Why was health, in particular the war against two killer epidemics – A(H1N1) and dengue – excluded from Najib’s National Key Result Areas (NKRAs) announced last week?

Health Minister, Datuk Liow Tiong Lai cannot be serious about his ministerial commitment to provide the best health services in the country when the health front, in particular the war against the two killer epidemics of A(H1N1) and dengue are excluded from the National Key Result Areas (NKRAs) announced by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak last week.

In fact, it is not only Liow but also the Minister for KPIs, Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon who should also explain why the Prime Minister’s short-term targets for six NKRAs had excluded health, especially with the country facing two killer epidemics.

There have been 69 new locally-transmitted influenza A(H1N1) cases reported on Thursday, bringing the total number in the country to 1,371 with four deaths so far.

At a recent briefing to the National Influenza Pandemic Task Force meeting (July 27, 2009), Dr Tee Ah Sian, director of communicable diseases of WHO, painted a possible scenario for the Malaysian A (H1N1) pandemic.

For our 27.7 million population, if simply 20% are at risk and exposed, then some 5.5 million people will contract the A (H1N1) flu. Based on other serious influenza statistics, if 2% to 9% require hospitalisation then, some 110,000 to 500,000, respectively, would need hospital care.

If the case fatality rate is estimated to be from 0.1% to 0.5%, then some 5,500 to 28,000 of infected patients would die, respectively.

In the latest updates of the most seriously ill patients identified and confirmed infections, the global case fatality rate has risen from the 0.4% to 0.66%.

On the second killer epidemic front, dengue has killed 64 persons and recorded 26,446 cases since January – set to break even last year’s worst dengue epidemic of 49,335 cases and 112 casualties.

As the worst in Malaysia on both killer epidemics are yet to come, the Cabinet next Wednesday should censure Liow’s deplorable ministerial performance and announce the seventh NKRA on the short-term targets in the war against these two killer epidemics.

In the past two days, I have received numerous public complaints about the government’s handling of the A(N1H1) epidemic as well as the quality of hospital services, like the following three from Malacca, Kuching and Johore Baru: –

(1) Malacca – On the Influenza A(H1N1): I find that what the minister of health and the DG of MMC say is not what is being practiced at the government hospitals.

My girl is sick since Monday night and has been to 2 private clinics three times, and one clinic, the Dr. said to wait for three days for the antibiotic to take effect.

As she continued to have high fever, and as advised by the Dr in the 2nd private clinic, today she went to Malacca Hospital.

After waiting for three hours, she finally gets to see the Dr. only to be told to wait another three days, and new medicine issued. When asked, they said she did not have to undergo the swab test. This inspite of the several cases of the A(H1N1) at her university in Bukit Beruang.

Dato’ Seri Liow is quoted as having said that all those with symptoms should undergo the swab test. However, sad to say, the message is not going to the ground level, where a totally different stance is being taken. They call it the ‘mitigation phase’.

I ask: What if three days or one week is too late? (My girl is underweight and not terribly strong.) Is that how the other deaths occurred?

Why minister and DG say one thing, but hospitals and IMR not listening? Does it surprise you then that the number of cases are escalating day by day?

DG of MMC today said the people are not doing enough. I was informed by a doctor in private practice that countries like Hong Kong are doing a great job in containing this pandemic. Why Malaysia cannot do? How many more deaths is it going to take?

(2) Kuching – My daughter had fever, sore throat and cough after visiting KL and Malacca. We brought her to a private hospital in Kuching and she was given antibiotics and sent home.

At night, she developed high fever, chills, headache and nose block and I was horrified after searching on the internet that she was displaying symptoms of H1N1. We went back to the hospital and was advised to go to SGH, as they did not have the checking facilities.

At the SGH, it was chaotic with babies and other cases all waiting to be seen at the same place. They were totally unprepared, understaffed, and one staff was angry to see us waiting at the H1N1 area, shouting, “another one? I haven’t even eaten”.

