Malaysia: Orang Asli provide feedback on the way forward for Orang Asli health

    The Director of the Gombak Orang Asli Hospital introducing the purpose of the Roundtable meeting.

    In a first-ever consultation of its kind, the Orang Asli Hospital at Gombak (HOAG) organized a 3-day roundtable to deliberate on a strategic plan for the advancement of Orang Asli health, from 15-17 April 2016 at Seri Malaysia Hotel on the slopes of Genting Highlands.

    Organized under the auspices of the Public Health Section of the Ministry of Health, about 60 Orang Asli individuals and representatives of Orang Asli NGOs discussed for a full day, in 3 workshop groups, on what they thought the issues were and what can be done to resolve them.

    The outcomes of the discussions were presented to the Deputy Director-General of the Ministry of Health the following morning.

    Some of the issues raised included close birth-spacings, rise of alcoholism and drug use, issues with the community feeding and food basket programme, sanitation and water supply issues, problems of malnutrition, early marriages, access to health services, creating awareness of matters, and more.

    It should be stated that ever since the Ministry of Health took over the administration and functioning of the Orang Asli Hospital in Gombak, and of all health centers for the Orang Asli throughout the Peninsular, we have seen major improvements in the delivery of healthcare to the Orang Asli.

    There are, however, still some areas where more can be done, as the workshop participants pointed out. Nevertheless, it is heartening to note that there are doctors and healthcare specialists who really have the wellbeing of the people in their scopes.

    CN-COAC | 18 April 2016

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