Saturday, January 16, 2010

NUMA-malaysiakini: No greenhorns in 1Malaysia clinics

No greenhorns in 1Malaysia clinics

Jan 15, 10 8:00pm

Assistant medical officers (AMO) manning the 1Malaysia Clinics should not be dismissed as greenhorns.

Instead, they have vast experience in treating simple cases of minor ailments, National Union of Medical Assistants (Numa) president Taram Singh Walia said today.

He said the AMO had been running health clinics, together with staff nurses, for decades but were always marginalised.

"The difference today, is that they are now being recognised, appreciated and have gained the trust of the Ministry of Health, as well as our prime minister.

"Besides being solicitous, the AMOs and staff nurses play a multiple role in providing basic yet effective primary health care and carry out simple surgical procedures and investigations, as well as play a complimentary role in helping to ease congestion at government hospitals," he said in a statement today.

Taram was commenting on statements by certain quarters who claimed Malaysia took "a step backwards in the country's healthcare system" in implementing the 1Malaysia Clinics manned by AMO and a staff nurse to provide primary health care for the low-income rakyat.'I honestly fail to understand'

He said an open letter by the Health Ministry director-general (DG) had explained in great detail, every concept of the 1Malaysia Clinic, as well as the role played by the AMO and staff nurse in providing healthcare.

"I honestly fail to understand in which line or paragraph of the DG's letter are these detractors finding it difficult to understand," he said.

Taram said, the AMO had been a provider of healthcare for the past century, since the profession came into existence and today, their qualifications ranged from a basic diploma to a degree and PHD.

"A few have gone to become pengarah (directors) of hospitals, a position many feel is unbeliaveble but yet true," he said.

Taram Singh said Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai had rightly said that those seeking treatment at the 1Malaysia Clinics were those with minor ailments and who could not afford to go to private clinics.

He said the AMO was quite capable and competent to treat and manage simple cases and they were aware of their limitations.

"Cases that need to be referred will be done without hesitation as the AMO knows that he is not a doctor and does not wish to act as one," he said.

Therefore, Taram noted, the Malaysian Medical Association's insistence that the 1Malaysia Clinics be run by doctors was highly appreciated and well-recommended as it was a vision of the future.

However, he said, until and unless Malaysia had sufficient doctors, the AMO and staff nurses should be allowed to continue manning the clinics.

- Bernama

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