Friday, August 28, 2009

Private Medical Practitioners Pledge Full Support To Combat H1N1

PUTRAJAYA, Aug 27 (Bernama) -- Private medical practitioners have made a promise to the government to fully support the battle against the Influenza A (H1N1) pandemic after a dialogue session with Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai here on Thursday.

After the meeting held at the Ministry here, Liow stated that the government would also seek to help private medical practitioners to make the H1N1 anti viral drug such as Tamiflu more affordable to the general public by seeking the cooperation of suppliers to lower its cost.

"The private medical practitioners have requested low cost treatment, low cost for tamiflu and antiviral drugs. We have to intervene in the market. The Health Ministry will call up the drug suppliers to ask them to help reduce costs.

"I think it's a fair request because we have to work hand-in-hand to fight this pandemic. We can't do it alone, we need everyone's help. They (private medical practitioners) understand their role," clarified Liow.

He also added that currently there was still not enough anti-viral drugs in the market and the price for the medication was around RM140 to RM160.

The Ministry has also given clear guidelines including a flow-chart to private medical practitioners regarding the methods of treating those suspected to have Influenza Like Illnesses (ILI) or are confirmed H1N1 cases.

The clinics have also been asked to immediately refer those with morbid or severe cases to government or private hospitals.

"I also want to emphasise that the WHO (World Health Organisation) team down in Malaysia has made a thorough investigation and have concurred with our findings that our death surveillance system is sensitive and working well.

"We continue to be vigilant to handle the situation. That's why we engage all the doctors, including government and private to develop better, faster treatment and ensure antiviral drugs are available at all level and patients won't be pushed around all over the place," explained Liow.

He further stated that out of the 71 deaths that had occured, 80 per cent of them was a result of co-morbid and high risk groups whereas the rest happened due to late treatment.

During the dialogue the private medical practitioners were represented by the Malaysian Medical Association, Private Hospital Associations, Federation of Private Medical Practitioners and Primary Care Doctors Association, Malaysia. -- BERNAMA

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