Here are five simple lessons we can learn from the recent outbreaks!

By Eve Bandusena | Parents Avenue’s Writer | Images by Freepik

Let’s admit it, this year began with a rough start. A polio case resurfaced after a nearly three-decade clearance right here in Sabah, in January the sudden localized outbreaks of H1N1 made the national headlines and coming into February the news of the Coronavirus is finally simmering down, thankfully! And, with all these outbreaks happening concurrently, there is a worthwhile question we have to ask ourselves… 

What are the lessons we can learn from these recent outbreaks?

Dr. Justin Chai, resident medical officer at Gleneagles Hospital Kota Kinabalu leads us through some sobering lessons on being better prepared not only as parents but as a whole community in handling tricky situations should they arise.

#1 Prepare, Prepare, Prepare!

“Every healthcare professional will agree that ‘prevention is always better than a cure.’ To prevent getting ill, we should always be prepared at times of peace and wellness,” he opens up.

“I would like to stress that the preparation of essential first-aid kits and ready stock medications in the fridge, in this case, won’t be quite enough. We must also be prepared mentally and knowledge-wise to handle these emergencies and illnesses when they arise,” Dr. Justin adds.

Lastly, he adds that public awareness and education about these diseases are important and they should take the time to better understand these common illnesses before they arise in they’re communities.

#2 Getting your child vaccinated is crucial!

“Vaccinations are very important for children as it creates a base protection and immunity towards preventable and serious diseases such as mumps, measles, rubella, pertussis, diphtheria, polio and many others,” Dr. Justin stresses. 

He further explains that children have weaker immune systems as compared to adults and this leaves them vulnerable to these diseases. 

“The occurrence of these diseases are unpredictable, and children deserve to be fully immunized against them at all times. I would strongly recommend to seek advice from your paediatrician regarding vaccinations available to your children in this matter,” he says.

He brings up another point to support his statement.

“In recent news, we heard that there have been reported cases of the occurrence of polio amongst children in Sabah, the state government with the Ministry of Health has launched an oral polio vaccination campaign to eradicate this disease in the community,” he shares.

“The effects of polio disease are life long and devastating towards all individuals. I strongly urge all parents to support this campaign and vaccinate your children. Further information about this is available at all Klinik Kesihatan(s) in Sabah,” he lastly adds.df

#3 Don’t spread misinformation!

“Spreading misinformation and fake news is a serious offence against the law in Malaysia. This may cause mass public hysteria which is considered as a disaster condition. This state of panic and disarray will definitely disrupt our normal lifestyles, activities, and cause much more problems within our communities, states, and nation,” he says.

“We should always practice common sense, ask and do some research on things that we do not understand. It is our job as health care professionals to provide people with answers and advice regarding their concerns. So please make use of us!”

#4 Always practice good hygiene! 


Practising good hygiene is pure common sense and reflects good manners too, according to Dr. Justin. “I believe that all of us will take a bath and clean ourselves every day because this is basic hygiene. Good hygiene like washing your hands properly before meals and covering our mouth or nose when coughing or sneezing will not just prevent you from getting sick but also stops the spread of common diseases like the common cold and the flu,” he says.

#5 Just because the disease is forgotten, doesn’t mean it’s disappeared!


“I can clearly remember that the last influenza outbreak that caused quite a stir was about 10 years ago,” Dr. Justin recalls.

“It returned this year causing a nation-wide panic and public disarray. There are still many other diseases that may occur seasonally or periodically. So, always be on the lookout for certain illnesses happening in your community and be vigilant in preventing the spread of those diseases.”

“Once again, I would like to stress that we all should always be prepared by learning and educating ourselves about the true facts of common illnesses, how to prevent and managing them effectively. ‘Prevention is always better than the cure.’ Be safe, be healthy and be happy!”

You may contact Gleneagles Kota Kinabalu Hospital at 088-518 888 or visit the hospital at Riverson at Sembulan. Visit their website at Follow them on Facebook for latest updates. 

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any diseases. At Parents Avenue, we strongly recommend all our readers to seek medical advise from your local hospital or clinic. Thank you. 

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