Rakyat above all else

Health care is both a medical and social issue which is so vital to ensure that we have a healthy population that can actively contribute to the country’s development in clear and tangible ways. Ultimately, the higher the level of health care, the more competitive would be our human resources internationally.

Sadly, the state of health care in our country merits more careful attention and commitment. It was with great disappointment that I read about the problems plaguing the RM482 million Shah Alam Hospital HERE and also about the Kota Kinabalu General Hospital HERE and HERE. At the end of the day,the we have to ask ourselves – does it seem that the rakyat’s needs have been overshadowed by other factors?

It was only last week that I discovered that Kota Kinabalu does not have a proper general hospital. The Queen Elizabeth Hospital there was first built in 1957. Then, it had 343 beds that catered to the needs for a small population of 30,000 people. However, in November 2008, the twin tower blocks of the hospital were closed. Even at that time, it had only 589 beds for the 1/2 million people of Kota Kinabalu. The QEH home page here speaks volumes. From various websites and chats with doctors, I discovered to my horror that patients to go to outlying district hospitals as far as Beaufort, Kuala Penyu and Tuaran because of the problems created by the closure. Ironically, cases from district hospitals were previously sent to to Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Is this progress for the rakyat?

From my conversations with various doctors, I discovered that it is not only patients who have been suffering. Doctors and staff in KK have to suffer great inconvenience shuttling here and there the various buildings (some at their own expense) especially when supplies have run out. In such a scenario, have we seen any practical and coherent plan to resolve such problems not only in KK but also in other parts of Malaysia? Instead, we see many arguing over the feasibility of private hospitals. I am sure that the people concerned knew about the closure in advance and yet had does not seem to have put any contingency plan into action if any. My friends in the medical fraternity are very saddened because the needs are there and not been met. People are dying while other sick people and their families are made to endure further pain and suffering, and probably avoidable deaths.