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12 Jul 2018 - Sarawak needs own lab to diagnose epidemic diseases

Dr Annuar (second right) addresses reporters. From right are Dr Cheong, Dr Jamilah, and Dr Adrian.

KUCHING: A public health laboratory needs to be set up for Sarawak to diagnose and cope with any form of epidemic disease including rabies.

Assistant Minister of Housing and Public Health Dr Annuar Rapaee said currently, all specimens have to be sent to the Institute of Medical Research (IMR) to confirm a disease.

“Even though Unimas (Universiti Malaysia Sarawak) has the capacity, its lab is not recognised to give the confirmation and we are working with the Ministry of Health to recognise a centre which is able to diagnose and confirm diseases like rabies,” he told a press conference at the State Legislative Assembly Complex yesterday.

“As for canines, to confirm rabies, the specimens are sent to (Veterinary Research Institute) Ipoh at present, which requires a longer time. We are setting up a lab now which should be operational in one or two months’ time. Once ready, we will not need to send to Ipoh anymore.”

He said an Epidemiology Unit already exists under the Sarawak Health Department in every divisional health office, which reports back to the department’s Communicable Disease Control Section.

“But epidemiology is the branch of medicine which deals with the statistics, incidence, distribution, and possible control of diseases and has nothing to do with the diagnosis and treatment of diseases,” he explained.

“We have epidemiologist but it is not crucial at this time. What’s more crucial is a public health lab in order for us to cope with any form of epidemic in Sarawak.”

He was responding to See Chee How (PKR-Batu Lintang) on the latest number of rabies epidemic areas in Sarawak and whether the Sarawak government has planned with the federal government to set up epidemiology units in Sarawak hospitals to diagnose, treat, and prevent the outbreak and spread of infectious diseases.

Dr Annuar added that five divisions in Sarawak have been infected with rabies – Serian, Kuching, Samarahan, Sri Aman, and Sarikei.

“As of July 4, there are 33 localities in Sarawak declared as rabies outbreak areas, based on positive canine rabies cases detected by the Department of Veterinary Services (DVS),” he said.

On human resources including specialists, consultants and trained medical officers in hospitals, clinics, and veterinary clinics throughout Sarawak to diagnose, treat, and prevent the spread of rabies and other infectious diseases, Dr Annuar said a strong pool of people from multi-disciplinary departments is needed to fight and eliminate rabies.

“In order to fight rabies, it is not solely dependent on medical but multi-disciplinary departments, including veterinary for vaccination of dogs, medical to administer immediate treatment for patients bitten by dogs, and local government to trap stray dogs,” he explained.

“On the medical side, we already have the doctors in clinics well briefed on how to manage dog bites and referral of patients. As for vaccination of the dogs, it is important for the Veterinary Department to have more staff to vaccinate the dogs as the ideal is to vaccinate 70 per cent of the dog population.”

He pointed out that Sarawak does not have a database of its dog population as there is no proper registration system in place.

Currently there is a by-law enforced making it compulsory for all owners to register their pets or face legal action.

“All this must be together so that we are able to fight diseases. Sarawak has been declared a rabies infected area since July 1 last year.

“What’s more important in rabies is not the treatment but prevention, which is the vaccination.

“When the symptoms and signs appear after a dog bite, it is almost already fatal because there is no treatment for it,” he cautioned.

He added public awareness of what to do immediately when bitten by dogs is the most important.

“You must follow the procedures including washing with running water and immediately come to the hospitals and clinics where the patient will get vaccination injection after being assessed properly,” he stressed.

“The public should not be worried because vaccination is enough. Medical personnel are also enough to tackle the issue at the earliest stage.”

Among those present at the press conference were Sarawak Health Department director Dr Jamilah Hashim, Department of Veterinary Services Sarawak acting director Dr Adrian Susin Ambud, and Ministry of Local Government and Housing public health head Dr Cheong Yaw Liang.

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12 Jul 2018 - Rayong also wants native territorial domain to be bigger than 500 ha

Dr Johnichal Rayong Ngipa

NATIVE territorial domain which will be introduced with the passing of the Land Code (Amendment) Bill, 2018 should vary in size according to the needs of the community concerned rather than limited to a fixed size of 500 hectares.

