Health ministry not against alternative treatment

National 1 minute, 59 seconds


THE Ministry of Health will not prevent patients from seeking alternative forms of treatment as long as conventional treatment is still given priority.

The Minister of Health Yang Berhormat Dato Paduka Dr Hj Zulkarnain Hj Hanafi said that such treatment given outside of the ministry is permissible as long as it does not interfere or hamper the conventional treatment given by doctors.

“Regarding patients seeking alternative and more traditional forms of treatment, it is only human nature to do whatever it takes to recover from an illness,” he said.

“So whether or not alternative treatment is proven to be effective in combating certain illnesses, only Allah SWT knows best but as long as patients continue their treatment at hospitals and clinics, we will not stop them from seeking alternative treatment,” he said.

The minister said that the ministry should give patients suffering from serious illnesses every chance of recovery although treatment for serious illnesses are costly. “At this time, cancer patients are sent abroad to further their treatment when the treatment they require cannot be provided here and although this is costly, we must not give up on the patients’ treatment just because it is unavailable in Brunei,” he said.

The minister was responding to a question by LegCo member Yang Berhormat Hj Tahamid Hj Nudin who asked if the ministry would recommend patients suffering from serious illnesses such as stroke or cancer to seek traditional medication in addition to conventional medication in the early stages of the illness.

The LegCo member was of the opinion that the rate of success from modern, conventional forms of treatment does not differ greatly from traditional treatment options but that traditional treatment was a much cheaper alternative.

However, the minister responded by saying that the human factor trumps statistical considerations when deciding on the best course of treatment for patients.

“Speaking as a doctor, although the statistics show that a full recovery from cancer is not a given when undergoing treatment for it here at the Brunei Cancer Centre, at the end of the day we must try our hardest to cure the patients despite the odds,” he said.

“It is a matter of human lives that is at stake so although it is costly, we must provide patients with the best care to the best of what we know about fighting the illness,” he said.

The Brunei Times