Proposed air ambulance to aid rescues in remote areas, highway accidents, says Health Minister

Dr Zaliha (centre) flanked by Dr Noor Hisham on her right and Dr Sim on her left at a press conference after officiating at ‘1st Global Surgery Conference: The New Dawn’, which was held at a hotel in Kuching today (March 19, 2023).

Follow and subscribe to DayakDaily on Telegram for faster news updates.

By Ashley Sim

KUCHING, March 19: Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa emphasises that the proposed air ambulance in Malaysia is intended to speed up rescue operations, particularly in remote areas and in certain cases of highway accidents.

Dr Zaliha told reporters this at a press conference after officiating at ‘1st Global Surgery Conference: The New Dawn’, which was held at a hotel in Kuching today.

She also stated that the air ambulance service is essentially identical to the flying doctor service offered in Sarawak.

“The Ministry of Health (MOH) welcomes the initiative of the Ministry of Local Government Development (KPKT).

“They will assist us (MOH) in numerous ways, including transporting patients from rural areas to hospitals.

“There is also a situation where an air ambulance can assist with highway accidents where the roads are extremely congested and thus (can) transport victims to a nearby hospital in a safe and efficient manner,” she explained.

A national daily reported that KPKT intends to collaborate with MOH to establish an air ambulance service using Fire and Rescue Department of Malaysia (Bomba) helicopters.

During the winding up session of the Supply Bill 2023 for the ministry in the Dewan Rakyat on March 16, KPKT minister Nga Kor Ming stated that if the initiative is achieved by the end of the year, the government will save at least RM15 million per year.

The air ambulance service will be used for a variety of purposes, including for rescue efforts in remote areas and road accident cases on highways.

Meanwhile, when asked if MOH has plans to increase the number of plastic surgeons in Sarawak, specifically to treat burn patients, Dr Zaliha noted that the country requires more specialists in general, not just plastic surgeons.

“Actually, we need more specialists in all fields, not just one. However, we are planning ahead to acquire more specialists and hope to have at least 20,000 specialists by 2030.

“To accomplish this, training must be provided in order to pique the interest of more doctors in becoming specialists.

“We also hope to have enough specialists by then to serve MOH in all fields,” she added.

Minister for Public Health, Housing, and Local Government Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian, who is also the Deputy Premier of Sarawak, and Health Ministry director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah were among those present at the event. — DayakDaily