KUALA SELANGOR (Bernama): The Health Ministry's Disease Control Division has been instructed to investigate and take the necessary measures to tackle the spread of the hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) in Penang.
Health Minister Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said a similar instruction has also been sent out to the directors of all hospitals in Penang to control the spread of the disease.
"The Disease Control Division is focusing on this issue, what is needed now is to prevent its spread.
"It is understood that so far, more than 1,500 cases of this disease have been reported," he said when met at the Kuala Selangor parliamentary constituency thanksgiving and Aidilfitri celebration here Sunday (July 8).
HFMD is a viral infection with symptoms which include fever, painful, blister-like lesions on the tongue and mouth.
Last Friday, Penang Health, Agriculture and Agro-based Industry and Rural Development exco Dr Afif Bahardin said 1,555 HFMD cases were reported in the state between January and July 4 this year compared to 1,050 during the same period last year.
Commenting on the 1Malaysia Clinics and Community Clinics, the Kuala Selangor MP said his ministry would assess the criteria and need for these facilities, especially those in the rural areas which had less than 50 patients.
Dr Dzulkefly said the ministry would study the demographics in the area so that the clinics would give the best medical services.
"It would not be fair if clinics in rural areas are closed down just because the number of patients is less than 50, this has to be reviewed for the benefit of the rural population," he said.
Commenting further, Dr Dzulkefly said the ministry wants community clinics to be family medical centres equipped with doctors.
"We want to upgrade the requirements and equipment in these clinics so that they do not just cater to common ailments but can also meet the needs of a family with sufficient medical facilities," he said. - Bernama