LAM Wah Ee Hospital’s traditional Chinese medicine branch in Muntri Street, Penang, has closed after serving patients for more than a century.
Since there is a government health clinic next door, many patients have opted for modern treatment there over the years.
Its Chinese Medicine Committee chairman Loh Lean Hoe said the clinic ceased operations on March 27 due to a sharp drop in patients.
“During the movement control order (MCO) period, we received fewer than 10 patients a day.
“We originally had one doctor and one dispenser but after the clinic closed down, we transferred them back to the main hospital.
“If there is a better policy in the future or if the number of patients grows, we may consider reopening the clinic.
“As the area was rather quiet during the MCO, we faced some security problems concerning drug addicts who came and caused disturbance,” he said in a phone interview recently.
Loh added that during the clinic’s heyday over 10 years ago, the clinic used to see over 1,000 patients a month.
“The younger generation now prefer modern medicine compared to traditional Chinese medicine.
“Since the closure, we have been referring all patients from the Muntri Street clinic to the main hospital where we have eight physicians to treat them,” he said.
The idea of setting up a community health care centre in Penang was first mooted by a few Chinese community leaders in 1876.
The traditional-style Lam Wah Ee Hospital was then built in 1883 at Muntri Street before moving in to a new hospital building in Jelutong.
Meanwhile, Tuan Hock Cheong, 61, a receptionist at a budget hotel opposite the clinic in Muntri Street, said the number of patients had decreased, especially in the last five years.
“Even before the MCO, there were fewer than 10 patients a day.
“Most of them were elderly folk looking for traditional Chinese medicine.
“It was also hard to get parking here and since most of the elderly need to be dropped off at the clinic entrance itself, the area often got congested,” he said.
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