Materia Medica Malaysiana

October 28, 2007

Flying docs will be back in action in Sarawak

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 10:39 am

Star: MIRI: Sarawak government-owned aviation company Hornbill Skyways has drawn up a blueprint to urgently revive the flying doctor service for the sake of the thousands of rural folks still living in remote regions of Sarawak.
The airline, wholly-owned by the state economic development corporation and related agencies, has already forwarded the plan to the Federal Government and Health Ministry, said Hornbill Skyways chief executive officer Aidan Wing.
The decision now lies with the federal authorities in Kuala Lumpur, he told The Star yesterday.
“We have recently submitted fresh proposals to the Government and the ministry on how we want to revive the flying doctor service in Sarawak.
“The flying doctor is a very important service that plays a vital role in the daily lives of the rural folks.
“We (Hornbill Skyways) are keen to revive it. It is up to the federal authorities to consider the new proposals we have tabled. We hope for an answer very soon,” he said yesterday.
The flying doctor service enables government doctors to fly by helicopters into riverine settlements and longhouses located in dense forests and highlands to provide medical aid and health checks for natives still living in these isolated communes.
The service had been stopped for more than 10 months because of some administrative and technical woes faced by Hornbill and the ministry.
Hornbill has for years been the aviation company contracted by the ministry to handle this vital service.
Wing declined to reveal further details of the new proposals his company had submitted to revive the service, saying that the details would only be announced if the federal authorities gave their approval.
Two days ago, state assemblyman for Ba’Kelalan, Nelson Balang Rining, had highlighted the plight of 10,000 folks from 30 settlements in the highlands of northern Sarawak who needed the flying doctor services to be resumed immediately.
These folks are running out of medical supplies and have not received any health checks and other medical aid since the services were stopped.
Wing urged assemblymen whose constituents were affected to bring up the matter at the state assembly.

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