We were told they were at the “mitigation stage”. When I asked what that means, it means the H1N1 is too prevalent, they are treating it as the normal flu. They would not be doing any blood test, or throat swab. We were told to quarantine ourselves, continue taking the private hospital medication, and they would only treat us if we have blue lips, vomiting blood or have difficulty breathing!

They said this direction came from up.

Today, I read in the news paper, 14 new cases discovered. I wonder how do they know when they don’t conduct checks?

This Government is a joke!

(3) Johore Baru – I been to 3 general hospitals in JB and waited 4 months to diagnose that I have a kidney stone that is too big and needed urgent surgery. Worst is that I have to wait until end of the year to get it removed (because, all booked), they say they will put a tube for temporary measure.

Last 2 weeks, I have got it removed in Private Hospital with only 2 days upon diagnosis & the stone is bigger than my thumb.

Story behind on general hospital in JB:

unable to diagnose (first hospital after 3 days hospitalised)

Send to second hospital then subsequent third hospital, stayed for 13 days for antibiotics then only send for MRI… unfortunately, it broken down, have to wait another one & half month (for it to get parts to fix it), after MRI, says that that particular hospital do not have urology specialist (whole of Johor, only got one hospital for it).

Upon presenting letter, straight given another month of appointment (the place is cramp like…cannot describe). on the said appointment (although having the MRI scan) need to go for x-ray, then says comeback 3 more weeks.

After 3 more weeks, they says, it is dangerous need surgery but unfortunately have to wait until end of the year.

Come on, is the doctor incompetent? or other circumstances (equipments, hospital utilities etc) render them unable to work properly….Motto…’LET’s Wait until their life in on a thread, then, send for as Emergency case’

Liow should personally respond to these three complaints from Malacca, Kuching and Sarawak.

  1. #1 by Joshua on Saturday, 1 August 2009 - 10:46 am

    Not only these NKRA on A(H1N1) and dengue, the Sabah case of health without a proper Govt Hospital after QEH’s tower block plus others unit as abandoned, nothing much since Sept 2008 to resolve the health service crisis in KK.

    It is dilemma for many poor and sick patients always in ambulances across Sabah.

    Who can explain the scenario of stupid and illegal leaders filling up their pockets only?

    pw: onion million

  2. #2 by yhsiew on Saturday, 1 August 2009 - 11:24 am

    Perhaps Najis thinks implementing populist policies to cling on to power is more important than people’s health, hence the war against A(H1N1) and dengue was excluded from the National Key Result Areas (NKRAs).

  3. #3 by tenaciousB on Saturday, 1 August 2009 - 12:04 pm

    Reality check regarding the H1N1 mayhem. It’s clearly overdramatised for political reasons not just in malaysia but the whole world over especially in countries such as australia and the US. And in so before i justify my views let me applaud Najib for not including it into his nationak directive plan.

    Now for the justifications, i can speak for australia in particular as i’ve experienced the life there personally. The government is pushing for a massive vaccination drive in good faith to address the H1N1 epidemic. But let me explain the facts behind H1N1.

    It’s a flu virus, been there before, has almost always caused an outbreak during the winter seasons. why the sudden overt concerns over a simple flu virus. Let me explain further u, me and anyone gets the flu at least once a year, that’s what it is, u, me and most of us recover within a week. yeah that simple. now how does this virus cause any huha, well with a complication in a compromised individual such as the very young and very old or the one’s with immunity compromises. The complication we are talking about is ‘viral pneumonia’ where people should seek medical attention for just for reasons to aid with their breathing and to anticipate secondary bacterial infections whereby doctors can commence antibiotic treatment earlier.

    Now, in australia and america this flu epidemic is overdramatised in my opinion to gain economic drive. How they could do that is by 2 ways. firstly, by deviating the citizens focus from impending and ongoing recession by a mythological epidemic and secondly by driving a huge spending spree which in essence is an informal ‘economic stimulus’ into mass unbeneficial vaccinations!!

    What a great fraud of the century, and u thought maddoff was bad, look what these governments are doing??!!?!!?!?!

  4. #4 by rabbit on Saturday, 1 August 2009 - 12:19 pm

    talk good but work zero.. another drama queen! One Malaysia boleh.

