However, the Health Minister, Datuk Chua Jui Meng, has not helped in any manner whether in controlling the viral outbreak or restoring public confidence when he lashed out against parents for the 27 deaths arising from the deadly viral epidemic.
The Star today reported:
"Speaking to reporters after opening the first meeting of the Health Council for the Aged, Chua hit out at parents for their tidak apa attitude.
"’The 27 died because they were brought in late for treatment,’ he said".
Chua Jui Meng is being most unfair to blame the 27 deaths on the parents for their tidak apa attitude. Such baseless charges in blaming the 27 deaths on the parents will only antagonise the parents concerned as well as the general public, without making any contribution whatsoever to bring the viral epidemic under control or to restore public confidence in the Health Minister’s handling of the viral epidemic.
There have been many cases of the deaths where the parents had brought them to the attention of the medical authorities, whether private or public, at the first available opportunity - and still this could not save their lives. How can Chua Jui Meng now blame the 27 parents for being responsible for the death of the infants because of their tidak apa attitude, as if this blanket charge could exonerate the Health Ministry from all responsibility for the 27 deaths?
The latest death arising from the viral epidemic has made world news - which is news Malaysia can do without, especially as international comments about the way the Health Ministry had handled the viral epidemic had not been very flattering.
The University of Nebraska Medical Centre in the United States, for instance, which has a web site tracking developments about the disease, said the following in its latest update on Sunday before the announcement of the latest 27th death:
"We have not heard any more news from any of the laboratories screening patient samples for a variety of viruses. Other than EV71, linked to HFM disease cases, there is as yet no news about any other viral agent that has been discovered in several of the patients who died…
"We note in passing that it remains unfortunate that the authorities continue to proclaim the cause of this event as a coxsackievirus when there is still no confirmed evidence to warrant this. As a laboratory that is very much interested in the pathogenic biology of the coxsackie B viruses, we would welcome contact by those scientists/clinicians who have isolated one of the CVBs in one, or preferably more, of these cases."
This is clear proof that the Health Minister has not only lost public confidence in the country in his handling of the viral epidemic, he has also lost the confidence of the international medical community as well.