Health director: Continue to exercise caution against HFMD

Dr Jamilah (second right) presenting the course certificate to a participating nurse from the Philippines.

KUCHING, Sept 13: The public must remain vigilant against the spread of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) even though there has been a continual drop of recorded cases in Sarawak.

State Health director Dr Jamilah Hashim said strict screening would continue to be carried out at childcare centres and kindergartens as part of the preventive measures to curb spread of HFMD.

She advised parents and guardians to limit the exposure of their children to public playground, especially at shopping malls, and always carry hand sanitisers to minimise contact with contaminated items or areas.

The people must wash their hands regularly if they are in contact with children, she added.

“HFMD is endemic in Sarawak. We must practice good hygiene at all times.

“Here, the staff, teachers of childcare centres and kindergartens are used to preventive measures to curb HFMD. They must ensure that the environment of their premises are kept clean.

“We also practise gate-keeping measure, where the staff and teachers wait for children at the entrance every morning to check for possible HFMD symptoms. Only those in the clear are allowed to enter,” Dr Jamilah told reporters after closing the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Care seminar at Bangunan Sultan Iskandar auditorium here today.

A child showing symptom of HFMD must be sent to the hospital immediately to prevent their condition from worsening, she continued.

Dr Jamilah said from Jan 1 till Sept 5 this year, the state recorded 7,023 cases of HFMD, an increase of 164 cases when compared to the same period last year, which recorded 6,859 cases.

She expressed satisfaction that the HFMD situation in Sarawak had dropped below warning level after recording a significant drop in cases at 225 for the period Aug 19-25 and 196 for the period Aug 26-Sept 1.

Previously, the state recorded an average of over 800 cases per week.

Meanwhile, at the closing ceremony, Dr Jamilah hoped the state would continue to have more trained Enterostomal Therapy (ET) nurses to benefit patients needing wound, ostomy and continence nursing care.

“With the increasing trend in Colocteral Cancers, the demand for this nursing specialty is of utmost importance for patients undergoing ostomy surgeries.

“As for wound care in Malaysia, diabetic foot ulcers, venous and arterial ulcers and pressure injury cases are increasing. These patients with debilitating diseases and chronic wounds need specialised care from these ET nurses, ensuring optimal quality of life,” she said.

Dr Jamilah said stoma cases in Sarawak General Hospital (SGH) was increasing from 87 in 2015 to 170 last year. Wound cases, meanwhile, increased from 1,678 in 2015 to 2,285 last year.

The seminar was held in conjunction with the completion of a 12-week course that commenced on June 25 this year. Thirteen nurses, including four Sarawakians, three Vietnamese and two Filipinos, graduated from the programme.

SGH organised the Malaysian Wound, Ostomy and Continence Education Programme under its General Surgery, Nursing Services Unit in collaboration with the Malaysian Enterostomal Therapy Nurses Association (Metna). — DayakDaily