Materia Medica Malaysiana

November 13, 2008

Not enough health officers on the ground

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 6:02 pm

Star: KUALA LUMPUR: Health Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai wants public health officers to be more active in efforts to curb communicable and non-communicable diseases in the country.
He said health officers could not be complacent when it comes to educating the public on diseases like dengue and chikungunya.
“I want to see more effective action. We haven’t got enough of our people working on the ground,” he said Thursday at the 5th Public Health Conference organised by the Ministry and the Malaysian Public Health Physicians Association.
He said besides holding more awareness and education talks, both the public and health officers need to adopt a paradigm shift to tackle public health issues.
“The public need to change their lifestyle and take these diseases seriously and handle it together with the public health officers,” he said.
He said despite knowing the dangers of communicative diseases such as dengue and chikungunya and non-communicable diseases such as heart diseases and diabetes, he felt that both public health workers and the public needed to take them more seriously.
“I’m saying this knowing it is not good enough. They must turn this into action.
“Behavioural change is important,” he said.
When asked whether tougher laws were needed to help the public realise the importance of public health, Liow said stringent enforcement was in place but that punitive laws would not help as much as behahavioural change.
“Behaviour change is more effective than punitive laws and actions. It is not good enough on its own. We need the cooperation of the public,” he said.
Liow said the fact that there were 38,000 dengue cases and 83 deaths from that figure this year meant that more stringent action by public health officers and the community were sorely needed.
”I don’t want to see communicable diseases going out of control. We cannot accept it as part and parcel of our country,” he said.

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