Nov 14, 2016
I’m saddened by the news. The FDS is especially important to assist the far-flung rural areas which otherwise have no way out for medical treatment
Desperate villagers, especially sick old folks, pregnant women and children may end up walking to the nearest town for medications and medical attention, which might take between two hours to two days, depending on the location of their villages, aggravating their already frail condition.
Apart from that, patients with major illnesses such as high blood pressure, diabetes and hypertension will lose their monthly supplies and have to resort to walking, too as the cost of transportation to the nearest town is simply too much for them to bear
Replacing the service with rural clinics or intensifying provision of medical services via land and water will not be sufficient as the lack of proper infrastructure in many areas will prove to be a major obstacle for the efforts.
Most of the villages do not have proper roads even. No public servant will be willing to work in clinics located as such remote areas.
Apart from that, using water and land transportation is just as risky as it also depends on the weather conditions. Therefore, air access is the fastest and most efficient way to reach these villages.
The Health Department must find another way to cut costs instead of scrapping the service altogether as the lives of many poor people which cannot be bought with cash is at stake.
Technical solutions such as switching to single-engine choppers as suggested by officials to manage costs can be done.
The rights of these rural people to minimal medical access should not be overlooked on humanitarian grounds.
Just because most of them are illiterate, live in poverty and can’t voice out their predicaments, they should not be marginalized.
YB Christina Liew
Sabah PKR Acting Chairperson
Sabah PKR Acting Chairperson YB Christina Liew conveyed her sadness over the termination of the Flying Doctor Service (FDS) which will affect the rural folks in the state.
Liew, who is also Api Api assemblywoman said the service, which provided medical assistance to those living in interior Sabah without access to medical facilities and services, is crucial as they have no other means to obtain healthcare services as well as medications.
The termination of the service by the Sabah Health Department was effectively in place on Sept 30. The department cited rising costs as the reason for the termination.