Take HFMD seriously, urges MP

Dr Kelvin Yii

KUCHING, August 1: Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii says the increasing number of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) across the country demands greater vigilance and closer cooperation among all stakeholders.

Citing statistics given by the Minister of Health in Parliament, Dr Yii said 39,408 HFMD cases were recorded between Jan 1 and July 29 this year, with Selangor having the highest number of cases at 11,669, followed by Kuala Lumpur (4,552 cases) and Sarawak (4,551 cases).

He said following the recent death of a 17-month-old baby to HFMD in Penang and the death of a two-year-old toddler from Mukah, who is suspected to have been afflicted with the same disease, there was an urgent need to get the public to take precautionary measures.

In a statement, Dr Yii said the disease is endemic and occurs throughout the year in Malaysia. This disease is closely connected to personal and environmental hygiene, especially among children below seven years old in places like nurseries, play schools, kindergartens and public playgrounds.

“Due to the increase of cases of HFMD in Malaysia and even Sarawak, I welcome the initiatives by the Ministry of Health to control the spread of this disease, especially in their campaigns to raise awareness among members of the public, owners and teachers of nurseries, play schools, and kindergartens on effective ways of prevention.”

He suggested the campaign be conducted more intensively in the next three weeks, covering five main aspects: (a) personal hygiene, (b) correct ‘hand-washing’ practices, (c) hygiene of surrounding environment, (d) gate-keeping screening in all nurseries, pre-schools and kindergartens, and (e) disinfection of the different contaminated surfaces.

“On long-term preventive plans, more training should be given to owners and handlers of all educational premises on a yearly basis.

“On top of that, it is also important for parents and members of the public to play their role in maintaining good personal hygiene right from home and also monitor their children for HFMD symptoms,” he said.

Dr Yii encouraged others, including the private sector, to help curb the outbreak by donating sanitisers to schools, for instance. — DayakDaily