MoH delays non-emergency surgeries due to H1N1 flu

National 2 minutes, 54 seconds


THE Ministry of Health (MoH) has postponed all non-emergency surgeries in a bid to protect patients from being exposed to Influenza A (H1N1) virus.

"These measures had been taken to prepare for any unexpected increase in hospital admission for H1N1 related illness," said the ministry, adding that such precautionary measures also help to avoid unnecessary exposures of patients from those carrying the virus to the ward.

According to information provided by the ministry yesterday, patients scheduled for such operations have been contacted regarding such changes as well as a new date for appointment in the clinic.

Surgeries could cause weakening of the immune system which in turn would increase the risk for catching the infection and complications, the statement said.

The ministry also assures the public that the haze which is currently affecting the Sultanate will not increase one's risk of catching the virus.

However any outdoor activities during this time can be detrimental to the health of those suffering from chronic disorders such as asthma and heart failures.

"Although the presence of haze does not increase the risk of catching H1N1, for a person who is infected, the haze may make their symptoms worst than expected. For patients with chronic lung or heart disorders, this may be serious," said the ministry.

The statement also clarified some misconception regarding Tamiflu's serious side effects to children.

The ministry explained that the anti-viral drug Tamiflu like most drugs have side affects.

Studies in the United Kingdom have shown that students who were given Tamiflu because of the symptoms had many side affects which included nausea, vomiting, stomachaches, pain, poor sleep as well as lack of concentration and confusion.

However, the ministry said, they still highly recommend those in vulnerable group, including children, the elderly, pregnant women and those with chronic diseases, to take a full course of medication if they were infected by H1N1.

The Department of Medical Services has also appointed a committee comprising specialists from Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha Hospital (RIPAS) to monitor H1N1 developments outside the country.

The committee will also discuss the pros and cons of treatment pathways of H1N1 and advice on how to manage the infection.

In response to questions about the current status of the flu in Brunei, the ministry said that it was not possible to state for certain at present if the number of new H1N1 cases will continue to increase or decrease. They will however continue to closely monitor the number of people seen with flu-like illnesses as well as any complications.

Updates with accurate information will be released to the public once confirmed after thorough analysis.

Meanwhile a flu clinic has been launched at all Health Centre to provide a more efficient service to patients who encounter any symptoms like fever, cough or flu.

The purpose is to single out any patients who have any signs of characteristics related to the flu.

Senior Medical Officer of the Health Services Department, Dr Hj Zulhilmi Pehin Orang Kaya Hamzah Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Hj Abdullah said that H1N1 in Brunei is " fairly a mild matter. Patients who were infected have recovered without tamiflu or anti-virals. It is more of a threat to pregnant women, children under five or people with chronic diseases like asthma or diabetes," he said, while adding that people who are sick should simply visit the nearby doctor. (MJH1 & GDN1)

The Brunei Times