Dzulkefly: Updates on Malaysia’s influenza outbreak will only come from Health Ministry

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad speaks during a press conference in Putrajaya, November 8, 2019. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad speaks during a press conference in Putrajaya, November 8, 2019. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

PUTRAJAYA, Jan 19 — The Ministry of Health (MoH) is the ministry responsible for coordinating the data and providing updates on the influenza outbreak in the country.

Health Minister Datuk Dzulkefly Ahmad said the ministry’s director-general, Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah would coordinate all the data received from the states before issuing an official statement.

“We (Health Ministry) are the custodian of health. The ministry does not deny any quarters from collaborating with us to control the influenza outbreak, but to have statements (on the outbreak) issued at various levels can cause confusion and panic among the public,” he told reporters after opening the Antibiotic Fun Run 2020 at the Malaysian Agro Exposition Serdang (MAEPS) near here today.

Dzulkefly said this when asked on a report quoting Terengganu Local Government, Housing, Health and Environment Committee chairman Dr Alias Razak as saying that he was disappointed with the ministry’s directive in not allowing state authorities to issue statements on influenza.

On the outbreak of influenza in schools, Dzulkefly said teachers should promote good hygiene practice among their students.

The most important way to reduce the spread of infections is hand washing - always wash regularly with soap and water, he added.

He said the ministry would issue a statement on precautions to be taken to prevent infections, especially for those travelling during the “balik kampung” exodus for the Chinese New Year celebration next week.

On the increase in the price of influenza vaccine, Dzulkefly said the price, which is not controlled by the ministry, is between RM35 and RM100.

“My request to healthcare providers is  to make it (vaccine price) affordable.  Do not overcharge,” he added.

Asked about on a report about two doctors at Sibu Hospital whose contracts were not renewed without any reason given by the ministry, Dzulkefly said the matter would be investigated.

“It is unfortunate this has happened. I will immediately investigate the matter and get to the bottom of it. What more when we are in need of medical officers with such talent and credibility,” he added. — Bernama

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