Materia Medica Malaysiana

May 4, 2007

Full disclosure on any health crisis

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:28 am

Star: KUALA LUMPUR: The Government has pledged to give “prompt, frank and full information” to the people when dealing with any health crisis in the country.
“We will not block information from public knowledge or suppress it. We will disclose all information to prevent rumours and confusion.
“We do not want to destroy the people’s confidence in us,” said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
The Deputy Prime Minister said quick response was crucial to contain outbreaks and save lives.
“During a crisis, it is imperative to tell the truth and tell it fast. When you do that, rumours can be managed and nerves can be calmed,” he said in his speech at the opening of the International Conference on the Management of Information Pertaining to Health Crisis.
Najib pointed out that intense emotions flowed from a lack of knowledge and understanding of the real situation.
This, he said, could lead to outlandish claims being made, resulting in chaos and panic among the people as they might find it difficult to distinguish between the real and rumoured situation.
He said that in a health crisis situation, it would not serve the interest of the nation to hide information.
Najib said that, henceforth, the Cabinet had decided that whenever there was a health crisis here, an articulate and knowledgeable spokesman would be designated to give out quick and accurate information to the media.
The spokesman, he said, would probably be someone “very high up” in the Health Ministry.
He noted that in today’s borderless world, there was the emergence of new viruses and contagious diseases.
Since the World Health Organisation issued a global alert on SARS in March 2003, he said South-East Asia was the worst affected with 10.3% of the deaths (27 deaths) coming from the region.

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