Materia Medica Malaysiana

January 31, 2007

Sarawak To Set Up Mobile Eye Clinics

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:28 am

KUCHING, Jan 30 (Bernama) — Sarawak is looking into the setting up of mobile eye clinics in collaboration with the Health Ministry and non governmental organisations to enable better access to public health care, especially in the remote and rural areas, Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud said Tuesday.
He said the State Health Department could consider utilising boats for such mobile units besides complementing the Flying Doctor Service as people in the rural areas, scattered over 5,000 settlements state-wide, had to travel great distances for basic eye screening and treatment.
“Based on the ministry’s national eye survey, which shows that the population in Sarawak has the country’s highest blindness prevalence of 0.33 per cent compared to the national level of 0.29 per cent, the need to create greater public awareness on its prevention and eradication through smart partnerships is acutely felt,” he said the Orbis International Flying Eye Hospital at the Kuching International Airport here.
While 93 per cent of the people living in the peninsular had basic health care services within five km, Sarawak’s eye care was particularly under resource with only one ophthalmologist or eye specialist for every 140,000 people in the state at present.
Later, Taib told a news conference that the state government was also looking into the possibility of setting up an eye bank here through concerted efforts with the ministry at the federal level.
He also said the government was also receptive to future smart partnerships with the Tun Hussein Onn National Eye Hospital in establishing a satellite hospital here to act as the hub for the Sarawak and Sabah region.
Meanwhile Orbis International Flying Eye Doctor Service Director Drew Boshell said the world’s only flying eye hospital, a converted DC-10 aircraft with state-of-the-art medical and academic facilities, was conducting its two-week programme for the first time here in East Malaysia from yesterday.
During the programme, about 70 free eye surgeries would be carried out with the participation of 60 ophthalmologists from Sarawak and other South East Asean countries besides 50 local nurses and local medical assistants, he said.
He said the non profit-making organisation, which would be flying to its next destination in Subic of the Philippines, had treated one million patients worldwide and conducted treatment and training programmes for over 90,000 eye care professional in 85 countries since 1982.
This is its fourth programme in Malaysia in efforts to achieve the World Health Organisation Vision 2020 goal of eliminating unnecessary blindness by 2020, he said.

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