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Friday January 8, 2010

Only RM1 treatment charge for common illnesses

KUALA LUMPUR: At the age of 85, retiree Quah Kok Seng still works and earns a living by doing odd jobs, which does not provide him a permanent income to help pay for medical treatment.

He is happier now that a 1Malaysia Clinic has opened near his flat at Lembah Subang, where he needs to pay only RM1 for treatment and medicine.

“It is within walking distance,” he said when met yesterday after the opening of the government-subsidised clinic by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

“Even if I’m healthy, you can’t expect me at my age to go through the hassle of waiting, calling for a taxi or walking so far to have my treatments.”

Malaysians can begin getting medical treatment for common illnesses for RM1 at 45 1Malaysia Clinics from today.

A total of 50 such clinics will open in a week after Najib launched the first one in Lembah Pantai yesterday.

The 1Malaysia Clinics offer treatment for common illnesses like fever, cough and cold, and follow-up treatment for well-controlled diabetes, hypertension and asthma as well as dressing and stitch-removal procedures.

Opening hours are between 10am and 10pm to better serve those who work office hours.

Sundry shop owner S. Selvaratna, who lives near the Lembah Subang branch, could not believe that a clinic had opened near her place.

“There are no buses passing by here, so every time we need to go to a clinic, we have to pay at least RM10 for taxi and then about RM20 to RM30 for a simple flu treatment,” said the 33-year-old.

Proton factory worker Zakaria Jusoh, 31, said he was relieved at the opening of the Lembah Subang branch.

However, he said his wife Norhayati Zulkifli wished there were facilities to treat pregnant women and children as well.

Family Health Development director Dr Safurah Jaafar, who coordinated the set-up of the clinics in two months, said the clinics not only provide treatment but also help people understand healthy diets and lifestyles.

She said an assistant medical officer, a staff nurse and an assistant health officer with at least five years’ experience would staff each clinic. “Doctors from the nearest clinic or hospital will also make a visit once a week to audit, evaluate and ensure the clinics are maintained well,” she said.

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