Category Archives: Health

BMC holds mammogram test subsidy programme

EARLY DETECTION: Dr Tan briefs the media on the mammogram procedure.

BINTULU: The Bintulu Medical Centre (BMC) is holding a Mammogram Test Subsidy programme, which started on Sept 1, to screen the women here for breast cancer.

The programme will be on until Aug 31, 2014.

The centre’s medical director Dr Tan Teik Guan said this is one of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes to help women here to obtain free or subsidised screening.

“Generally, the centre conducts free screenings for women who earn RM5, 000 and below and those earning RM5,000 and above are granted a subsidy of RM50 by the National Population and Family Development Board (LPPKN),” he said in a media conference recently.

He said the programme would indirectly allow early detection which could save their lives if it still at the early stage.

While describing the mammogram as the best way to find out whether a woman has breast cancer cells or not, he said it is the X-ray screening which detect the early stages of the killer disease and all women aged between 35 and 70 are advised to go for the screening.

Mammogram, he said, is currently the most effective means of inspection and the most precise, though there is about five to 15 per cent probability that the cancer could not be detected through it.

“It should be remembered by all women that there is also other alternative ways of breast cancer screening by either conducting their own examination, examination at the clinic, through ultrasound and also MRI,” he said.

Tan said the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development and LPPKN implemented the mammogram test subsidy to encourage eligible women to be screened for breast cancer.

The full subsidy for mammogram testing, he said, will be borne by LPPKN if the household income is below RM5,000 a month and if the screening test requires ‘ultra-sound’ these costs are also borne by the parties.

For women with household income above RM5,000 they only need to pay RM60 and the remaining cost will be subsidised by LPKKN.

Those interested, he said, can apply through LPKKN clinic or at the BMC.

Call 086-330333 or log on to the website at  or for details.

BMC radiologist consultant Dr Ho Joo Siong was also present at the press conference.





‘Jamban gantung’ a health nightmare – Dr Jerip

SOMETHING NEW: Dr Jerip (fourth left) and others have a look at the facilities at the new Bintulu Polyclinic.

BINTULU: The possibility of a cholera outbreak in Bintulu will always be an arm’s length away because of one key factor – ‘jamban gantung’ (hanging latrines).

Assistant Minister of Local Government and Community Development (Public Health) Dr Jerip Susil said although Bintulu was growing fast, almost every single house along the river still had a hanging latrines.

He said this unsystematic way of disposing human waste was a time bomb of sorts for the recurrence of a cholera outbreak.

“The local authority must find concrete ways to resolve this matter. This is because the water source is not only used by animals and human, but it is also a place where children play and bathe, and where women do their laundry and wash dishes, especially in some longhouses” he told reporters after being briefed at the new Bintulu Polyclinic on the cholera outbreak here on Wednesday.

Dr Jerip said Bintulu was similar to what Miri was many years ago, except for the hanging latrines.

He cautioned that this kind of human waste disposal could also lead to many kinds of water-borne diseases such as cholera, typhoid, diarrhoea, dysentery and even skin diseases.

“There need to be put in place a holistic plan to resolve this problem. I hope parties such as the Bintulu Development Authority and the Health Department will look into this matter in order to help Bintulu develop into a healthy town.”

On the cholera outbreak here which was first reported on July 14, he said the number of cases had been decreasing of late, and that the isolation centre in Similajau PLKN camp had been closed.

“This means that the surveillance and mitigation by the relevant authorities had been effective, but this should not mean that we can now lie down and do nothing more because the way I see it the situation could recur because of houses along the riverbanks and the fact that clean water is not easily available in some longhouses and villages.”

Dr Jerip also reminded members of the public, especially food handlers at food stalls, coffee shops and restaurants, to always practise a high level of hygiene.




Make sure Samalaju cholera free, Dr Jerip tells Health Dept

Assistant Minister of Local Government and Community Development (Public Health) Dr Jerip Susil

BINTULU: The Health Department has been directed to ensure that the cholera outbreak here does not spread to Samalaju Industrial Park.

Assistant Minister of Local Government and Community Development (Public Health) Dr Jerip Susil said the state government could not afford to have such an outbreak in Samalaju as it could hamper development in the area.

“Samalaju Industrial Park should be protected from all (health) threats at all cost as it is the new national industrial area.

“We do not want Samalaju to be infected, and I am pleased that it has remained free from the disease thus far,” he said after being briefed on the cholera outbreak by Bintulu Divisional Health officer Dr Azlee Ayub here yesterday.

Also present were Bintulu Resident Muhamad Yakup Kari, state Health Department consultant epidemiologist Datu Dr Andrew Kiyu and state Health Department deputy director of health services (public health) Dr Jamilah Hashim.

Dr Jerip said all workers in Samalaju must be advised to be very careful when they buy food, especially from Bintulu town.

“We will protect Bintulu at all cost because once it (cholera) goes to Samalaju it will be a disaster.”

Muhamad Yakup said priority should be given to Samalaju as it would attract national attention and slow down progress in the area.

Thus far, the Health Department had screened two canteen operators in the area for cholera and they showed no signs of infection. However close monitoring and surveillance would be conducted in collaboration with the medical teams of the respective companies.

Dr Azlee said as of yesterday the cholera outbreak was still confined to Bintulu division only, but regular inspections and monitoring would be carried out in other divisions.