Wednesday, August 12, 2009

high child mortality rate to be reduced : Health Minister

KOTA KINABALU: Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai hopes that the renaming of Hospital Likas to Hospital Wanita dan Kanak-Kanak Sabah will help his ministry in enhancing the health of women and children as well as bringing down the high child mortality rate of 10.8 per 1,000 deliveries in Sabah to 6.5 per 1,000 deliveries.

"I was made to understand that every year, there are about 40,000 births in Sabah. With the existence of this specialist hospital for women and children, this can improve their health," Liow said.

He said that the mother and child's mortality rates in Sabah are still considered high and he hoped that the rates can be reduced.

"Now our mother mortality rate in the country is about 30 per 100,000 deliveries and the child mortality rate is about six per 1,000 deliveries based on the statistics in 2008,” he said.

"I am of the view that these mortality rates among mothers and children could be reduced with the availability of excellent health services in the country," he added.

Liow said that the ministry has already achieved its target for the whole nation but for Sabah, there is still a need for improvement in terms of reducing the mother and child's mortality rates.

“This is the reason why Sabah needs this hospital to train more specialists and doctors and also to give emphasis on these woman and child care,” he said.

Liow said the health of mothers and children in the country has improved a lot.

"I think back to 1970s, our mother mortality rate was very high which was about 300 per 100,000 deliveries. Now we have managed to reduce to 30. It's a lot of reduction," he said.

Asked whether similar hospital will be opened in other states in the country, Liow said: "It depends on the need of the states. Like in Sabah, the needs for woman and child care is very high."

Earlier in his speech when launching the ceremony to re-name Hospital Likas to Hospital Wanita dan Kanak-Kanak Sabah, Liow said that Hospital Likas is an unique hospital as it provides specialist services for women and children.

Besides its several other sub-specialist services, the hospital also became a referral centre for district hospitals in the State as well as Lawas Hospital in Sarawak, he said.

He said the Obstetric and Gynecologic Department of the hospital is also involved in teaching students from the Medicine Faculty of Universiti Malaysia Sabah as well as medical officers in O&G field from several local universities and overseas universities such as United Kingdom.

Liow said that at the moment, the hospital has 504 beds and in terms of development and medical services, this hospital is on par with other hospitals in the country.

He said that his ministry is working hard to upgrade and to add the relevant facilities to provide better services to the patients, the public and the staff of the hospital itself, adding that this would ease the burden of those who cannot afford the rising cost of medical treatment.

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