Malaysians high in awareness on Dengue but poor attitudes remain, says Subramaniam

26 Nov 2014 / 19:55 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysians have great knowledge on the cause of dengue fever but it was not translated into a change for cleaner lifestyle, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam.
According to him, the government's effort to curb dengue cases would succeed if it received the support of the people on environmental and household cleanliness.
"Malaysians scored very high at 90% in their knowledge on the cause of dengue fever such as aedes breeding grounds but it did not bring about a change in the practice of a cleaner lifestyle," he said during the question and answer session at Dewan Rakyat here today.
He was replying to a supplementary question by Datuk Ikmal Hisham Abdul Aziz (BN-Tanah Merah) who wanted to know whether the government was prepared to raise fines on those who commit offences of breeding aedes mosquitoes to push the message across.
Dr Subramaniam said the matter had been discussed at ministerial level but fines would only led to preventive measures and was subjected to the judiciary to determine the amount.
"Recently a contractor was fined RM30,000 by the court when his construction site was found breeding aedes mosquitoes and this was the highest fine to date, so the court has the the power to impose a much higher fine," he said.
Currently, the maximum fine for the offence is RM10,000 or two years' jail or both for the first offence and fined RM50,000 or five years' jail or both for repeat offenders.
Replying to the original question by Ikmal Hisham on how serious the dengue menace in the country was, Dr Subramaniam said, as at Sept 20, 74,335 dengue cases with 143 deaths were recorded in the country.
According to him, in 2012, there were 21,900 cases of dengue recorded with 35 deaths while last year the total climbed to 43,340 cases with 92 deaths.
Replying to a question by Dr Tan Seng Giaw (DAP-Kepong) on the effectiveness of the Healthy Community, Empowers the Nation (Kospen) programme in raising the quality of people's health, Dr Subramaniam said the ministry had set up a data base to determine its Key Performance Indicator (KPI).
"The effectiveness will be studied after a suitable period through a number of individuals who offer their services such by volunteers in reducing the number of smokers, non-infectious diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes and weight loss.
"All the data will be stored in the data base and studied continuously to check its effectiveness," he said.
He said the ministry was targeting to train 50,000 volunteers under Kospen by the end of 2016 to serve 1.5 million people at grassroot level.
Kospen began in July 2013 and it was a new initiative involving public health with 13,496 volunteers trained as at Nov 10. – Bernama

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