The Flying Doctor service will be reintroduced in Sabah as it is found that there is a need for such a service for the residents in the rural areas.
Sabah Chief Minister Mohd Shafie Apdal (photo) said many village residents in the rural areas were still found to be facing difficulties in seeking treatments at clinics or hospitals due to the distance involved.
‘’The flying doctor service will be revived because the residents in the rural areas still need it.
‘’I want the health service to reach them. Sabah Air will implement the task through corporate social responsibility for rural health,’’ he said.
He was speaking at a press conference after witnessing the handing over of a Rural Day Hostel of SK Balambangan financed by Petronas to the Education Ministry (MOE) at Balambangan Island near Kudat today.
Petronas’ senior vice president Raiha Azni Abdul Rahman symbolically handed over the hostel to the MOE School Management Division deputy director (students’ affairs) Faridah Yang Razali.
Also present was Petronas president-cum-CEO Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin.
Shafie said Sabah’s vast area was one of the factors why the health service did not reach the people staying in the rural area.
He was confident the flying doctor service could be implemented following the full takeover of Sabah Air. Prior to this, 40 percent of Sabah Air belonged to a private company.
The chief minister said the reintroduction of the flying doctor service would be studied further, including involving the mapping of suitable areas for the service.
He said the Health Ministry had also been informed about the reinstatement of the service.
The Flying Doctor’s service for isolated villages in the Sabah interior was terminated by the Health Department in 2016 after 41 years of service.