SUNGKAI: Contraceptive injections given to orang asli women were aimed at protecting them from pregnancies that were a risk to their health and life.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said the birth control initiative under the ministry, was carried out responsibly to protect the indigenous women from conditions such as anaemia during pregnancy.
“It is done as a precautionary measure to protect them. If the red blood cell count is less than 11, we will refer them for medication as it unsafe for them to get pregnant,“ he told a press conference after launching the 2019 national-level orang asli teeth icon programme organised by the ministry in collaboration with the Orang Asli Development Department (Jakoa) here today.
Dzulkefly said the birth control programme was only for two years and those given the injections would be able to conceive after that.
He reiterated that it was done for the safety of the women and the injection was to protect them from an “unsuitable pregnancy”.
Yesterday, a news portal had reported that health ministry staff had given contraceptive injections to the orang asli women, especially those who had recently married, causing them to have side effects.
Last Tuesday, orang asli from five villages in Gerik and Sungai Petani were reported to have been at parliament to urge the government to stop the ministry from giving birth control injections and oral medication to the community.
In another development, Dzulkefly said the Ministry of Health (MOH) handed over its investigations regarding a man who had impersonated as a doctor and sexually harassed women through the telephone in Klang.
The ministry, he said, was not conducting any internal investigation.
“We will deal with the matter firmly and will not compromise as this is not only a criminal offence, but also affects the health and safety of patients,“ he said.
Dzulkefly said quack doctors and fraudulent medical practices were risky for the patients and health authorities had warned them not to carry out such unethical acts.
Asked if there were procedures for doctors to conduct medical check-ups through phone calls, Dzulkefly said that the practices of registered physicians should not be compared to that of impostors.
“While health authorities are now heading towards tele-medical and digital health, it should not be compared to the actions and practices of quack doctors,“ he stressed.
At 8.45pm yesterday, police detained a 39-year-old man for impersonating as a doctor and sexually harassing his female victims on the phone from a hotel in Klang.
Selangor CID chief SAC Fadzil Ahmat said that there had been three police reports lodged last month on the impostor who hailed from Terengganu. Further investigations found that there were another 21 reports lodged by victims from other areas in the country. — Bernama