Orang Asli children to benefit from food programme: Health Ministry

21 Jun 2019 / 15:36 H.

SIMPANG PULAI: The Health Ministry (KKM) will cooperate with the Education Ministry and the Orang Asli Development Department (JAKOA) to ensure the Orang Asli, especially children, obtain sufficient nutrients.

Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye (pix) said apart from the low level of immunisation, the lack of nutrients was among the factors contributing to the spread of measles among the Batek tribe in Kuala Koh, Gua Musang, Kelantan.

“The factor is also putting individuals at the high risk to be infected with the disease. As such special attention should be given through the implementation of a food programme (especially in school),” he said.

He was speaking reporters after opening a Good Academic Practice Sharing Day at Sekolah Kebangsaan Pos Raya, here today.

He said the lack of nutrients also complicated risks for measles patients especially children aged five and below, the elderly and patients of other diseases.

“So we will be expanding the food programme to ensure the Orang Asli community including those aged one to five get food supplements so that they do not suffer from such deficiency,” he said

Dr Lee said the ministry is also studying the best mechanism to improve the level of immunisation for all communities in the country.

He said the nomadic way of life of Orang Asli, especially the Batek tribe, made it difficult for health officers to provide immunisation jabs for children of the minority group.

“So KKM is studying how we could improve the level of immunisation not only for Orang Asli but for other communities as well.

Meanwhile, Dr Lee said the ministry would conduct continuous monitoring at Sungai Kim Kim in Pasir Gudang, Johor to ensure the situation is under control.

“Investigation is still going on to identify the source of the incident and we will continue to monitor so that patients are given emergency treatment,” he said.

In March, toxic waste pollution in Sungai Kim Kim caused more than 4,000 people to fall ill and resulted in the closure of 111 schools in Pasir Gudang district.

Yesterday, 15 students of Sekolah Agama Taman Mawar in Pasir Gudang experienced breathing difficulties and vomiting believed to be due to the presence of toxic gas.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad was reported as saying the symptoms appeared to be similar to toxic or organic gas poisoning seen in the Sungai Kim Kim incident. - Bernama

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