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Saturday, 3 October 2015 | MYT 4:19 PM

Health Ministry prepares to face prolonged haze

KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry has made necessary preparations to face the possible increase in cases of illnesses due to the haze, which is expected to continue for another month.

Its deputy minister, Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahya said there was enough medicine and face masks to meet the situation.

"There is no need to worry. So far, there is no alarming increase in haze-related illnesses from our observations at hospitals and clinics nationwide," he told a media conference after opening the Organ Donation Awareness Week on Saturday.

On Friday, Indonesia's National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) head Willem Rampangilei was quoted by local media as saying that the haze problem, caused by forest and plantation fires in Indonesia, would end in a month with the beginning of the rainy season.

He said with the weather shift, the fires in the peat lands would be put out and the haze, which has plagued Malaysia and Singapore for the last two months, would be eliminated.

In another development, Hilmi said the ministry had not received any report on the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) affecting the current season's haj pilgrims from Malaysia.

He said special teams have been stationed at airports to conduct health screening on haj pilgrims upon their return since the arrival of the first flight last Sept 29.

Friday, 14 of the 287 Thai haj pilgrims were quarantined on suspicion of being infected by MERS on their return to Thailand.

They were quarantined at the Narathiwat Rachanakarin Hospital.

Meanwhile, Hilmi said the Organ Donation Awareness Week was being carried out at 76 locations nationwide from today.

The target is to get 6,000 new organ donors, he added.        

He said that as of August this year, 308,299 Malaysians or 1.1 per cent of the country's population, had pledged to donate their organs.

As of august this year, there are 19,507 Malaysians waiting to carry out organ transplant and most of them are kidney patients, he added. - Bernama

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