AT THE SARAWAK STATE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY
MORE efforts need to be made to train Sarawakians in the medical field in order to address the shortage of doctors in the state.
Public Health Assistant Minister Datuk Dr Jerip Susil said there were currently 2,237 doctors in the state, with a ratio of one doctor to 1,104 patients.
Some 1,759 of the doctors are in government service, of whom about 30% are estimated to be from Peninsular Malaysia.
“They come here for houseman training and then serve as medical officers in rural or district hospitals. We try as much as possible to encourage those from Peninsular Malaysia to stay longer in the health service in Sarawak.
“The Health Ministry’s director-general recently announced that those posted to Sarawak will have a special allowance and faster promotion. This is a good move but we also see some shortcomings. They might come here, get promoted and after six months apply to be transferred back to the peninsula,” he said during question time.
As such, Dr Jerip said the state should consider increasing the number of local doctors to be trained at universities in Sarawak or the peninsula.
In this respect, he said Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) had been granted permission to lower the entry qualifications for matriculation students hoping to study medicine.
He also hoped that Unimas would receive approval for its “long overdue” teaching hospital as soon as possible to help train local doctors.
“We need concerted efforts to train local doctors, encourage qualified Sarawakian students to take up medicine and provide financial resources for their training,” he added.