KOTA SAMARAHAN, July 6 — The Sarawak Research and Development Council (SRDC) will be collaborating with two internationally renowned infectious disease research centres on setting up the Sarawak Infectious Disease Centre (SIDC) here, state Education, Innovation and Talent Development Minister Datuk Roland Sagah Wee Inn said today.
He said he had recently led a delegation from Sarawak to Imperial College London and the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute in Basel, Switzerland for discussions.
“We want to have some collaboration with them, and I think our discussions with them were fruitful and, of course, we want them to come here and do research with us,” Sagah told reporters after witnessing the handing over of the site clearing and earthwork package for the construction of the SIDC from project management Borneo Development Corporation Sdn Bhd (BDC) to Kejuruteraan Syatek Sdn Bhd.
He said the collaboration will also give opportunities to local experts and researchers on tropical diseases in Sarawak.
Sagah said SRDC will also courting Sarawakian researchers and professionals based abroad to work at the centre.
“There are many Sarawakians who have the required expertise working overseas and we want them to come back,” he said.
He said the SIDC, a research facility implemented by SRDC, is to ensure that Sarawak has the capacity and capability to respond to any outbreak.
He said the SIDC, which will be categorised as a high level three research centre, will have the capacity, resources and scientific knowledge to protect Sarawak by improving research on infectious diseases.
He added it will be able to produce and stockpile the medication, vaccines and equipment necessary to contain any outbreak or spread of such diseases and to protect and treat those affected.
Sagah said the SIDC will have the ability to effectively respond at the state and local levels in the event of a pandemic in Sarawak.
He added a 3.8ha site at the centre has been earmarked for a field hospital with up to 1,000 beds.
He said the facility can be built in a matter of days in the event of a pandemic.
Sagah said the RM200 million SIDC is expected to be completed in 2024.