Flying doctor service improves accessibility to healthcare in remote areas of Sarawak

Today, I and the Regional Director of WHO, Dr Shin visited the base of flying doctor service and MEDEVAC at Miri.

The Flying Doctor Service was introduced in 1973 to provide basic health services to people living in remote areas. The service operates 3 helicopters that are chartered on a fixed monthly retaining fee with separate charges levied for flying hours rented under a contract with a private company. The helicopters are based in Kuching, Sibu and Miri and together, they cover 116 locations in the remote rural parts of the State with average attendances of about 37,000 outpatients, children and antenatal mothers every year. The Flying Doctor team comprises a medical officer, an assistant medical officer 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 served as cargo run to rural health clinics in delivering medical items and drugs. During disease outbreak in the state, the Flying Doctor Service helicopters are also used for quick transportation of field investigation and control medical and health teams.

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