Keeping health services running amid flood chaos

Devastating destruction: An aerial view showing a flooded road next to submerged houses in Yong Peng, Johor. At least four people have died and nearly 41,000 evacuated nationwide after floodwaters caused by ‘unusual’ torrential rains lasting days swept through several states. — AFP

SERDANG: Health authorities are monitoring possible cases of leptospirosis and dengue as well as other diseases after three Covid-19 cases were detected among flood evacuees in Johor.

This comes as 18 clinics in the state have been affected by the severe floods, said Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa.

“There have been three cases of Covid-19 among flood victims. Two were detected in Segamat and one in Kluang. They have been isolated.

“Screening is continuously being done by our staff on the ground.

“The authorities are also monitoring possible cases of leptospirosis and dengue as well as other diseases which come during floods,” she told reporters after opening the Serdang Heart Disease in Pregnancy Symposium 2.0 at Hospital Serdang here yesterday.

Dr Zaliha said the ministry’s 18 clinics in Johor were flooded, causing damage to medical equipment.

These comprised 11 clinics in Segamat as well as others in Tangkak, Batu Pahat and Kota Tinggi.

She added that her ministry had mobilised medical staff and facilities from within Johor to areas affected by the floods as access to certain areas had been cut off, making mobilisation of equipment from other states difficult.

“We have mobilised teams from nearby areas such as Muar and Tangkak to Chaah and Segamat to assist.“However, access has been cut off, affecting clinic facilities in the state and we’ve lost some of the equipment,” she said.

She also said a medical team had been sent from Selangor, but they were still in Johor Baru as they were not able to get to the flooded areas.

Dr Zaliha added that some of the temporary evacuation centres were not registered with the Welfare Department as the floods rose very suddenly.

Some of the affected areas have not had floods for the past 17 years.

Johor is the state worst hit by floods with more than 32,000 victims, followed by Pahang (1,844), Negri Sembilan (1,061), Melaka (99) and Sarawak (43).

The Federal Government announced that it would be channelling RM50mil immediate flood assistance to Johor.

Earlier in her speech, Dr Zaliha said Hospital Serdang had become the focus of referrals for heart disease cases during pregnancy because there was a combination of cardiac and obstetrics and gynaecology services as well as paediatrics, with 669 patients getting such treatment there last year.

These 669 pregnant patients sought treatment at Hospital Serdang for diseases affecting the heart, a 90% increase compared with 2008.

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