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By Adrian Lim
KUCHING, Sept 21: Local authorities in Sarawak have been encouraged to strengthen its role in public health as the State is on course to restore its autonomy when it comes to its health services.
Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences Professor Datu Dr Andrew Kiyu believes that now is the time for local authorities to take action to strengthen public health due to its declining role after the formation of the Federation of Malaysia as some services in the local authorities were taken over by the Federal government.
“This is an opportunity time for us as people are talking about autonomy for Sarawak Health Services.
“The formation of the Sarawak Infectious Diseases Centre is one.
“Once we have the Sarawak Infectious Diseases Centre (ready by 2024), we need to amend the law (Protection of Public Health Ordinance 1999).
“For example, funds from compounds issued by the local authorities for offences such as smoking at eateries can go to them directly, instead of to the central fund of the Federal government.
“We are going to amend this (law) for the Sarawak Infectious Diseases Centre but I think the local authorities should take this opportunity to strengthen its role in public health in Sarawak,” he said during the virtual roundtable webinar on sustainable development goals (SDGs) for Sarawak Local Authorities 2021 today.
Dr Kiyu presented his paper on strengthening public health programmes in local authorities in Sarawak.
He noted major services for local authorities in Sarawak have declined over the years and taken over by the federal government while public health services have been limited to residual services.
Dr Kiyu added other opportunities to strengthen the public health in Sarawak include a discussion between Unimas and Sarawak Foundation to provide training for medical officers and subsequently include them as public health medicine specialists in the local authorities.
The roundtable webinar on SDGs for Sarawak Local Authorities 2021 was organised by MLGH in collaboration with Sarawak Development Institute (SDI). — DayakDaily