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Doctors Without Borders says more than 50pc female patients at its clinic seek antenatal care, urges govt to provide full care

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 2 — Doctors Without Borders (MSF) expressed its concern over inadequate medical care for Rohingya refugees particularly for adolescent girls.

In Malaysia, MSF clinics received more than 80 per cent of women patients aged 12 and older, according to MSF Amsterdam deputy medical director Mohana Amirtharajah.

From there, she said that over 50 per cent of the women who visited the clinic sought antenatal care.

“And if (we) specifically take the category of adolescent girls and see why they are coming to clinics over 50 per cent are for antenatal care.

“And I think it's hard to imagine a more vulnerable group than pregnant adolescent girls in a foreign country,” she said.

She added that the adolescent girls who came to the clinic claimed to be married and were accompanied by their male relatives.

In a press conference this morning, the international medical humanitarian non-government organisation (NGO) also hoped for proper antenatal care access for pregnant teenage girls.

MSF Malaysia head of mission Froukje Pelsma said they found several NGOs interested in helping but their main goal is to get the government to work together with their organisation.

“We hope that they get full access to antenatal care and the ANC book, which is now very expensive for them.

“These girls often come from Myanmar or Bangladesh (one in three arrived in the last two years), making a journey where they are exposed to risks like malaria, dengue, but even more frequently to sexual and physical abuse.

“We also work with other NGOs, so we have a kind of model that works. We reach out to the community to ensure that the women come to us,” she said.

She believed that Malaysia would be able to execute this as an upper middle income country.