More foreign workers failing medical tests, says agency
Unitab Medic Sdn Bhd said that as of last month, this year's health screenings have seen an average failure rate of 3.1%, compared to 2.8% for the entirety of last year.
"As (of) February 2015, 179,004 of foreign workers passed and only 5,657 of them failed (the) Fomema medical examination, which is equal to 184,661 number of foreign workers registered with Fomema," said Unitab Medic in a press release.
Last year, 1,286,247 foreign workers passed the Fomema medical examinations while 37,294 failed, it said.
This was followed by Hepatitis B, with 4,203 (11%) workers testing positive for the disease.
1,371 (4%) workers last year failed the Venereal Disease Research Laboratory (VDRL) test, a blood test for syphilis, while 1,660 (4%) and 1,176 (3%) tested positive for cannabis and opiates, respectively.
1,157 (3%) of the foreign workers examined were pregnant, while 92 (1%) of foreign workers failed the psychiatry tests, said Unitab Medic.
"Tuberculosis or TB is an airborne disease – the bacteria is passed from person to person through the air when someone coughs or sneezes. People who are nearby may be infected after breathing in the bacteria," said Datuk Mohd Hatar Ismail, the president and CEO of Unitab Medic, during yesterday's annual Foreign Worker Medical and Chest X-ray Seminar in Petaling Jaya.
"The bacteria can attack any part of the body, but they usually stick to the lungs and people with TB disease are most likely to spread it to those they spend time with every day, like their family members or co-workers."
Yesterday's seminar, which attracted 300 participants, was organised to ensure stringent and high quality health screening of the foreign workers in Malaysia, said Hatar.
On November 12, 2014, Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Richard Riot said there was an estimated 6.7 million foreign workers in the country, but only 2.1 million had valid work permits. – March 9, 2015.