A total of 381 childcare centres nationwide were closed from January until July 14, following the spread of the hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD), said Health deputy director-general (Public Health) Datuk Dr Azman Abu Bakar.
He said the closure involved 179 nurseries, kindergartens (181) and schools (21)
“Thankfully we took immediate preventive measures and so far there has been no fatalities. The disease has remained endemic, but it is under control,” he told reporters after officiating the 9th National Public Health Conference here today.
Elaborating he said 31,087 HFMD cases were reported nationwide between January and July 14 compared to 21,841 cases in the corresponding period last year which was a 42.3 per cent hike.
He added that based on analysis of HFMD cases there was no increase in number of cases in Sabah and Sarawak.
He said parents whose children have symptoms of HFMD, should not take them to public places or send them to childcare centres and to make sure that their toys and belongings were properly washed and disinfected.
Azman added that community empowerment must be improved to ensure that the public have a good understanding of their role in taking good care of their health.
“From our observations, the challenge for public health is very much the attitude of the community itself. As such we must engage with the community to ensure that their voices and views are heard while ensuring that all health policies are implemented effectively.” he said
The biennial conference jointly organised by the Negri Sembilan Health Department and the Malaysian Public Health Physicians Association (PPPKAM) was attended by over 700 healthcare professionals, academicians in public health as well as medical and dental officers.
Also present were Negri Sembilan Health director Dr Zainudin Mohd Ali and PPPKAM vice-president Professor Datuk Dr Syed Mohamed Al-Junid.