Juggling Act To Offer Specialist Care

KUALA LUMPUR: Lifestyle changes and an ageing population translate into a demand for specialist healthcare.

Deputy Health Minister Datuk Rosnah Rashid Abdul Rashid Shirlin told the New Straits Times recently that the country's secondary and tertiary medical services needed to be expanded and strengthened, especially in the fields of radiotherapy, oncology, cardiothoracic surgery, neurosurgery and geriatric care.

"The escalation of outbreak infections, such as adenovirus, leptospirosis, dengue, severe acute respiratory syndrome, Influenza A (H1N1) and Nipah virus also require disease outbreak specialists, of which there are currently only seven in the Health Ministry."

On top of that, there was a growing need for specialists who provided chronic care and palliative care (especially for cancer and stroke victims) as well as medical rehabilitation specialists, medical emergency specialists and pre-hospital care specialists for victims of accidents.

She said at present, there were enough specialist services at government hospitals in all states, which was made possible by bringing in specialists from other government hospitals and private hospitals when the need arose.

On a separate issue, Rosnah said 25 per cent of unmarried pregnant teens had come to government clinics and hospitals to seek antenatal services and to give birth.

The Health Ministry recorded some 6,000 adolescents between the ages of 10 to 19 seeking antenatal services from July to December last year, adding that this was proof that not all pregnant unmarried women resorted to baby dumping.

"Due to the increasing reports of baby dumping, we have advised medical staff to be welcoming and to not be judgmental when attending to unmarried women and girls.

"Our position is not to judge but to provide the best care to patients regardless of the circumstances."

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