SIBU: Migrant workers who will work in Sarawak have been asked to undergo malaria screening in advance to curb the spread of zoonotic malaria and imported human malaria.
Deputy Health Minister II Datuk Aaron Ago Dagang said from 2016 to 2021, a total of 19 deaths were recorded out of 7,291 cases involving zoonotic malaria infection and imported human malaria in the state.
"Government or private agencies in sectors such as plantations, mining, construction and others need to play a role when it comes to migrant workers. These workers should undergo a medical examination, including malaria screening, according to the policy set by the government for foreign workers working in Sarawak.
"Employers are also responsible for providing mosquito nets to their employees to protect them from mosquito bites. Workers who are experiencing symptoms of malaria need to undergo check-ups at a nearby health clinic,” he said in his speech when officiating the state-level World Malaria Day celebration at Bandar Kapit Square near here, on Saturday (Aug 6).
Aaron, who is also Kanowit MP, said cases of imported human malaria in the state were also detected among Sarawakians who contracted the disease while working abroad and unknowingly brought malaria parasites with them when they returned to the state.
"The parasite can potentially spread human malaria infection to local people. So all of us cannot be complacent,” he said.
Aaron said that based on data, the highest number of malaria cases ever recorded in Sarawak was in 1999 with 3,155 cases, and the figure decreased to 2,802 cases in 2010.
"However, starting in 2016, Sarawak successfully achieved the target of zero incidences of indigenous cases of human malaria and has maintained that achievement until now,” he said.
According to Aaron, the achievement was due to the hard work of all Sarawak Health Department staff in implementing effective malaria control and elimination programmes in the state.- Bernama