Medical Care Services

Medical Care Services in Sarawak are provided through 22 hospitals, which are located in major towns.

The Sarawak General Hospital is located in Kuching. It offers the following Clinical Services:

The Cardiac Centre began operations at a new facility in Kota Samarahan on January 1, 2011.

Three district's hospitals in Sibu, Miri and Bintulu offer specialist services, while 16 district's hospitals are without specialist services. There are also two special institutions -- Sentosa Hospital and Rajah Charles Brooke Memorial Hospital.

Health Service Delivery System

The backbone of the government healthcare delivery system in Sarawak is its static health facilities and mobile units. The static facilities cover about 70 per cent of the population and the mobile units like Village Health Teams and the Flying Doctor Service have increased access to almost 90 per cent.

In 1983, the Sarawak Health Department introduced a village health volunteer scheme known as the Village Health Promoter Programme, to enable basic healthcare to be provided to remote areas.

Sarawak has a two-tier referral system where cases requiring further treatment are referred from clinics to hospitals. Only those who need specialist care are referred to specialist clinics in larger hospitals.

Sarawak has 187 rural health clinics that function as ‘one-stop’ family health centres, providing an integrated service comprising maternal and childcare, general outpatient care and environmental sanitation. All clinics have rest beds and birthing facilities to encourage safe delivery among rural mothers.

The type of health facility in an area depends on the size of the population to be served.

Health Clinics (Type 3)

These are large urban clinics managed by medical officers. They provide general outpatient care, maternal and childcare, dental care and rehabilitation care. In addition, they also provide laboratory and radiological services. Some of these clinics are managed by Family Medicine Specialists.

Health Clinics (Type 4SS, 5SS & 6SS)

Type 5SS and 6SS clinics are smaller versions of health clinics and serve between 1,500 to 3,000 people. Except for the few type 4SS Clinics with medical officers, all rural health facilities are managed by allied health personnel.

Mobile Health Services

In addition to static facilities, the Sarawak Health Department also has mobile clinics in the form of Village Health Teams and the Flying Doctor Service, to serve those in less accessible areas. These teams either travel by road, river, on foot or by helicopter, depending on the accessibility of the areas they serve. In rural areas, Village Health Teams are based in rural health centres, while those serving pre-urban areas, are based at the Divisional or District Health Offices.

Flying Doctor Service

The Flying Doctor Service was introduced in 1973 to provide basic health services to people living in remote areas. The service operates three helicopters that are rented under a contract with a private company. The helicopters are based in Kuching, Sibu and Miri. Together, they cover 141 locations in the remote rural parts of the State with about 70,000 outpatients, children and antenatal mothers every year.

The Flying Doctor team comprises a medical officer, a medical assistant and two community nurses who visit the locations once a month or once in two months. The Flying Doctor Service also provides medical emergency evacuation (MEDEVAC) of seriously ill patients from the locality to the nearest appropriate hospital, from rural health clinics to hospital and from hospital to hospital. It also helps with cargo runs to rural health clinics, delivering medical items and drugs. During disease outbreaks in the state, the Flying Doctor Service helicopters are also used for quick transportation of field investigation and control medical and health teams.

Village Health Promoter Programme

Basic healthcare is also provided by community health volunteers who are trained under the Village Health Promoter (VHP) Programme. This is a community-based health programme introduced by the Sarawak Health Department in 1983 to provide basic health services to people living in remote areas.

Under this programme, participating villages send two volunteers each to undergo three weeks of structured training on a variety of health-related topics in a nearby health facility. At the end of the training period, the volunteers return to their respective villages and help provide basic healthcare. Staff from the nearest health facility provide medical supplies and supervisory support. In return, the volunteers provide regular reports on the types of illnesses they attend to. Up till the end of 2001, there were 2,956 VHP throughout the State, serving a total of 271,182 people from 1,664 villages.

‘Home-based’ Health Records

Another unique feature in the Sarawak Health Service is the use of ‘home-based’ medical records. The system was introduced in the 1970s for the child-health card, the 1980s for the antenatal card and in 1992, for the outpatient card. The main advantage of this system is that it ensures continuity of care for the patient, especially in children, where immunisation records are connected.

Oral Health Programme

The Oral Health Division, Sarawak Health Department renders oral healthcare through a comprehensive network of main dental clinics, specialist dental clinics, school dental clinics and mobile dental teams throughout the State. Oral healthcare for the population can be broadly divided into primary oral healthcare and specialist oral healthcare. However, healthcare is delivered through an integrated approach. Priority is given to school children, preschool children, antenatal mothers, the elderly and those with special needs.

Pharmacy Programme

The Pharmaceutical Service of the State Health Department is responsible for enforcing the poisons, drugs and pharmacy legislations, provision of pharmaceutical services and provision of drugs and non-drugs pharmaceutical supplies.

1Malaysia Clinics

1Malaysia Clinics are community clinics manned by medical assistants or paramedics capable of treating minor illnesses are available at the following locations:

* Lot 302, Blok 7, Teku Road, Sibu

* Lot 9746, Seksyen 65 KTLD, Tmn Lee Ling, Jln Matang, Kuching

* Lot 2350, Blok 5, LLD Jln Kuching, Tmn Tunku, Miri

* S/L 517, Sg. Plan, Tg. Kidurong, Bintulu, Sarawak

Open daily from 10am to 10pm, quality treatment is provided at a charge of just RM1 (non-Malaysians will have to pay RM15).