Kelantan to use religious teacher, headman in vaccine awareness drive among Orang Asli

Medical personnel conduct health checks on members of the Batek tribe at the Kuala Koh Orang Asli settlement in Gua Musang June 11, 2019. — Bernama pic
Medical personnel conduct health checks on members of the Batek tribe at the Kuala Koh Orang Asli settlement in Gua Musang June 11, 2019. — Bernama pic

KOTA BARU, June 24 — The Kelantan government will promote the importance of measles vaccination among the Orang Asli community in Kampung Kuala Koh, Gua Musang through the latter’s religious teacher and penghulu or headman.

Deputy Menteri Besar Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah said from information obtained, the spread of measles among Orang Asli of the Batek tribe in Gua Musang was due to reluctance of the residents to be vaccinated.

“Most of them refused to be vaccinated and those who accepted the vaccine did not follow the immunisation schedule,” he told reporters after the launch of the International Young Muslimah Forum (AL-YOUM) here today.

He said the government years earlier had through the Kelantan Islamic Religious and Malay Customs Council and the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) appointed a penghulu and a religious teacher from among the Orang Asli.

“We hope they can help us to advise and instil awareness in the residents on the importance of receiving vaccination to prevent a similar outbreak in future,” he said.

According to media reports, only 61.5 per cent of the tribe went for the first dose of the Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccination and only 30 per cent for the second dose.

Meanwhile, Mohd Amar said the state government was ready to provide any form of assistance to the community.

“We will help in any way required although to date we have not received any request from any quarters.

“But measles is an issue specific to the health ministry and department and we can only hope the issue will not prevail and affect more people,” he said. — Bernama