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‘DOT’ treatment for TB could expand to private clinics

02 Apr 2012

The Ministry of Health and the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) are working together to try and expand the "Directly Observed Treatment" (DOT) method for treating tuberculosis (TB) patients to private clinics.

Under the DOT method, a care-giver directly observes TB patients taking their medication for six to nine months, in order to ensure that they are completely cured.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said: "If patients do not comply with the treatment plan, they will prolong the illness as well as raise the risk of communicating the disease."

TB patients who do not have caregivers can be treated as in-patients at government hospitals, while patients who refuse to comply with the treatment programme could be quarantined.

TB is currently the number one cause of death amongst all reported infectious diseases in Malaysia and the number of cases increased by 7% last year, with a total of 20,666 cases reported compared to 19,337 cases in 2010.

Liow added that the success rate of patients cured from TB was 80% and that the Ministry hoped to increase it to 85%. More health facilities are being made available for earlier diagnostic and more effective treatment purposes.

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