CM vows full support for state, national healthcare initiatives

KUCHING: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg has pledged his full personal support to facilitate and enable the implementation of health programmes in Sarawak and Malaysia.

Abang Johari said Sarawak has been presented with a ‘make or break’ opportunity where the state must achieve the targets of controlling and eliminating communicable diseases.

“Nothing stops us from aiming for an even quicker time schedule for the elimination of all sorts of communicable diseases. The faster we achieve the targets of controlling and eliminating communicable diseases today, the more we will be saving our precious resources for tomorrow.

“Currently, we are faced with the enormous burden of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, complications of tobacco use, cancer, and many more.

“Therefore, we have numerous tasks ahead of us, in fighting this together and I truly hope that this conference will be able to provide solutions for Sarawak, our nation and even at a regional level,” said Abang Johari during a dinner held in conjuction with 5th Asia Pacific Conference on Public Health themed “Realising the Sustainable Development Goals Aspiration on Health” on Monday.

On Sarawak healthcare, he said it has been provided by three major government hospitals – Sarawak General Hospital, Sibu Hospital, and Miri Hospital as well as numerous district hospitals, public health clinics, 1Malaysia clinics, and rural clinics.

“Besides government-owned hospitals and clinics, there are several private hospitals in Sarawak. Hospitals in Sarawak typically provide the full range of healthcare options, from triage to palliative care for the terminally ill,” said Abang Johari.

“In comparison to the prevalence of health services in urban regions, much of rural Sarawak is only accessible by river transport which limits the coverage.

“Remote rural areas that are beyond the operating areas of health clinics, about 12 kilometres or 7.5 miles, and inaccessible by land or river are serviced by a monthly flying doctor service, which was established in 1973 and is still functioning,” said Abang Johari.