Thursday, 15 April 2010

How PTI overloading our health system.

Sabah- Land of Milk and honey where the streets are lined with gold and opportunities are endless.
Scenario 1:
Severely pregnant lady from neighboring country (eg. Philippines or Indonesia) risks her life and that of her soon to be born baby by walking many miles or taking hours of boat rides to reach Sabah’s porous shores just so the baby can be born in Sabah and get a birth certificate.
Some make it but for the unlucky few, birth complications occur and despite the efforts of our doctors sometimes we lose the battle and mother and/or baby are lost. This increases our state’s maternal and infant mortality rates. More reports to write and more meetings, but ultimately nothing is solved. Anyone who has ever worked especially in Semporna or Tawau would agree with me.

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Scenario 2:
Despite almost free and widespread availability of “klinik Kesihatans” (health clinics), PTIs aka Pendatang Tanpa izins (Illegal Immigrants) would refuse to be registered and get antenatal care. They will try home delivery and like a time-bomb birth complications like post natal bleeding can occur.
Anyone who has ever had the misfortune of trying to save the life of  a mother with post natal hemorrhage would attest that any delay in seeking treatment can cause death to mother and/or baby. This can be avoided with hospital delivery. Of course I agree that some of our local mothers still try home delivery but that is another long write-up. What I am writing here are PTIs who risk home delivery where hospital delivery are readily available just to save money and when birth complications occur they rush to the hospital hoping for miracles. Doctors are humans too and when treatment is delayed so much that all blood has leaked out of the mother (“paper-white”) then even The Almighty would be hard-pressed to save her.
Scenario 3:
Anyone working in the public health department can tell you where there are large clusters of this PTIs. Even in our State capital large colonies of PTIs can be found. They are hidden behind bushes and hardly seen from the road but look closely in the morning and you will see the PTIs coming out in droves and going back into the bushes at night. This are lawless places where even the police dare not go except in huge numbers and carrying big guns.
Into such dangerous areas and unescorted, our overworked public health workers have to go into to visit mothers and babys. Who guarantees their safety?  We see mothers as young as 13 giving birth and with a high fertility rate and refusal to use family planning they will have many,many offsprings. Breeding like rabbits is one label many are giving them. Their children are living in unhygienic conditions and are NOT vaccinated, leading to the increase in our disease rates and the re-emergence of  many diseases that should have been eradicated by vaccination.
Said children being uneducated are also a social problem as anyone who has ever had their car’s scratched or worse on refusal to have our cars washed by them.
The above 3 scenarios are real-life complaints that have been conveyed to me personally and that I can attest to personally.
What I am trying to show is that PTIs are a burden to our already overloaded health system.
They contribute to increases in Maternal, Infant and Disease incident rates such that Sabah has often the dubious honor of holding top positions in the country.
PTIs hold honor of place as utilizing our emergency and intensive care units being brought when they are so serious and brought in late. Many times our locals find themselves deprived of life saving intensive care eg ventilator machines which on investigation is occupied by PTIs. I remember an incident in Beluran where we had to manually bag a 6 month old toddler with Pneumonia for more than 30 hours just because life saving ventilators were not available in HDOK, Sandakan.  And yes said limited ventilators were occupied by PTIs.
With this emergency and intensive care units used, of course the cost of treating the PTIs are very high. And do you think they are able to pay? PTIs owe so much to our hospitals that said costs had to be written off.
What is galling to especially the medical staff is how proudly the PTI will flash their Mycards, so we have to register them as Sabahans. But we know just by one look that the Mycards are false and they are PTIs.
Put a stop to the “project IC” and its effects, where ICs are issued to prop up certain governments. If you give IC or Mycards to PTIs for selfish gains, ultimately everyone loses in the long term.
The Police, JPN, Health department and  government authorities know all about them but little is done. Except maybe during times when Ops occurs and said politicos pat themselves and each other for doing something.
When the local building industries stop and coffee shops owners serve you personally, then you know ops are ongoing even before you read the newspapers.
What we need is a strict and concerted effort to tackle this problem not a luke-warm response (hangat-hangat tahi ayam). If we do not do something then we are going to face more and larger problems in the future. The PTI respective country esp. the Phillipines are washing their hands as the PTIs’ children are born in sabah, so not their problem and this “stateless children” are sadly without recourse and easily exploited.
Some say our economy especially the building industry will suffer but our economy are already suffering because of them in terms of healthcare and social costs. Bring back the hundreds of thousand jobless Sabahans in west Malaysia to work here.
I say Save Sabah before we are overtaken by PTIs and find ourselves in the minority.
-Dr Felix Chong Kat Fah, Sabah DAP Medical & Health Advisory Bureau-