It is appalling that the higher-ups in the civil service are totally not bothered about Hindu sensitivities, observes P Ramakrishnan citing his experience with medication supplied at a general hospital.
The Prime Minister and the Barisan Nasional have been very busy going after the Indian Malaysian votes. They seem to be addressing some issues to pacify the Indians in their attempt to win them. The Indian vote is very crucial to the BN and they are desperately trying to woo them.
But it would appear that they are not bothered about the sensitivities of the Hindus. It is appalling that the higher ups in the civil service are totally not bothered about Hindu sensitivities. They are indifferent and insensitive to the Hindus.
One good example is the medication that is provided by the General Hospital.
Those suffering from IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) have been put on the medication ‘Duspatalin’. I am one of those taking this medicine for a number of years.
This particular medication was easily available for some years now. But when I went for my supply in February, I was given ‘Mebetin’ capsules and the packaging was different. When queried, the explanation was that it is the same medicine – only the packaging was different.
On reaching home, my wife examined the box containing the medicine. Horror of horrors, she discovered printed on the box the wording “Bovine coated”. Immediately, she alerted me and told me that as an Hindu I couldn’t take it as there was a beef extract added to the medicine.
We went back to the hospital, met up with the pharmacist and told him of my predicament. He understood my problem, went to the back of the store and came back with 80 tablets of Duspatalin. That was all they had, he told me.
Another pharmacist, an Indian, came to see me and assured me that she would bring this to the notice of those above her. I was told that I would be contacted the following week.
But there was no call so I went to see them. This time they told me that they were trying to source the Duspatalin and had not been successful.
In the meantime I went to my private pharmacy to make enquiries. Fortunately they had this supply of Duspatalin. I went back to inform the hospital but I was told that they managed to source from the Bukit Mertajam hospital.
When I went back for my supply of Duspatalin in March, I was happy that it was available. I remarked that all Hindus must be receiving this from now onwards. “No”, he told me, “you are the only one in Penang receiving this.”
When I asked why, the reply was that I was the only one who complained!
This is preposterous! Most patients simply consume the medicine given to them. They hardly read the write-up; there are others who can’t read and therefore they are not aware that certain medicines are “bovine coated”. Also, many don’t understand what is “bovine”.
My wife is on Omeprazole for her gastritis. She has been on it for a number of years. In March when she went for her supply, she was given Omerprazole capsule, the packaging of which was different. She was assured that it was the same medicine. On reaching home, she discovered that this was also “Bovine coated”.
I had occasion to discuss this problem with a doctor when I went for my next consultation. I asked him why this was not raised with the higher-ups. His reply was that they had but the response from those above was, “They are a minority. If they don’t want to take, they don’t have to take.”
This kind of attitude is totally unacceptable. They are callous and indifferent and they don’t deserve to be where they are. They are a disgrace to the human race!
In the past, medicine used to be porcine coated. The Ministry of Health rightly stopped this in deference to the sensitivities of the Muslims. This is the correct thing to do.
By the same token, the sensitivities of the Hindus should have been addressed as well and taken care of. But it was not and deliberately so.
If the Prime Minister was not aware, no one can blame him or fault him. But now that it has been revealed what would be his reaction? Would he condemn those insensitive people who are not bothered? Would he direct the Ministry of Health to stop this indifferent attitude and put a stop to this atrocious behaviour?
Will he address the sensitivities of the Hindus as astutely as he is wooing the Indian votes?