Thursday, June 11, 2009

Losing the war against dengue

“We declared war against dengue in February. It looks like we are losing.”

Director-general of Health Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican painted this grim picture when he revealed that 57 people had died of dengue between January and June 6 and warned that more would die from the disease.

Dr Ismail did not mince his words, blaming doctors in private clinics and hospitals for the high death toll.

He said the majority of those who died could have been saved if doctors had known what to do.

Dr Ismail said 35 of those who died had sought treatment at private clinics or hospitals early, but doctors there did not carry out proper tests or follow-ups, leading to their deaths.

“In fact, 30 per cent of those who died only came to the government hospitals when they became very ill.”
Dr Ismail warned that action would be taken against private doctors, clinics and hospitals if they did not report suspected dengue cases.

He said of the 22,426 cases reported, only nine per cent were notified by private practitioners.

Dr Ismail said without notification, health authorities could not take action, such as fogging, to prevent more dengue cases.

He told a meeting of state health directors, representatives from relevant

agencies and bodies, the Malaysian Medical Association and Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia yesterday that everyone must do their part to ensure the disease was defeated.

The meeting also discussed ways to get the community involved in the fight against dengue