More Have To Be Done To Resolve Lack Of Doctors In Sarawak

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Press Statement by YB Kelvin Yii:

I welcome the recent announcement by MoH on the 150 new permanent posting offered to UD41 Medical Officers that has completed their Housemanship, and will be serving their compulsory service and placement in Sarawak.

Past few days, i have been receiving personal messages from multiple medical officers expressing their joy with their permanent appointments. I share their joy as well on the good news.

Out of the 150 permanent placements, 66 or 44% are Sarawakians, but this also means that all Sarawakians in the 2017 Cohort( Lantikan Bilangan 2 Tahun 2017) that has successfully fulfilled the necessary has been given permanent appointments.

This is overdue good news and something that i have been fighting for especially to fulfill the dire lack of doctors and healthcare workers in the State, especially in the rural areas. This includes for Sarawakians to be prioritised for permanent postings within Sarawak to address the lack on a more long-term basis especially in rural areas.

Currently, about 45% of our rural clinics do not have doctors, 39% of the clinics kesihatan do not have pharmacists and all these are in the rural area. 152 out of 216 (70.7%) clinics do not have perhkidmatan makmal and 192 our of 216 community clinic do not have x-ray services.

Sarawak has only 7.1% of all the doctors in the country, 8.4% of doctors in public sector (nationwide) and only 3.4% of doctors in the private sector. Sarawak only has 6.5% of all specialists nationwide.

The doctor to population ratio for Sarawak is 1:892 in comparison to Klang Valley of 1:150. I we look at the microlevel, there is unequal distribution itself, Kuching Division has a ratio of 1:604 where as Kapit is 1:1721 and Mukah is 1:2,038.

That is why it is important that all these new 150 permanent postings are properly distributed to where the needs are especially in the rural areas as they also deserve access to quality healthcare. There should not be an over-crowding of them just in the cities.

The government should also look at ways to incentivise them to serve longer in the rural areas.

More importantly, this should be the first steps and not the only step for more contract healthcare workers issues to be solved and resolved, including here in Sarawak.

There are more all around the country, including here in Sarawak that are still on temporary contracts and only want a fairer deal for their sacrifice and contributions to the nation especially during the pandemic.

The Ministry must also address the core issue which is transparency in the selection process itself to remove any perception of bias, favoritism or subjectivity. Greater certainty and clarity is important so that young doctors know what to aim for and strive for to receive a permanent appointment.

To all those 150 that have received their permanent postings, i wish you all the best and i celebrate with you. Serve with all your heart and remember the oath that was taken.

“Into whatsoever houses I enter, I will enter to help the sick, and I will abstain from all intentional wrong-doing and harm…”

Kelvin Yii Lee Wuen
MP Bandar Kuching