Hospital too small for growing population

File Photo: Abang Johari (left) officiating at the earth-breaking ceremony for Miri Hospital’s additional building project here on Tuesday (Oct 27). Also seen are Fadillah (second left), Dr Sim (fifth right, partially hidden), and Lee (third right).

MIRI: The upgrading of the existing Miri Hospital is necessary to ensure that its services are adequate to meet the needs of the growing local population and the whole of the northern region.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the plans included increasing bed capacity, medical expertise, additional staff, and support services.

Citing the Department of Statistics Malaysia’s (DOSM) Population and Housing Census done in 2010, he said Sarawak’s northern region had only 823 hospital beds whereas the population is 650,343.

“Bintulu has a population of 220,048, Miri has 365,561, and Limbang’s is 86,571,” he said when officiating at the earth-breaking ceremony for Miri Hospital’s additional building project here today.

“Based on 1.3 percent growth per year, the population projection for Miri by 2025 is expected to be 428,657, while it is expected to be 789,376 for the northern region of Sarawak.”

He said the implementation of the construction project for Miri Hospital’s additional building was the initiative of the government to provide infrastructure for efficient and effective medical services in the form of encouragement, prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation — with quality assurance and efficiency in cost and time.

“This project is a touch point to the people of Sarawak. It will definitely be emphasised upon so that the quality of medical facilities can be improved and all basic facilities, medical infrastructure, and conducive infrastructure can be created in a comfortable environment.

“With the collaboration between the Health Ministry, Works Ministry, Public Works Department, and the contractor, I hope the implementation of this hospital project will be a success.”

Abang Johari said the 71.67-acre Miri Hospital, which started operating on May 6, 1996, had been officially opened by former Chief Minister Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud (now Head of State) on Aug 30, 1996.

On another matter, he said that there had been an increase in daily Covid-19 cases in Sarawak over the past few days but assured that the state government would continue to strive to curb the spread of the infection.

“(Sarawak Disaster Management Committee chairman) Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas is now having a discussion with the National Security Council via Zoom; we will take steps to keep an eye on the spread of Covid-19,” he said, noting in particular the Baki Cluster.

Also present were Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof; Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba; Deputy Health Minister II Datuk Aaron Ago Dagang; Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian; Transport Minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin; and Assistant Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Sebastian Ting.