KOTA KINABALU – The termination of the Flying Doctor Service (FDS) in Sabah recently has in a way hampered the medical services rendered to interior residents.
An alternative would be to build more rural health clinics, said Beluran member of parliament Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee, who is also Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker, on Wednesday.
His constituency is among the areas affected by the termination of the FDS by the Health Ministry.
According to him, rural clinics were important to allow the residents to have access to basic treatment without unnecessary delay.
“The FDS was terminated due to costs, but there must be remedy followup to avoid burdening the residents who should appropriately be provided medical treatment when they need it,” he told Bernama when contacted in Kuala Lumpur.
Kiandee said the FDS was introduced in Sabah more than 40 years ago. “It’s about time that the health ministry considers the option of rural clinics,” he said.
Citing Beluran, he said some of its villages were too isolated from health facilities as there was no land route with the only mode of transport being the river.
“I hope more rural clinics like that found in Kampung Abuan in the sub-district of Paitan which had effectively catered to the basic medical needs of residents in several villages, would be set up,” he added.
Asyu Naang, 49, a villager from Kampung Lakang said the only two hospitals, in Pitas and Beluran, were almost 150 kilometres away, requiring a two-day journey for residents along Ulu Sungai Sugud and Sungai Paitan to reach.
“Rural clinics are really needed there to replace the FDS which sometimes arrive only once in three months,” he lamented.
Meanwhile, Nabawan DO, Fredian Gan said his district was also affected by the termination of the FDS.
“The villages usually visited by the FDS normally take two to three days to reach by road,” he said.
He hoped the health ministry would build a rural clinic in Kampung Binanun, which could at least serve the 11 villages around.