SHAH ALAM, August 14 – Selangor Mentri Besar Amirudin Shari has pledged to prioritise health care in the state’s upcoming 2020 Budget.
He said the state government is committed to fighting the increase of various diseases, such as tuberculosis (TB), and might consider a few initiatives to be included in the Budget.
“We will try to figure out what initiatives or approaches can be taken, but I also want to emphasise that when it comes to health issues, it is not just about action but more importantly, the awareness among the community.
“TB requires six months of treatment. If patients do not have the awareness and commitment to complete the treatment, the effects will have to be borne by many people. It can even lead to death,” he told reporters after a 2020 Budget dialogue session here yesterday.
Amirudin was responding to a presentation made by Selangor state deputy health director Dr B. Venugopalan, who laid out alarming data about the increase of TB cases in Selangor.
Selangor, Malaysia’s most developed state, recorded 5,071 cases in 2018, making it the state with the highest number of TB cases in Malaysia. According to the World Health Organization, TB, which is a contagious disease that mainly affects the lungs, is one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide.
“Some of the causes that contribute to the increase in TB cases are late diagnosis, non-completion of treatment and poor quality of ventilation in residential or workplace.
“We cannot deny the fact that low-income people are often easily infected because of two reasons — the cost of treatment and they cannot afford to have homes with proper ventilation that is needed for TB patients,” said Venugopalan.
Some of the proposals suggested during the two-hour dialogue were incentives for patients to complete their treatment and the establishment of a sanatorium as a long-term precautionary measure.