KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 15 – Semporna MP Shafie Apdal highlighted yesterday that there is only one cardiologist in the whole of Sabah – in Queen Elizabeth Hospital (HQE) in Kota Kinabalu.
Shafie, who is also Warisan president, noted that Sabah’s doctor to population ratio is 1:1,000. According to the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) Health Facts 2022, the nationwide ratio was 1:420 (including the private sector) in 2021.
“If someone has heart disease from Pensiangan, Tenom, Keningau, Tawau, or Semporna, they have to fly to Kota Kinabalu,” Shafie said during his debate yesterday in Parliament on the 12th Malaysia Plan Mid-Term Review.
“If they can’t fly because it’s expensive, then they’ll have to travel by road, but even the roads are broken.”
Ischaemic heart disease was the second highest cause of death in Malaysia last year at 13.7 per cent of deaths, after Covid-19 at 19.8 per cent, according to the Department of Statistics Malaysia.
Shafie also complained about the lack of a kitchen in Queen Elizabeth Hospital I with 700 beds, forcing the public hospital to source for food supplies from Queen Elizabeth Hospital II.
“By the time the food arrives in the hospital, it’s cold.”
The Semporna MP urged the government to upgrade Universiti Malaysia Sabah’s (UMS) medical faculty to produce 400 or 500 Sabahan doctors for the state.
“In the peninsula, there are so many klinik desa and doctors. Even the hospitals are sufficient. But in the regions of Sabah and Sarawak, it’s very worrying.”
Shafie also called for Malaysia to produce its own medicines and raw materials for pharmaceutical products to reduce reliance on imports.