Govt monitoring monkeypox threat in Singapore

14 May 2019 / 19:49 H.

PETALING JAYA: The government will monitor the threat of monkeypox spreading to Malaysia despite the low risk associated with the disease, said Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye today.

He advised those who had recently returned from high risk countries in Central and West Africa and had developed skin rashes, fever or other symptoms to seek treatment at once.

“The risk is low unless you travel to endemic countries,“ he said with regard to a Singaporean who had recently tested positive for the monkeypox virus after returning from a trip to Nigeria.

Earlier, when launching the RM3 million Beacon Hospital Halcyon Radiotherapy Welfare Fund and unveiling the hospital’s advanced radiotherapy equipment, Lee said the government welcomed efforts by private hospitals to provide the best care possible for cancer patients.

He commended Beacon Hospital for its corporate social responsibility (CSR) effort in reducing the cost of therapy for those unable to afford it.

The hospital’s CSR director Calvin Karthigesu said Beacon had set up two separate funds to subsidise the cost of treatment for poorer female patients who have breast cancer.

Under the Chemotherapy Welfare Fund, patients now pay only RM500 for each session of chemotherapy. The usual cost at private hospitals is from RM8,000 to RM9,000.

Under the Targeted Therapy Welfare Fund, patients pay RM2,500 for each session of targeted therapy, while private hospitals charge from RM8,000 to RM9,000.

Beacon Hospital medical director and consultant oncologist Datuk Dr Ibrahim Wahid said the hospital’s new advanced therapy equipment could reduce each session of radiotherapy to just two minutes. It also reduces the risk of unnecessary radiation.

Cancer is the fourth most common cause of death in Malaysia. According to a report by Malaysian Study on Cancer Survival, the mortality rate is estimated to rise to more than 55,000 for newly diagnosed cases.

For more information on the welfare fund contact Beacon Hospital CSR Department at 03-7620 7979 or 011-1090 6588.

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