Materia Medica Malaysiana

October 27, 2007

Affordable reproductive health services for the poor

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:17 am

NST: KUALA LUMPUR: Better access to affordable reproductive health services for the urban poor is at the top of the list for the new director-general of the National Population and Family Development Board (NPFDB).
Aminah Abdul Rahman said she was also looking at expanding the Kafe@Teen programme to tackle teenage pregnancy, sexual and reproductive health problems faced by youngsters aged 13 to 24.
There are three drop-in centres with Internet access, television and other entertainment provided and a self-service kitchen here and in Penang.
Four more of the clinics with doctors and counsellors will be set up in Kelantan and Johor.
She said at the NPFDB headquarters yesterday that the focus was on the urban poor because the country was becoming more and more urbanised, adding that 60 per cent of the population now lived in cities.
She said NPFDB had one mobile clinic which went to low-cost housing areas and squatter areas, and there were plans to convert six more buses.
“The plan is to take our services to the people who can’t otherwise afford them.
“The mobile clinic provides free reproductive health screening and other services at minimal fees to urban poor adults,” said Aminah, who was appointed last month.
On the subsidised mammogram programme for women aged 40 to 69 from families with an income under RM5,000 launched in May, Aminah said 61 per cent of the 1,045 women screened were Chinese, 31 per cent Malay and eight per cent Indian.
She said this reflected the fact that women in the Chinese community were more aware of the need to screen for breast cancer while many Malay women preferred to seek traditional treatment first, to avoid “losing their breasts”.
Many Malay women only come to be checked when they had end-stage breast cancer, when it was already too late, she said.
Aminah said there were 16 designated private centres for this purpose.
Aminah, who joined the board as a sociologist in 1979, replaced Datuk Fatimah Saad who retired last year.

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