Materia Medica Malaysiana

April 29, 2007

TB, brought in by foreigners, a big threat again for Malaysians

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 10:15 am

Star: KUALA LUMPUR: Tuberculosis or TB is a prominent disease among foreign workers, making it a big threat again for Malaysians.
Foreign Workers Medical Examination Monitoring Agency (Fomema) chief executive officer Dr Mohamed Ali Abu Bakar said many of the 1.3 million foreign workers who underwent health screenings by the agency last year were found to have TB.
“We’ve received various reports of foreign maids, for example, who passed TB on to the children of their employers.
“This alone gives us reason to regularly monitor and examine foreign workers as there is also the risk of foreign workers carrying other diseases such as Hepatitis B and C, as well as HIV.
“With more workers from Myanmar, China, Vietnam, India and Indonesia coming into the country each year, we are working closely with the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) to identify and solve potential problems,” said Dr Mohamed Ali.
He declined, however, to provide statistics of foreigners in the country suffering from TB, stressing that it was the Health Ministry’s prerogative to disclose the figures.
Since 2005, foreign workers have been required to undergo three health screenings during their stay in Malaysia – in the first month, after one year and during the second year.
MMA private practitioners chairman Datuk Dr N.K.S. Tharmaseelan voiced concern that three screenings were not enough.
“Many diseases lay dormant in the carrier until triggered by some external factor. This is especially true for TB, which is why foreign workers must regularly have checks,” he said after chairing the Second National Working Committee of Private Practitioners section meeting yesterday.

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