INCENTIVE: Move to reduce staff shortage in rural areas next year
KOTA KINABALU 17 September 2012: BEGINNING next year, housemen will also be posted at hospitals in Keningau and Lahad Datu districts, besides the major towns in Sabah.
Sabah Health director Dr Mohd Yusof Ibrahim said this move was aimed at addressing the issue of staff shortage at the hospitals.
"Although the Health Ministry gives an extra RM1,500 incentive to staff who work in rural areas, only a small number of people are willing to serve there.
"If I issue transfer letters to staff members now, I will get back 20 letters rejecting them,"
he said at a forum on the healthcare system, held at Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) here.
He was responding to a health worker's question on the lack of staff in Kinabatangan which would compromise the healthcare system as the locals were solely depending on the medical team there.
He was also concerned over the rising number of non-communicable diseases as the government was spending more money on curing diseases as compared with prevention measures.
Dr Yusof said Sabah would have a one-school-one-clinic facility next year for better healthcare accessibility and to promote disease prevention among schoolchildren.
The proposal had been well received by the ministry and was being undertaken in phases.
"We have about 800 schools in the state, and we will apply the concept at schools with enough land and with a large population."
The forum was chaired by former Human Rights Commission of Malaysia vice-chairman Tan Sri Simon Sipaun.
Other panel members were Malaysia Medical Association Sabah branch chairman Dr Subhagan Chandran, Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society president Datuk Nancy Ho and UMS School of Medicine dean Dr Datu Kamarudin Datu Mudin.
Those who attended the forum also brought up the problem of the long wait to get treatment and lack of beds in government hospitals.
They claimed these problems were associated with the influx of illegal immigrants.
At present, there are more than 900,000 illegal immigrants in the state which has a population of 3.1 million.
Dr Yusof said the hospitals currently imposed higher fees on illegal immigrants who sought treatment.
"In future, hospitals will only admit illegal immigrants covered by insurance.
"Immigration officers may be summoned if they don't have valid identity documents."
By OILIVIA MIWIL