LIPIS: The Pos Lenjang orang asli settlement here is set to become a pioneer project for the implementation of the country’s first orang asli medical outpost.
The move was initiated by the Federation of Private Medical Practitioners Associations of Malaysia (FPMPAM) through the Drs For All programme, which aims to ensure no one is deprived of medical services.
FPMPAM president Dr Steven Chow said they came up with the idea after their experience of having to travel almost an hour in a 4WD vehicle on logging routes and through rivers to reach Pos Lenjang early last year.
“We were told a medical officer comes by every week but what about when there’s an emergency, especially at night?” he asked yesterday.
“So, we felt that it was important that we teach them (orang asli) emergency medical treatment and prepare a medical outpost with basic medication in case of an emergency.”
Dr Chow also thanked 80-year-old Bahlong Pakdai, the “old man” of Kampung Dayok, for allowing the medical outpost to be set up on his land, which is situated along the main route of Pos Lenjang.
Dr Chow, who expects the medical outpost to be completed in three months’ time, added that it would be manned by 14 orang asli volunteers, who would be trained to handle minor cases such as wounds, fractures or snake bites, before victims are taken to hospital.
“For this purpose, we will hold a three-day orang asli medical training course here to give exposure to basic emergency treatment. They will attend further courses in Kuala Lumpur in June.
“FPMPAM will return here (Pos Lenjang) to evaluate the volunteers’ ability and skills and choose those who can handle the responsibility of manning the medical outpost,” he said.
He said he would discuss with FPMPAM to place these volunteers in some of their members’ clinics for a certain period.
He hoped that should the Pos Lenjang medical outpost be a success, it would be extended to other orang asli settlements, especially those which are far in the interior and difficult to reach.
Senator Adrian Lasimbang, who also attended the programme, hoped more private sector firms would assist the government in providing health services to rural communities.
“Health is a basic human right and the government is doing its best to provide health services to the public but there are times when we face constraints in terms of budget and access to the locations.
“The willingness of medical practitioners to take part in, share knowledge and create the medical outpost here is very much appreciated because we know that emergency treatment by the first respondent can help save lives,” he said.
As for Bahlong, he had no problem allowing his vacant land, situated next to his house, to be turned into a medical outpost as he was aware that it would benefit the 14 orang asli villages in Pos Lenjang.
“I heard that they were looking for a site, so I immediately agreed ... what more when told that our own children will take charge of it. Yes, the health officer does come here every week but you never know when someone is going to fall sick,” he said. — Bernama