More TB screenings at entry points
Published on: Thursday, November 15, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: The State Government is looking into setting up screening centres at all immigration entry points in the state to prevent the spread of diseases especially tuberculosis (TB) by immigrants.Health and People's Wellbeing minister Datuk Stephen Wong (pic) welcomed the suggestion by Karanaan assemblyman Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun to set up screening centres at entry points during question time at the State Assembly on Wednesday, saying it would be a good measure to prevent the spread of diseases by immigrants to locals.

He said his ministry will be discussing the matter with all the relevant departments on how the centres can be set up.

Wong said up to 30 per cent of TB patients in the state between 2013 and 2016 were immigrants, with the highest percentage of cases was recorded in several east coast districts.

He said Kinabatangan recorded the highest with 68 per cent of TB cases among immigrants, followed by Kunak (53 per cent), Lahad datu (50 per cent) and Semporna (47 per cent). Other districts he said recorded less than 40 per cent.

"TB remains a major health problem in the state with a total of 5,106 cases were reported last year.

"Up to October this year, 3,993 patients were recorded," he said.

He also said all figures have shown an increase of 28.7 per cent of cases between 2016 and 2017.

He said although the majority of TB patients were locals, his ministry has been looking seriously into cases among immigrants for they can pose a threat to the local public health.

He said the State Health Department has and will continue to take measures to control the spread of TB.

"As of September this year, 107, 584 foreign workers who came to the state have been screened for contagious diseases including TB," Wong said, adding that those found to be unhealthy must be sent back to their respective countries.

But he noted that the process of sending the unhealthy ones back to their home countries had not been done properly.

He said they risk spreading diseases to the local community. - Leonard Alaza

Photo Source: Bernama


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