Sarawak working on a blueprint to fight diseases

Sarawak working on a blueprint to fight diseases
Wednesday March 29, 2006

MIRI: What happens if there is another outbreak of a contagious disease? To the Sarawak government, the answer is a contingency plan.

Towards this end, the state and the health authorities are working on a blueprint that will, among other things, spell out what needs to be done to detect an outbreak.

The contingency blueprint will also give guidelines on how to isolate victims at the early stage, choosing the most effective vaccine to contain the disease, and steps to take to prevent fatalities.

We will also have to be more aggressive in our campaigns on hygiene and cleanliness in Sarawak and create a greater awareness of health issues, said Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan Hong Nam.

Even the Penans living far in the interior are being infected, he said.

Dr Chan, who is the state disaster relief chairman, said contingency plans were needed to help the state deal with outbreaks of contagious diseases that now occur frequently.

This was not the norm in the past.

But now, our society has become more sophisticated. There are more people working, more children, more pre-school centres mushrooming all over the state and bigger groups of people and children mingling together.

The transmission of diseases under present conditions has become more frequent and more rapid.

It affects especially young children aged between eight months and four years, he said.

On the hand, foot and mouth disease, Dr Chan said the number of reported cases totalled 7,028 as of yesterday.

There were 235 new cases in the past 24 hours, but none were reported to be serious.

The number of deaths stood at eight.