SIBU: Sarawak is still faced with the threat of rabies and many other zoonotic diseases like malaria and leptospirosis, says Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.
This is despite the average life expectancy in Sarawak being 76.5 years, among the highest in Malaysia, indicating a healthy population and good healthcare service.
Taking rabies as an example, he said the total number of human rabies cases in Sarawak was 72 with 65 (90.3%) deaths since 2017.
“The huge number of animal bites recorded daily is also alarming. From 2017 till today, there are 88,606 animal bites recorded by health facilities. Not all of these are bitten by rabid animals, but this high number is still a concern,” said Abang Johari at the opening of a three-day Asia-Pacific Conference on Zoonotic and Neglected Tropical Disease on Wednesday (Sept 27).
His speech was read by his representative, the state Deputy Minister of Public Health, Housing and Local Government Michael Tiang.
The conference, the Premier said, was thus timely and relevant to Sarawak.
“For the doctors in Sarawak, these diseases are encountered in their daily work and they have real-world experience in treating and combating these diseases. By sharing this experience and learning from experts from other countries, I am sure it will enhance the control and treatment of these diseases, he stressed.
This international conference is being attended by 400 participants from Sarawak, Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah, and overseas.
The Sarawak government is organising the event in collaboration with Segi University, Sarawak Health Department, Unimas, Universiti Malaya, and Hainan Medical University.
Source: The Star