Call on the
Malaysian Government to improve the services, facilities and equipment in
855 health clinics, 101 maternal and childcare clinics and 1,940 rural
clinics, to cope with the SARS epidemic
by Dr Tan Seng Giaw
Although the Health Ministry spends RM54 million to improve facilities and
equipment in hospitals, the services, facilities and equipment in hospitals,
urban health clinics, maternal and childcare clinics and rural clinics must
be improved. This is especially so because of the SARS epidemic. These
clinics especially the rural ones are short of doctors. The Government is
attempting to get 1,149 foreign doctors to man them.
There are over 3,000 SARS cases with over 160 deaths in 25 countries in the
world. More than half of these cases are in China. On 17 April, 2003, the
New York Times reported that international investigators suspected that the
Chinese authorities had significantly understated the prevalence of SARS.
On the other hand, on 17 April, 2003, the Asian Wall Street Journal showed
3,556 cases with 163 deaths. Malaysia had 56 cases and one death; three
diagnosed as SARS but 53 others suspected. On 16 April, 2003, the New
Straits Times recorded 3 deaths (one probable, two suspected), 6 probable
SARS, 219 notified cases, 29 isolated on wards and 19 quarantined.
Clearly, the number of cases in each country depends on the criteria used.
However, as further work is being done by international experts on defining
Coronavirus that is confirmed as the cause of the atypical pneumonia, we
hope that all countries are truthful and open in their statistics.
The people are scared of the epidemic. The economy is affected. So, the
Government should be more transparent and accountable.
* Dr Tan Seng Giaw, DAP Vice
Chairman & MP for Kepong