KOTA KINABALU: A 24-year-old medical student from Keningau is leading a volunteer group for a polio immunisation campaign in his district.
Universiti Malaya undergraduate Muhd Shafeiq Muhammad Asri initially started volunteering on his own for the Sabah polio immunisation programme in June, following polio cases reported in this state in December 2019.
However, he took it a step further after receiving lots of interest from individuals of different backgrounds who wanted to be involved.
This led to the Keningau-based volunteer group becoming officially operational on July 13 with over 30 volunteers, and the numbers are growing.
“I was interested in being involved in the polio immunisation campaign because as a medical student, I see this problem happening in Sabah and no other places nationwide, said Muhd Shafeiq.
He said he started getting calls from those interested to become volunteers, and added that the effort was established after Keningau district health officer Dr. Mohamad Norhaizam Ahmad @ Narawi approved it.
“There are different activities everyday, and so far we have gone to health clinics and gone to five or six villages for the campaign, ” said the 24-year-old originally from Kampung Kota Ayangan, who will be doing his final year in Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS).
He added that volunteers help with the registration process, temperature checks, nail-marking and providing sanitisers for hand cleaning, but said that the administration of the oral polio vaccine (OPV) can only be done by registered staff.
“We have shown that there is room for the community to be involved in ensuring public health, and in this case specifically assisting in preventing poliovirus infections from spreading in Keningau and Sabah as a whole, ” said Muhd Shafeiq
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