PETALING JAYA, Jul 7 – The deaths of two children in Serian after getting infected with rabies could have been avoided. Their family just didn’t have RM40 to seek medical attention at the Sarawak General Hospital (SGH) fast enough. Monica Mazlan, six, was bitten on her heel while her brother Jackson Mazlan, four, was bitten on his face in late April. Their deaths on Wednesday were the first human rabies fatalities in the country in nearly 20 years.
“My cousin-in-law is an odd job worker and my cousin is a housewife. Having six children aged between two and 12 years old, their parents sometimes face financial constraints. That’s the reality of life they are facing every day,” their auntie Doria Agang, 50, told The Borneo Post in an article published on Thursday.
Doria said the siblings were fine until after Gawai Dayak, which falls on June 1, but they started to act strangely. They were sent to the Balai Ringin Health Clinic for treatment. However, their conditions worsened on June 24, when Monica suddenly fell very ill and was admitted to Serian Hospital with her brother.
“Monica, who was normally quite shy, suddenly became alert and talkative. She also suddenly could talk in Bahasa Malaysia fluently. So we were all amazed as to what had happened to the poor child. Shortly after that, she was referred to the SGH as her condition worsened.
“As for the boy, he was already unwell after Gawai Dayak and he always appeared short of breath. So he was sent to Serian Hospital along with his sister (before they were transferred to the SGH,” The Post quoted Doria as saying. The two siblings remained in critical condition at Sarawak General Hospital’s intensive care unit their deaths.