Some diseases manifest even after screening

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 26 Jan 2003

KUALA LUMPUR: The screening of foreign workers on arrival here might reduce the danger of importing diseases but the risk cannot be totally eliminated, said Health Ministry deputy director-general (public health) Datuk Dr Tee Ah Sian. 

She said there would be instances of workers who were found fit in source countries but turned unfit after arrival in Malaysia. 

This was because of the window period for certain diseases like Hepatitis B and HIV or of the workers getting infected after the medical examination done in their respective countries, Bernama quoted her as saying in a statement yesterday. 

Dr Tee said the ministry had no objection to the suggestion by the Immigration Department that all foreign workers should be screened upon arrival here. 

Currently, she said, only 5% to 10% of foreign workers were randomly subjected to blood and urine tests at the point of entry upon arriving in Malaysia. 

Medical examinations for foreign workers both in the country of origin and the annual medical examination done in Malaysia focus on the main infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS. 

Foreign workers must also undergo a urine test for drugs and pregnancy. 

Commenting on the case of an Indonesian maid admitted for typhoid at the Universiti Malaya Medical Centre on Jan 10, Dr Tee said the patient must have been infected after undergoing medical examination in Indonesia, prior to her arrival here on Dec 26 last year. 

In Petaling Jaya, MCA Hotline Service chairman Tai Sim Yew said the Government should make it compulsory for all foreign workers to be certified fit by Malaysian doctors. 

“Employers have been complaining about the health condition of foreign workers and fear that if left unchecked, it will lead to people succumbing to illnesses,” she said in a statement yesterday.  

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