Saturday, September 19, 2009

Influenza A(H1N1): Malaysia asked to take 10 measures

KUALA LUMPUR: The World Health Organisation has asked Malaysia to implement 10 measures to improve its prevention and containment of the spread of Influenza A (H1N1).

Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said the measures were presented to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Ra-zak and ministers on Wednesday.

"Actually, we have already succeeded in implementing nine of the measures very effectively. But the one that needs to be handled is the risk communication plan which, unfortunately, is not to our satisfaction," he said.

The recommended measures include improving influenza-like illness surveillance, optimising the use of intensive care unit facilities and isolation wards and sharing knowledge of deaths and sur-veillance with relevant parties.

Although the ministry had put in place all the 10 courses of action, Liow said, they still needed to work hard on the dissemination of information to staff and the public.

"We are in the midst of doing the media campaign to reach out to all concerned.

"Our death toll has reached 76 and many of the deaths could have been averted if the victims had sought early treatment, including going on the anti-viral drug within 48 hours of having influenza-like illness."

He appealed to all Malay-sians, including those celebrating Hari Raya Aidilfitri, to keep in mind the spread of the H1N1 virus.

Meanwhile, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Mohd Ismail Merican was quoted by Bernama as saying 77 new patients with influenza-like illness were admitted to hospitals for treatment yesterday.

However, he said no new H1N1 deaths were confirmed.

He said 137 cases were discharged and that made 821 the number of people with influenza-like illness being treated in 90 hospitals. - NST

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