Thursday, August 13, 2009

H1N1; Something Gone Terribly Wrong

Hantu Laut

Something has gone terribly wrong with the spreading of the H1N1 influenza in Malaysia and the Malaysians 'mindset' of not taking adequate precautionary measures to protect themselves.

This is an imported disease and much could have been done to contain it if close monitoring and screenings were given earlier at all points of entry into the country.Stories from visitors and friends I collected revealed a very lax, typical Malaysian 'tidak apa' attitude at our entry points.Although, we can't police everyone coming in, strict procedures and serious-minded personnel who took pride in their jobs would have helped in better detection.

That may be water under the bridge now. The local transmission is moving at a dizzying speed with fatalities embarrassingly high for a modern nation like Malaysia which has better health care system than many other countries in the region.Is our government just talking but not doing the right things?Do Malaysians have such low immunity that makes the mortality rate so high.

Britain which got the pandemic earlier and with population of almost three times more than that of Malaysia has only 29 deaths and its neighbour France only has 24 deaths.At the rate Malaysians are dropping dead in no time we will surpass the US and Mexico death rates which stood at 211 and 119 respectively as of July.

India, with a patchy and fragile health care system, has recorded 17 deaths so far, but is expected to have particularly big toll, which is not surprising, due to its huge population.Surprisingly, the Indians seem to take the disease more seriously than the general Malaysian public.The picture tells a story.

Passengers wore protective masks as on a train to Pune at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in Mumbai on Wednesday.

Our government seems to be talking a lot more than doing what they should be doing.Even the lowest form of human live is valuable and should not succumb to this heinous scourge due to incompetence of our Health Ministry.

By now Malaysia should be put on red alert and unnecessary public and social activities should be minimised or curtailed.

The first thing the government should do is to close all schools by bringing forward the year end school holidays, which means closing the schools for at least one and half months.They could be re-opened earlier if the pandemic has slowed down or fizzled out. Discourage people from going to cinemas, entertainment places or any crowded public places and disseminate information about the symptoms of the disease and how to avoid contracting the disease using the mass media. All TV and radio channels should be asked to beam at least every hour on the hour the public broadcast.If the pandemic gets worse than all public places like churches,mosques,temples,discos, and bars should be advised to limit their activities and those who ignored such warning should be compelled to close temporarily.

To date Malaysia have recorded 44 deaths from the H1N1 flu and for a population of just 26 million that's was wee bit too high.Most died of other complications.Infant, young children and the elderly are more susceptible if they have other ailments.

The Prime Minister should kick the Minister of Health's ass and ask him to shape up or sack him. The late response to the insidious danger of the disease has been the cause of the high rate of mortality.I bet most of the hospitals do not have Tamiflu to treat serious cases for those in the high risk group.

Below are statistic of fatalities of H1N1 for the countries mentioned above.

US 211 deaths Pop: 307 million
Mexico 119 deaths Pop: 109
UK 29 deaths Pop: 60
France 24 deaths Pop: 64
India 17 deaths Pop: 1.1 billion

India may be too early to judge and the people probably may have better immune system.Surprisingly, Indonesia which was the epicenter of the H5N1 epidemic in humans and home to the deadliest version of the virus has only confirmed 1 death from the H1N1 virus.
Some countries do under report such pandemic so as not to cause panic but that would be unfair to the citizens.

At 44 deaths the Malaysian government should announced red alert before it's too late.We should take cue from Mexico City where the city virtually shut down, closing restaurants, cinemas, sport venues and other public places in a bid to contain the disease.

5 comments:

SM said...

HL,

Right from the beginning Liow & Merican kept on saying there was no problem & the Malaysian Health Authorities had everything under control (ya rite!)!
In fact they were more bothered if the Tourists stopped coming due to the H1N1.
Liow & Merican are responsible for every H1N1 death in Malayisa (& indirectly Najib too because he has hired such imbeciles to be in charge)! By sacking both these idiots, Najib will gain much politically (not to mention probably save a few lives)!

SM said...

HL,

If I'm not mistaken the Death Toll now stands at 51!
You can't blame the "PR" for this one bro!

Karlota said...

H1N1 is just like any normal flu according to my british friend.. and flu are always serious if you have other health problems. otherwise, it shouldn't be a cause for paranoia at all if you have great immune system. i have flu vaccine each year and i'm not worried at all. per news, deaths result due to complications of some other diseases and there are certain age group that are most at risk.. just my opinion though..

eddy said...

I think it is not as easy as sacking the Minister of Health or the Ketua Setiausaha Kementerian. Both have their hands full and the hardworking staffs of the Ministry of Health and other related Ministeries and Agencies are working their butts off to take care of the sick suffering from the swine flu H1N1 together with others who are suffering from other form of desease dengue,chikungya etc.

Replacing Liow and Dr Ismail Merican now would not be a smart move and would not improve the health situation and could even make the situation deteriorate further, they have to be at the front until the pandemic officially ends.

Maybe best to have a check on our family members ourselves as well, if anybody have unusually high temperature fever, cough and flu, the parents must immediately send their children to the clinic to be checked by the doctor. Do not even wait for tomorrow or the next day for the situation to improve.

During weekend, parents should also wherever possible voluntarily not take their family to public places like shopping complexes, crowded restaurants, cinemas etc. If you have to go out use also surgical mask and always clean your hands with antiseptic.

I am on Medical Leave for two days, NO, not because of H1N1, but, my doctor said that people need to improve their immune system as it would also help combat the swine flu:

1. Must not be stressed..good sleep.. will reduce stress levels.
2. Take plenty of Vitamin C.

My problem is the Ministry keep on announcing deaths due to swine flu H1N1 everyday but never give the distribution where death occurs, it would be good additional information.

SM said...

Eddy,

Although I fully agree with you that we have to take responsibility for our own "personal" health & safety (i.e. by taking the necessary precautions that you mentioned), I disagree that Liow & Merican should be "let off the hook"!
I think this is one of the problems with Malaysia...i.e. we aspire for "Developed Nation Status" but deep down we still think "Third World)!
Our Leaders almost never ("almost" because at least Chuah Soi Lek recently took responsibility for his actions & resigned all his posts when the "sex tape" leaked out) take responsibility for their actions. More often than not they will blame everyone & his donkey.
When something goes right, they take full praise BUT when smething goes wrong...the excuses fly away (e.g. just look at Japan, their Leaders take full responsibility of their actions).
By the way, I don't think Liow & Merican are that great that they can't be replaced by their Deputies at least for the time being!