Concern over mortality rates

KUALA LUMPUR - The Health Ministry has expressed concern over the country's infant and maternal death rates, which have not been reduced in recent years.

Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai yesterday called on health officials to submit data on infant and maternal mortality directly to the ministry to help determine the causes.

"The infant and maternal mortality rates should be continually reduced, but there has been no improvement over the past few years.

"We need to investigate this as other countries with less developed health services have begun improving in this respect," he said at the Kuala Lumpur Hospital (HKL) Nurses Day celebration last night.

He said during his recent trip to Turkey, he found that the country, which had once lagged behind Malaysia in health services, was now comparable to Malaysia.

"Turkey's maternal mortality rate is lower than Malaysia's although their infant mortality rate is slightly higher."

Malaysia's maternal mortality rate was 28 per 100,000, while its infant mortality rate was six per 1000 births, he said.

On another matter, Liow said he would visit HKL next week to check on the upgrading works.

HKL was allocated RM300 million (S$121 million) in the 2012 Budget for major improvements, including a new outpatient wing and state-of-the-art equipment.