Health Ministry urged to provide first hand public information on rabies

Michael Tiang

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By Adrian Lim

KUCHING, Nov 22 : Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) youth chief Michael Tiang has called on the Health Ministry to disclose the information on rabies and update the public as soon as possible.

Tiang was surprised to find out that the latest case of rabies from Sibu was only made known to the public on Nov 21 by Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, although the victim was confirmed to have died of rabies at the Sarawak General Hospital (SGH) on Nov 11.

According to some feedback, Tiang said there were rumours claiming that rabies had spread in certain areas in Sibu.

He noted that such rumours have since caused the public to panic and felt unease due to the delays or unavailability of the latest information on rabies.

“In its efforts to prevent the spread of rabies, the Ministry of Health should be quick to provide Sarawak authorities and public members with the latest updates on the disease like the way it ensures the information sharing on Covid-19 pandemic to be always transparent and updated,” he said in a statement.

Tiang who is also a political secretary to the Chief Minister was referring to the latest case of rabies whereby a 16-year-old teenage girl died of rabies in Sarawak.

Her fatality was the sixth in Sarawak this year and the 28th case since the outbreak happened in 2017.

Besides, Tiang also urged the Health Ministry to take note that it is very critical for multiple government agencies like the local authority, public health department and veterinary enforcement to obtain the firsthand information on rabies cases in order to take immediate and necessary action in response to such reported cases.

“If the information can be disseminated by the MOH to those relevant authorities fast and efficiently, I believe we not only can stop the spread of the disease quickly but also the rumours that cause unrest.

“As far as I was informed by the Sibu Municipal Council, despite their dog unit catching 120 dogs per month and its private contractors catch about 20 a month, there are still many stray dogs or unattended dogs roaming out there.

“I therefore urge dog owners not to abandon their dogs on the streets, or allow their dogs to roam freely outside their house compound so as to prevent the spread of rabies from escalating,” he added. —DayakDaily