TB in Penang: Exco urges restriction on infected medical tourists
Last Update: 11/09/2019
GEORGE TOWN, Sept 11 -- Private hospitals and medical centres need to restrict the admission of foreign tuberculosis (TB) patients who came in as medical tourists to Penang, the State Health, Agriculture, Agro-Based Industries and Rural Development Committee chairman Dr Afif Bahardin said today.
He said one of the concerns that the state government was facing now was the spread of TB suspected of being carried by patients from other countries who were seeking treatment here under medical tourism to the locals.
"All hospitals who knew that they have (foreign) TB patients had to notify the Penang Health Department. It is best to refer them (patients) back to their home country, with all the precautionary measures... Make sure they don’t spread the disease (TB) to the locals.
“Stop receiving medical tourists (with TB), we need help from private hospitals to practice screening and reject (foreign) patients if they knew before hand they will receive TB patients," he told a press conference here.
Commenting on news reports on the death of a 19-year-old student, Carmen Yee which was allegedly due to TB here last August, he said TB cases were not only increasing in Penang but also throughout the country.
On another note, Dr Afif hoped some fund would be allocated for palliative care in next year's budget as disease pattern would change as the country developed further and more of its citizens would have no financial capability to bear the cost of such care.
“The government needs to develop these palliative care immediately. What is more crucial in order to develop these care is funding. There is support from government (to private palliative care organisations) but we need something concrete and constructive in order for us to give more holistic care," he said.
He made these remarks after announcing that the Penang Hospice Society, one of the voluntary palliative centres in the state, would be hosting a 'Hospice Day and Charity Food and Fun Fair 2019” on Sept 22 at its premise at Jalan Air Itam here from 10.00am to 2.00pm.
According the society's vice chairman, Datuk Seri T Devaraj, they hoped to raise RM100,000 from the event which would then be used to run their activities that involved providing medical care at homes of people with advanced life limiting diseases in the state.
"We provide volunteer doctors and nurses in our activities and bear the expenses for the medications and essentials for the people receiving the treatment. We hope the Health Ministry could also chip in to assist us,” he added.