Minister: Health Ministry allows doctors 14-day leave to help in humanitarian missions

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad speaks during the launch of the Medical4Gaza Fund in Puncak Alam February 10, 2019. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad speaks during the launch of the Medical4Gaza Fund in Puncak Alam February 10, 2019. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

KUALA SELANGOR, Feb 10 — The Malaysian Health Ministry (KKM) has given relaxation to government medical doctors, especially surgeons, to take unrecorded leave to become volunteers in any humanitarian mission to countries facing unrest.

Its minister, Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad said this was because the ministry had a policy that allowed the professional groups to go on leave for 14 days to offer their expertise to the group needing such services.

“In principle, we have a policy allowing them to take unrecorded leave for such purposes and in fact it had become among our standard operational procedures (SOP).

“However, they must operate through non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that are registered and recognised by the government,” he told reporters after launching the Medical4Gaza Fund organised by the Humanitarian Care Malaysia (MyCARE) and the Econsave Cash and Carry Supermarket, here today.

Commenting on the medical requirement of the people in Gaza, Palestine, Dzulkefly said that so far, almost 6,000 of the people in the troubled country were waiting for various surgical procedures and the government strongly encouraged more NGOs to come forward to channel aid to these groups.

He added that various types of the latest medical equipment were needed by the Palestinians and the ministry was prepared to discuss with any NGOs willing to channel such aid.

In addition, Dzulkefly said the ministry was also targeting to create suitable training to doctors and surgeons for the long term so that they could fulfil the demand for medical services in troubled countries,

Meanwhile, when asked on government efforts to ensure that the medical aid sent from Malaysia reached the people in the troubled country, he said a diplomatic approach with the Palestine neighbouring countries must be implemented to achieve the purpose.

“Through the diplomatic agenda (between Malaysia and Egypt), we hope to forge an understanding (with Egypt) to support the humanitarian agenda together, at the very least to allow our NGOs to pass through Rafah to send the medicines and so on to the Palestinians,” he said.

Earlier, at the launching ceremony, the Econsave supermarket contributed RM1.2 million to the fund which targeted to collect a total of RM3 million at the end of next year.

Meanwhile, MyCARE chief executive officer Kamarul Zaman Shaharul Anwar said besides the mission to collect funds to pay for the cost of meeting the medical requirements of the Palestinians, the group would also send a team of medical expert volunteers to the location in stages.

“Because of the pressing need for medical aid, we strongly urge the public to contribute to the fund and if the target is achieved before the targeted date, we will send the aid immediately as they are greatly needed,’ he said.

Concerned members of the public can assist the people of the troubled nation by channelling their contributions to Humanitarian Care Malaysia Berhad via the Maybank account 551575004299; CIMB Islamic Bank account 8602135592 or Bank Islam account 12092010034904. — Bernama

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