  5. #5 by sheriff singh on Saturday, 1 August 2009 - 1:44 pm

    Bo Liow doesn’t have a clue as to what to do, this rookie.

    Go to any government hospital throughout the country and you will see the sad state of affairs everywhere. Disasters just waiting to happen.

    The Ministry of Health has always been the graveyard for its Ministers. So enjoy yourself Liow while you can. But do something urgently while you can.

  6. #6 by raven77 on Saturday, 1 August 2009 - 5:05 pm

    Both Liow and Merican should be charged with manslaughter for killing off Malaysians with dengue and H1N1…

    At least Connor killed only MJ with propofol….

    But these two have already killed hundreds…especially that bloody DG who has been hanging on to his post for the last five years with dengue rising year in and year out …and still keeps blaming the public and doctors….

    Rest assured as long as this fella is DG…every doctor in this country especially the private ones will be campaigning all out to get rid of the BN…….

  7. #7 by liberty123 on Saturday, 1 August 2009 - 5:53 pm

    Lim Kit Siang,

    As you are a politian and a very influencial one in Malaysia I am appealing to you.

    Please encourage ppl to read more about the H1N1 pandemic.
    The point I am trying to make is that:
    1. H1N1 is is not scientifically proven to cause swine flu or any kind of flu. (pls read here for more details http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=14487.)
    2. The vacine they are going to approve in a few months have not been tested and might be harmful to humans.
    3. The quarantine by malaysia government is hurting tourist industry.

    I appeal to you for the benifit of the malaysian ppl and for your own to read more about the H1N1 and SARS a few years back.
    Malaysia is full of haze and that causes flu so if the doctor refuses to treat u for H1N1 or give u a vaccine u should thank him.
    WHO is not a agency made of saints, they are as corruptable as the ppl in malaysian government today. Therefore one should not take their word like the gospel truth and read more by themselves

  8. #8 by liberty123 on Saturday, 1 August 2009 - 5:54 pm

    The link is http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=14487

    the .) at the end sends u to a different page

  9. #9 by lopez on Sunday, 2 August 2009 - 12:59 pm

    this fella is really a blind, stubborn and arrogant foool,
    for so many years the whole hum lan club has been cheating their so call their so call members and all else
    who collected bread crumbs from them.

    Perhasp he got the chance now to be somebody he always wanted, Now that they are no more contenders in the club to disturb his personal wants.

    What a fool, thinking he has the mandate of his sawlow clubmembers?

    If he really is sincere in lifting the marginalisation , just quit the post….and the club.Does he knows he is just the puppet and not the puppetier.

  10. #10 by i_love_malaysia on Monday, 3 August 2009 - 12:58 pm

    The poor state of our environment should also be included in the KRA!!! We have been suffering from poor air quality due to haze and open burning!!! What action has been done by the incompetent BN govt???

  11. #11 by i_love_malaysia on Monday, 3 August 2009 - 1:00 pm

    Malaysia is worst than a third world country in all fronts due to half a century under the incompetent BN govt!!!

  12. #12 by AhPek on Monday, 3 August 2009 - 1:31 pm

    What you have written,tenaciousB,is not altogether correct.You have given the impression that A(H1N1) is the same as Flu A and B,and you couldn’t be more wrong.Flu A and B are seasonal flu that come to attack the old and the very young every winter without fail,like a clock-work.And without
    fail,thousands have died globally for the old and the very young have weak lungs if one were to compare them with tenager,young and middle aged men.However in the case of A(H!N!), it attacks everyone regardless of whether one is young or old.The ones dying are usually those with an underpinning medication condition.The mortality of A(H1N1) which is around 0.05%,is low as compared to SARS (20%) or the Nipah Virus (40%). However the rate of spread of A(H1N1) is certainly much higher than SARS or Nipah Virus,otherwise the World Health Organisation would not have classified it as a pandemic and not an
    epidemic as you have put it!But if you were to compare A(H1N1) pandemic with other pandemic like the Spanish Flu or the Asian Flu
    you can well say it is mild.

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