Ministry of health was urged to give special consideration to Sarawak and Sabah for the new enforcement of the regulation announced by the Health Minister Dr Adham Baba.

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Statement by Kelvin Yii:

I urge the Ministry of Health to give special consideration to Sarawak and even Sabah when it comes to enforcement of the regulation announced by the Health Minister Dr Adham Baba that has prohibited people from seeking treatment at medical facilities that are located more than 10km from their homes amid the Covid-19 outbreak as this regulation does not only add unnecessary bureaucracy for patients to get the needed medical attention but it also cause much inconvenience especially for those patients in the rural areas.

While i understand the reasoning behind such regulations especially during a outbreak such as this, but i urge the Minister to take into consideration the local demographics of Sarawak and access of healthcare for rural folks, which consist a huge chunk of the population in Sarawak whom may need to travel more than 10km for access to a public health facility especially hospitals. A district clinic may not provide the necessary medical attention of even supplies to these patients making it a necessity for them to travel further to the hospitals which are normally in the city.

In an event of an outbreak of an infectious disease, patients do not just make “casual trips” to the hospitals due to concerns of catching the virus in a hospital environment, which means that a huge majority if not all such trip are of necessity especially for important followups or treatment such as for cancer patients or even cardiac patients. In Sarawak the main treatment centre for both are in Kuching and people in the Northern regions of Sarawak may need to fly all the way down south for such specialized treatment as well.

Even residents in Kuching itself, the Specialized Heart Centre is in the district of Kota Samarahan, and for patients to travel up there, it may be more than 10km itself. Such regulations may also affect follow ups and even medication refilling for patients with NCDs or other chronic diseases. Pregnant mothers especially in the rural areas seeking for pre-natal followups will also be affected including babies due for scheduled vaccination are also affected by this regulation.

That is why i see no reason to add bureaucracy and inconvenience to the public especially forcing them to crowd around or even register at the Police Station for such travels beyond 10km for medical attention.

I believe proper documentation of hospital/clinic appointments or even proper medicine prescription is sufficient to be shown at each roadblocks or inspection for such special consideration to be given to the patients.

Such trips are often if not all out of necessity. No one will want to take a casual trip to the hospital at such times. That is why i hope the Ministry will give special consideration or exempt Sarawak from this regulation.