the beginning of January.”