This was suggested by Dr Johnichal Rayong Ngipa (UPP-Engkilili) who opined that 500 hectares for one community might be insufficient for dwellers of longhouses with 100 or more doors to forage for food, hunt, fish and farm.

He pointed out that instead of Provisional Lease (PL), the native cultural territorial areas should be given permanent leases and vary in size instead of being limited to a fixed area of 500 hectares.

“Some river valley settlements are big while some others are smaller. 500 hectares are barely enough for dwellers of a longhouse to forage for food, hunt, fish and farm.

“So I guess that the natives should be given at least 2,500 acres for them to expand their agricultural activities,” he said when debating the Land Code (Amendment) Bill, 2018 at the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) yesterday.

Nevertheless, Rayong was pleased that the proposed new Section 6A of the Land Code would enable native territorial domain to be registered and most importantly, ‘native communal titles’ would be issued.

“This shall be used exclusively by the native community for agriculture purposes or other purposes as may be approved by the august house and subject to any other terms and conditions that the director (of Land and Survey Department) may impose under Section 6A(3).

“The amendment would address several important issues of conflicts between NCR land owners versus Land and Survey Department and private companies.”

He said upon being passed, the Land Code (Amendment) Bill, 2018 will reverse and/or rectify the most important recent landmark decision of the Federal Court in a case in 2016 which ruled that the custom on ‘pemakai menoa’ and ‘pualau galau’ (PMPG) has no force of law.

Meanwhile, Fazzruddin Abdul Rahman (PBB-Tupong) expressed his appreciation to Sarawak’s ‘Iban relatives’ as their fight for PMPG has resulted in the state government setting up a committee to not only look into and cover the rights of the Ibans but also cover the rest of the state’s ethnic groups including the Malays and Melanaus.

“It should not be politicised as it will jeopardise our unity. It is very easy and irresponsible to fight for only one group without considering the others and without having the spirit of solving the issue in total,” he told the august house.

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21 Jun 2018 - Harden continues with Hari Raya visits

Harden (sixth left) with his wife Simba on his right and others at Mazelan’s residence (front sixth right) in Kampung Muhibbah.

SRI AMAN: Assistant Minister of Community Well Being Datuk Francis Harden Hollis visited several Malay leaders who were having Hari Raya open house here yesterday.

Among others, he visited Penghulu Abdul Samad Abdul Rahim of Kampung Hulu, Ketua Kaum Jolly Ramli of Kampung Muhibbah Zon Paya Jaya Utara and  Ketua Kaum Mazelan Ani of Kampung Muhibbah Zon Selatan.

Harden said he was happy to be able to spend the festive occasion with the Malay community leaders, which would go a long way in strengthening unity among the various races in his constituency.

His wife Datin Simba Nallang, vice chairman of Sri Aman District Council Cr Andar Suntai, Kapitan Tay Siaw Chuan, Cr Lansing Bansi, and Cr Tan Ing Siang were among those who accompanied him during the visit.

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16 Jun 2018 - MET Malaysia nafi gegaran di Sri Aman akibat gempa bumi

KUCHING - Jabatan Meteorologi Malaysia (MET Malaysia) menafikan gegaran yang berlaku di beberapa kawasan di sekitar Sri Aman kira-kira 200 kilometer dari sini petang tadi berpunca dari gempa bumi.

Sekretariat Jawatankuasa Pengurusan Bencana Negeri Sarawak (JPBNS), Mejar (PA) Ismail Mahedin berkata, maklum balas itu diterima selepas pihaknya menghubungi Jabatan Meteorologi bagi mendapatkan kepastian berhubung perkara tersebut.

"Jabatan Meteorologi memaklumkan setelah diteliti, gegaran yang dirasai adalah terlalu kecil dan bukan disebabkan oleh aktiviti gempa bumi.

Kemungkinan adalah disebabkan dari aktiviti perlombongan kuari, pembinaan dan sebagainya di kawasan berdekatan," katanya dalam satu kenyataan di sini hari ini.

Dalam kejadian antara 3.45 petang hingga 3.48 petang tadi, penduduk di sekitar Sri Aman mendakwa merasai gegaran yang berlaku sekitar empat hingga lima saat. - Bernama 

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