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Sarawak Will Soon Have Its Own Public Health Lab In Kuching

Sarawak Will Soon Have Its Own Public Health Lab In Kuching

The state will no longer have to depend on labs in other states to diagnose and confirm epidemic diseases.

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According to the Ministry of Health, a Health Laboratory Complex will be built in Kuching, Sarawak. Initial works for the project had been approved under the Fourth Rolling Plan of the 11th Malaysia Plan.

What you need to know: The complex will be located at Batu 11, Jalan Kuching-Serian and comprise of  Public Health Laboratory, a Food Safety and Quality Laboratory, as well as an Infectious Disease Laboratory which can be used to conduct Covid-19 detection and verification tests.

Separately, the testing capacity for Covid-19 in the state is currently at 2,226 tests per day.

This is because special molecular laboratories to detect and verify Covid-19 had already begun operation in five hospitals in Sarawak; Sarawak General Hospital; Sibu Hospital; Bintulu Hospital; Miri Hospital and the Sarawak Heart Centre.

On top of that, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak and the Borneo Medical Center can also conduct the same tests.

Why it matters: While Sabah has had a Public Health Laboratory located in Kota Kinabalu since 2001, Sarawak does not have a centralised and certified government health laboratory. 

Sarawak has had to depend on certified labs in other states to diagnose and cope with any form of epidemic diseases. For example, the state has been sending specimens to the Institute of Medical Research (IMR) in Kuala Lumpur, which means that confirming results takes longer than it should.

How it got here: The issue was highlighted during Dewan Rakyat through a question from Datuk Robert Lawson Chuat (GPS-Betong) who asked if MOH planned to establish a special laboratory to diagnose infectious diseases such as COVID-19 in Sarawak.

Read more:
MOH to build health laboratory complex in Kuching (Bernama)
Necessary to set up public health lab in Sarawak – Dr Annuar (The Borneo Post)

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