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KUALA LUMPUR: Private doctors now have a clearer picture on how to deal with people having influenza-like symptoms.
This followed a dialogue cum briefing by Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai and Director-General of Health Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican on Thursday.
Malaysian Medical Association president Dr David Quek said the session gave them a wider view of what was expected of them in terms of managing and treating patients with influenza-like illness (ILI).
He said although doctors were doing their best to treat patients and refer those suspected of having influenza A (H1NI) to hospital, they were in a dilemma as there were no proper guidelines initially from the ministry and the World Health Organisation.
However, after four months of closely monitoring and analysing the situation, the ministry came out with its clinical guidelines on who should be treated with anti-viral drugs and also recently by the WHO.
Dr Quek said although there were policies, directives and guidelines on the handling of the H1N1 pandemic, interpretation was a problem.
He said no one, including WHO, knows much about the new virus and everyone is doing their best to handle the situation.
"There may have been slip-ups earlier in the management of cases but now doctors are clearer as to what is expected of them although we would much prefer that we be given a free hand in managing the cases."
He said the district and state health departments should explain clearly to private doctors and hospitals in their areas of the clinical guidelines.
The Federation of Private Medical Practitioners' Association of Malaysia president Dr Steven Chow said they had asked all doctors to submit the daily information on ILI cases to the ministry and said the ministry should make anti-virals affordable.
Meanwhile, Dr Ismail said another 391 people have contracted the H1N1 virus while death toll remains at 71.