Only health ministry to issue statements on flu outbreak, says minister

The health minister says it is important for teachers to promote hygienic practices among their students. (Bernama pic)

PUTRAJAYA: The health ministry is responsible for coordinating data and providing updates on the influenza outbreak, its minister Dzulkefly Ahmad said.

He said health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah will coordinate data from the states before issuing official statements.

“We (the ministry) are the custodian of health. We do not deny any quarters from collaborating with us to control the influenza outbreak, but to have statements issued at various levels can cause confusion and panic among the public,” Dzulkefly said after flagging off the Antibiotic Fun Run 2020 at the Malaysian Agro Exposition Serdang (MAEPS) near here today.

Terengganu’s Local Government, Housing, Health and Environment Committee chairman Dr Alias Razak had been quoted as saying he was disappointed with the ministry’s directive not to allow state authorities to issue statements on influenza situation.

Dzulkefly again stressed the need for teachers to promote hygienic practices among their students.

The most important way to reduce the spread of infections is to wash hands regularly with soap, he said.

He said the ministry would issue a statement on precautions to be taken, especially for those travelling during the Chinese New Year break next week.

On the increase in the price of influenza vaccine, Dzulkefly said the cost, which is not controlled by the ministry, is between RM35 and RM100.

“My request to healthcare providers is to make the vaccine price affordable. Do not overcharge,” he said.

Separately, on a report that the contracts of two doctors at Sibu Hospital had not been renewed without any reason given by the ministry, Dzulkefly said the matter would be investigated.

“It is unfortunate this has happened. I will get to the bottom of it, what more when we are in need of medical officers with such talent and credibility,” he said.