6 September 2019
Press statement by MCA Deputy President Dato Dr. Mah Hang Soon
Two deaths from TB, will the Health Ministry act?
Frustration doesn’t even begin to describe how it feels to bear witness to the Health Ministry’s passiveness in tackling epidemics within our country. Two students were already confirmed to have died from tuberculosis (TB) (China Press ,5 Sept 19), and there were talks that another two had also died coughing up blood. How much longer does the Health Ministry need before informing people about a rising prevalence of TB, alerting them to the need for infection prevention?
TB is far from an incurable disease. With the right medical care, most patients have a very good chance at full recovery. The problem lies with the disease being infectious. TB is potentially infectious and can even cause fatalities especially when it involves the multi-drug resistant strain.
Currently, there have been 2 recorded cases of TB deaths in Penang, the deceased being schooling youngsters. The passing of 19-year old Carmen Yee and a 21-year old student from University Malaysia Perlis, causes great grief and anguish.
According to reports, the hospital misdiagnosed one of the deceased’s condition as a mosquito-related disease. This shows the ignorance of both the hospital and the Health Ministry regarding the dangers from the spread of TB, where symptoms are simply dismissed as Dengue without a second thought of whether it could be something more serious; this attitude could very well cause delays in getting the patient the proper treatment, adding to the patient’s suffering and even the risk of death.
We urge the Health Ministry to hereby declare the national statistics related to TB cases, to track down the source of contagion, and for all government hospitals and clinics to be at highest alert and taking necessary precautionary steps. Only through an open, transparent and professional approach, can we prevent any more lives lost to TB. We hope that the Health Ministry will respect and cherish the sanctity of each and every life.
Besides that, I hope that the Health Ministry had learnt its lessons from the case of infectious disease amongst the Bateq Orang Asli in Kuala Koh, Kelantan. At that time, news of the mysterious disease only came to the attention of the Health Ministry after 1 month. To date, the deaths of the 15 Orang Asli, remains shrouded in mystery.
The previous administration left behind a complete vaccination scheme for the Health Ministry; thus, we urge the Pakatan Harapan government to use them wisely, and rightly attend to the Rakyat’s needs.
Dato’ Dr. Mah Hang Soon
MCA Deputy President