Have you read the latest news?
KUALA LUMPUR: A National Service trainee who complained of an upset stomach after having lunch, died nine hours later at a hospital.
National Service Training Department director-general Datuk Abdul Hadi Awang Kechil said Too Hui Min, 18, died on Wednesday at 10.45pm at the Slim River Hospital in Perak. [link]
Another unfortunate event for National Service Programme, the 16th casualty related to the programme since it is introduced in 2004. Based on this statistic, do you think National Service (NS) is safe?
Every year, Jabatan Latihan Khidmat Negara (JLKN) promised to improve the quality of the programme to reduce the number of casualty, but to everyone's disappointment, the plan didn't go that well as they planned.
Welcome to the camp!
Why there is anymore people getting themselves sacrificed for the programme? What is actually about JLKN's plan? Until now they haven't make it clear to the public how they handled trainee's injuries and sickness, and how do they compensate the trainee's family should the worst happened.
From the previous records, we can see that medical issues (sickness and diseases) is the main cause of fatality in National Service, which "contributed" more than half of the figures.
Everyone is concern what can they do in order to prevent such disaster to happen in the future. JLKN is trying to clear up all these messes in order to maintain the pride of MoD; parents are concern whether want to send their kids to the camp in the future; and potential-trainees are questioning how they're going to embrace NS when their time is up.
M-16 rifle training.
One of the mandatory requirement to join NS is the trainee will have to do medical checkup at government clinics nationwide. This however, has been overlooked by the parents and the trainees.
A person can felt absolutely healthy and no problem, but that doesn't mean he or she is perfectly medical-fit to join the camp unless he/she do the medical checkup. There is a potential unknown disease, symptoms or sickness which the trainee didn't realised during their entire life. Well, you can only know what's the problem in yourself if you went for a checkup, that's kinda logical isn't it?
Another thing is that, the NS camp officers (based on my NS experience) doesn't really bother much if the trainee did not hand over a complete medical checkup report. They just treat it as if there's nothing happened.
Of course, they do have "special care" for those asthmatic, minor-disability, or mild cardiovascular problem etc trainees. What I mean by "special care" is that, the trainees will be given a nametag specific their problems which they're required to put on them everytime in or out of the camp. They can be exempted in physical activities (the major fun events). That's it.
The easiest way to prevent anything from happening is disallow them to carry out those potential-hazardous activities.
I can't say that their action is wrong, because sensitive trainees might get "attacked" even if they do the slightest activity, like jogging around.
Trainees at the initial stage of NS (boys haven't shaved yet). Photo by Anan Amri.
The trainees have to be responsible for themselves too. They know themselves the best, what can be possible dangerous for them, and they should not fake any evidence if they're medically-unfit to join the programme. I heard a trainee faked their medical checkup in order to join the programme but eventually something happened, luckily it's not life-threatening but he was brought out from the camp soon after that.
To add up the misery, is the hygiene and cleanness of the camp itself. Most camps are located in rural areas, surrounded by vast jungle, or situated next to a river or lake. This may contribute to more possibilities of contracting unusual diseases that rarely found in urban areas.
To rub more salt on the wound, the medical supplies and services in the camp is not satisfactory. I've heard this year they added few medical assistants in every camp, but I dunno whether that really worked out or not. It'll be good to have those professionally-train personnels around, should the trainee needs any sort of treatment, whether it's a physical injury from the trainings, or fatigue.
Sometimes, there's overwhelming response from the trainees which could keep those personnels really busy to deal with so many patients. In this case, sending the sick to the clinic or hospital would be the best choice. But.... many camps chose to deal with it internally rather than sending the trainees out to clinics or hospitals.
Trainees on holiday break. Photo by Anan Amri.
There is something to do with the attitude of the offers in the camp too. Many times I've seen trainees complaining to their teachers/trainers in the camp they're feeling ill and so on, but eventually they're all turn down by the officers. I know some of them are feinting, well some of them are really ill. It's just that the officers thought that the trainees are acting and therefore they turn down the request for inspection or treatment.
Such attitude of the officers.... is questionable. Sometimes there should be no delay to send the trainees to the hospital, because you know, time decides whether the trainee will be able to make it or not. Any dragging and delay, is possible to make the matter worse. Upon checking the records, some of the victims' family claimed that the camp officers do not send the deceased to the hospital in time, which may be the reason for the tragedy turning from bad to worst. It's sad to say this but it's all human error.
Let us pray that there will be no more such depressing news anymore in this year. It's hard to totally eliminate all the errors, because even if humans tried the best to prevent such thing to happen, it's all up to the person up there to decide one's fate.
Hope this is what every trainees will experience....
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