Monday, August 1, 2016

Malaysia - Responsibility to protect our kids

LAST week, news broke out that a 41-year-old in Negri Sembilan had contracted diphtheria.

Around the same time, a boy, 8, was also admitted to hospital for suspected diphtheria.

The latest development brings the total number of diphtheria cases nationwide to 15, five of which are fatal.

Diphtheria is supposed to have been eradicated by now. It can easily be prevented if one is vaccinated as recommended by healthcare experts.

Unfortunately, some parents choose to ignore the recommendations. They come up with various arguments, either from spiritual or health perspectives.

Some claim that the vaccines are not halal, hence they did not allow their children to be vaccinated.

Others cited conspiracy theories where vaccines are supposedly big business opportunities by unscrupulous pharmaceutical companies.

The debate has been going on, especially in the social media.

Those who are anti-vaccinations seem firm in their decisions. No amount of reasoning can influence them. I am fine with their decision if, and only if, it is for themselves. However, when it comes to protecting their children, I disagree with their stand.

The religious scholars had agreed that vaccines are allowed despite their questionable halal status. This is because bigger threats loom if one chooses otherwise.

The safety and health of individuals and the community at large are a bigger priority.

Secondly, parents who choose to not vaccinate their children are bordering on being irresponsible. It is their children who will unnecessarily suffer or even die from highly preventable diseases such as diphtheria.

Not only that, but they have also “helped revive” an otherwise eradicated disease.

Dr Nik Hisamuddin Nik Ab Rahman, associate professor at Universiti Sains Malaysia and head of Emergency Medicine Department at HUSM, stressed that our vaccination programme is among the best in the world.

The government has provided excellent support to the people for their health.

Many fatal diseases such as polio have been wiped out in Malaysia due to such vaccination programme. He added that the vaccine taken contains safe bacteria which had been deactivated.

These bacteria encourage our bodies to produce antibodies which can provide lifelong protection. Most are one-time doses except for a few vaccines which require boosters, such as hepatitis, meningococcal, influenza and tetanus.

Parents who are anti-vaccine probably think they are smarter than doctors. In doing so, they create unnecessary risks for their kids. So, let’s be more responsible and smarter parents. Let’s protect our kids today.

Zaid Mohamad

Zaid Mohamad coaches and trains parents to experience happier homes and more productive workplaces.

You can find older posts regarding ASEAN politics and economics news at SBC blog, and older posts regarding health and healthcare at IIMS blog. I thank you.

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