Awareness among orang asli on vaccination still low: Waytha Moorthy

18 Jun 2019 / 23:58 H.

TAPAH: Awareness on the importance of immunisation is still low among the orang asli community, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Senator P. Waytha Moorthy.

He said this was because of their lack of knowledge and understanding on the need for such inoculations and also their way of living where they moved seasonally from place to place.

Their nomadic lifestyle made it difficult for health officers to provide the necessary vaccinations to the children of this minority group, he said.

“So, the Health Ministry together with Jakoa (Orang Asli Development Department) will try to persuade the orang asli in various ways to receive the necessary vaccinations to prevent infectious diseases.

“I hope the orang asli are concerned about their health and will learn from what has happened to the community in Kuala Koh, Gua Musang, Kelantan,“ added Waytha Moorthy.

He said this to reporters after a get-together with leaders and the community in Chenderiang, which was also attended by Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu, here today.

Yesterday, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said among the factors that contributed to the spread of measles within the community’s Batik tribe in Kampung Kuala Koh was the low coverage of MMR (Measles-Mumps-Ruebella) immunisation among them.

While 61.5% of the tribe received the first dose of the MMR vaccine, only 30% had their second dose.

“The health team finds it difficult to provide comprehensive health services because of their nomadic way of life. Malnutrition has also contributed to the risk of infection and complications,“ he added.

Dzulkefly said 37 out of the 112 who were reported to have symptoms of respiratory tract infection were found to be infected with measles.This was confirmed through laboratory tests. — Bernama

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