Wed, May 14, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Yu lauds Kaohsiung's example

BATTLE LINES While the premier said that municipalities should each set up dedicated clinics, medical facilities are seen as the key to controlling the disease

By Chang Yun-ping  /  STAFF REPORTER WITH CNA

Premier Yu Shyi-kun yesterday ordered that each city and county nationwide should set up a special clinic for fevers and coughs in order to reduce the chances of "hospital shopping" by people with SARS-related symptoms

DPP Deputy Secretary General Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) yesterday quoted Yu as saying that, "Following Kaohsiung's setting up of such a specially designated fever-and-cough clinic early this week, the premier ordered each city and county nationwide to use the southern port city's model as a basis for establishing similar medical facilities to centralize the handling of patients with SARS-related symptoms."

The special clinic is aimed at early detection and diagnosis of SARS-related symptoms and to avoid "hospital shopping" in which the patients visit different medical facilities before they are finally diagnosed with SARS, Lee said.

Lee made the statements after the regular closed-door DPP Central Standing Committee meeting, which invited Director General of Department of Health Twu Shiing-jer (涂醒哲) and National Taiwan University Hospital Superintendent Lee Yuan-teh (李源德) to report on the current SARS-prevention work.

Twu indicated that even with the increasing number of cases -- most of which are related to the outbreaks at Taipei Municipal Hoping Hospital and Jen Chi Hospital -- the crux of the current epidemic control still depends on whether the spread of SARS can be contained within medical facilities.

Twu said that to prevent the spread of SARS within medical facilities, it is important to reinforce triage procdure at clinics and hospitals -- that is to say that small clinics should not send all the fever patients to medical centers, which might otherwise be overloaded.

Amid the temporary one-week closure of the emergency unit of NTUH for comprehensive sterilization, Superintendent Lee Yuan-teh said "the hospital is under tremendous pressure as the front-line medical institute to battle against SARS."

The Cabinet also dealt with a request from Taipei County Magistrate Su Chen-chang (蘇貞昌). Su had called for the central government to supply medical and security assistance as the county prepared to open its designated SARS hospital in the Taipei County Sanchung Hospital in four days time.

In response to Su's request, Premier Yu yesterday ordered the Ministry of the Interior to dispatch 100 policemen to boost security there.

Meanwhile, seven hospitals affiliated with medical colleges will support the government to work on laboratory diagnostic tests for the SARS virus, while the National Health Research Institute will concentrate its efforts in studying the virus, Su I-jen (蘇益仁), director of the institute's Division of Clinical Research, said yesterday.

Su said that the Cabinet's Department of Health has coordinated with the seven hospitals to share the work load of the institute. Those hospitals are: National Taiwan University Hospital, Linko Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Tri-Service General Hospital, China Medical College Hospital, Kaohsiung Medical College Hospital, Kaohsiung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital and National Cheng Kung University Hospital.

The laboratories of the seven hospitals are expected to take a total of 500 samples every day. The samples will be diagnosed using various methods -- including molecular tests, antibody tests and cell cultures, Su said.

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