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Media statement by Dr. Hiew King Cheu in Kota Kinabalu on Friday, 18th November 2011:

Sabah lack of 2000 doctors

The position of the medical officers in the various facilities within the Ministry of Health is following the requirement of the facility, example hospitals, clinics and polyclinic. Until 30th of June 2011, the number of the medical officers (MO) and specialist doctors serving with the Ministry of Health in Sabah is totaling to 1,312 persons. The total number of required doctors is actually 1,853 doctors, so this makes up to only 70.8 % of the required doctors. The existing number of 1,312 doctors has an increase from the original number of 1,102 as on the 30th of June 2010.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) has appointed retired MO, Specialist doctors and some foreign nationality on contract basis to serve the medical facilities and hospitals in the country. There is now 636 such doctors had been engaged and 129 are working on contract basis in Sabah.

The QEH1 building is expected to complete on its construction by December 2012 with additional of 661 beds to provide a better facility to the sick people. The QEH2 is at the moment with 397 beds.

The setting up of the IPTA and IPTS will help to produce more trained doctors to serve under the Ministry of Health. This can produce some 3,000 doctors a year starting from 2009, and with this the government believes that the problem on the shortage of doctors in Sabah can be solved.

The question raised by me in Parliament has been given an answer that is so unrealistic and hard to believe. Since the government has introduced IPTA and IPTS to train the required numbers of doctors since 2009 with a rate of 3,000 doctors per year, where are these doctors now, and why Sabah is still very much short of doctors and specialist doctors? The huge shortage of 2,000 doctors in Sabah was announced by the Director of Medical service Datuk Hassan Abdul Rahman recently, and Sabah is 15 years behind other state in Malaysia. The respond to the my question by the Ministry seems way out from the figure given by the Director, and this doesn't look correct, what happen, and who is right?

This reflects the inefficiency of the Ministry and this can be seen as some covering up of the real situation and their fault. We can not accept this as correct, as we are actually facing acute shortage of MO and specialist doctors in Sabah. The Ministry has failed the Sabahan for a long time now, and we do not know when they can resolve the problem. May be there is no political will to help the Sabahan out of trouble and many were not saved due to lack of doctors and facilities. There were some sad cases brought to my attention saying that sick patient lost their lives in the remote villages due to lack of doctors and immediate medical attention. Even in KK, seriously ill person sometimes has to wait and queue for the operation to cure their sickness for a long period. Some couldn't wait and had passed away. If the government could not get the health care in full swing, what else they can do? The slow building construction of the QEH1 which is taking up so many years to complete, is a solid proof of the inefficiency of the Ministry. So it is not strange for Sabah to suffer a lack of 2,000 doctors and 15 years behind other state.

* Dr Hiew King Cheu, MP for Kota Kinabalu



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