Saturday, August 29, 2009

WHO finds Malaysians have low understanding and poor knowledge of A (H1N1)

KUALA LUMPUR: A report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) has revealed that Malaysians have low understanding and poor knowledge on the spread of the Influenza A (H1N1).

Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said the WHO report he received on Thursday showed the public did not take H1N1 seriously, leading to an increase in cases.

He said of the four campaigns, that on the wearing of nose and mouth masks, personal hygiene, use of sanitisers and hand cleaning, only the wearing of masks had given the public the most awareness.

"Public awareness on measures to check the spread of H1N1 is still low, despite the many campaigns held from May to Aug.

This includes high-risk groups.

"It seems that public response and awareness is still lukewarm. We cannot afford to be complacent," he told reporters after launching the "Let's Stop H1N1" campaign organised by MCA here on Saturday.

The report was filed by three WHO experts who were here to monitor the pandemic, including publicity campaigns and public response.

Liow said the ministry would continue to hold campaigns to raise public awareness via forums, talks and exhibitions with the support of the mass media, political parties and non-governmental organisations.

However, he was satisfied with the Government's proactive measures to check the spread of the virus.

"WHO knows that we have a sensitive and capable system that can trace and detect A (H1N1) patients fast. We are able to track and treat them early.

"Although the death rate in Malaysia is quite high, it is still within the WHO limit."

Malaysia has registered 71 deaths from H1N1.

He said WHO proposed that more beds be made available at intensive care units (ICU) in hospitals to accommodate high-risk patients.

"WHO's proposal will be implemented in hospitals as the number of H1N1 patients have increased."

Liow urged public transport operators to place sanitisers at terminals and distribute masks to passengers during the Hari Raya festive season to check the spread of the virus.

"The sanitisers will show passengers that the operators have high awareness of the virus," he said.

On public fears of a second wave of the A (H1N1) at year-end, that could claim more lives, Liow said hospitals had adequate supply of Tamiflu, the antiviral drug used to treat patients

*Taken from The Star Online.

For Malaysian, who wants to know about H1N1 from our Malaysian Ministry of Health, click here.

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