By ABDUL AZIZ ISA
COMMENT: The Miri Hospital urgently needs better cardiac care facilities as not many people in the district are able to afford costly treatment at private hospitals.
After learning about the real situation, including the availability of state-of-the-art facilities and equipment at the Miri hospital, I have discovered that Miri is in dire need to have its own cardiac care unit to cater for patients from the northern region of Sarawak.
During the recent State Legislative Assembly sitting, Dr Sim Kui Hian, the minister of Local Government and Housing remarked “the State Health Department has no plan to build a cardiac hub centre in Miri. The present cardiac facilities at the Sarawak Heart Centre in Kuching are still able to meet the needs for Sarawak”.
I can only describe Dr Sim’s statement as utterly ridiculous. Politicians or anyone saying Miri Hospital does not need a cardiac unit is either lying or ignorant of cardiac diseases. Dr Sim fails to understand that the people of Miri have to fly to Kuching to undergo cardiac treatment. This Minister ought to use his common sense in tackling the issue.
There is no question that Sarawak Heart Centre in Kota Samarahan may be adequate to serve the population but we must remember that Sarawak is a big state. If there’s a cardiac facility in Miri, patients also do not have to wait for weeks to undergo treatment or surgery or travel that far.
We have far-to-reach areas which have poor access roads. Furthermore, setting up a specialised cardiac care unit in Miri not only could help reduce congestion at the Sarawak Heart Centre but also could reduce the financial burdens of the patients and their families.
We cannot rely on private hospitals to fulfil the needs of the people in northern Sarawak as they are costly. Besides, the cardiac care unit at a government hospital can complement other services in the Miri Hospital.
Anyone who thinks otherwise on the needs for better cardiac care facilities is taking the Miri people for granted, and thus the State government ought to consider this proposal.
Anyone in Miri who suffers a heart attack risks losing his or her lives as the Miri Hospital has no special unit care or ward to acute cardiac care.
Miri Hospital deserves to have its own specialised cardiac care unit, given its strategic position. It is easily reached from nearby districts like Bintulu, Marudi, Limbang and Lawas compared to Sarawak Heart Centre which is located far away in Kota Samarahan division.
In the premises, I urge the government to consider of setting up a specialised cardiac care unit in Miri to cater for the people.
• Abdul Aziz Isa is Sarawak DAP Socialist Youth Publicity Secretary and Special Assistant to Chong Chieng Jen, Sarawak Pakatan Harapan Chairman