Deputy Health Minister assures anti-rabies team following the rules

Dr Lee (right) speaking to reporters as Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii and Pending assemblywoman Violet Yong look on.

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By Nigel Edgar

KOTA SAMARAHAN, April 13: Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye assures that the State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) has been adhering to the standard operating procedure (SOP) in handling the rabies epidemic in the state.

He said the SOP adopted by the SDMC anti-rabies team had specific instructions in handling free-roaming dogs in the streets.

“The details can leave it to SDMC Chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas to handle. As for the Ministry of Health’s side, we deal with preventing further human infection.

“What we are doing now is assisting in regards to providing dog bite clinics, vaccinating and giving immunisation to victims of dog bites and follow up,” Dr Lee said.

He was responding to reporters’ queries if the federal government would be more involved in the anti-rabies operation in the state as the epidemic has been declared as Disaster Stage 2 in January this year.

Earlier, he officiated at the World Salt Awareness Week 2019 at Summer Mall here this afternoon.

Yesterday, a group of dog owners lodged a police report against SDMC and local authorities over alleged shooting of dogs with tranquiliser darts within their property and home compounds.

The group also questioned the SOP adopted by SDMC, saying that it was “inhumane” and urged the federal government to interfere.

Dr Lee, when asked to comment on that, said it had been in the SOP that the anti-rabies team was not allowed to encroach into private properties and premises to shoot dogs with tranquiliser darts.

“That’s in the SOP. As to whether it actually happened or not, I think I’ll leave it to the deputy chief minister (Uggah) to do the necessary investigation. I also understand that he had already answered that, and they are going to investigate anyway.

“So, I’ll leave it to Uggah. But based on the SOP, they should not encroach into private premises and no shooting should be done within private residential compounds,” he said. — DayakDaily