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Temiar Health

The Temiars have been given some of the worse living conditions in the country. Moved from their ancestral land by the Malaysian Government, many now suffer poor health conditions.





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Dee Baer, who has written a book about Orang Asli health issues, has some recent (January 2000) news about the poor health of many Temiars in Malaysia. The statistics quoted below are quite alarming, particularly for an advanced country like Malaysia.

According to the references listed below, there is now good information of the poor health conditions for the Temiars. The Ariff and Rahmah reports are overlapping reports of the same study on Brooke.

These 4 reports show that all ages have health problems and strongly suggest that children are the most unhealthy. Most kids (ages 1 to 10 or 12 yrs.) seem to have 1 or more intestinal worms (including hookworm), with 60% at Pst Brooke having at least Ascaris. Most also have intestinal protozoa species, with 62% having Entameba histolytica in Temengor kgs.--which also had 39% of kids with malaria.

While filariasis was rare (max. 11% in all ages studied in Temengor), dental caries were common (35% of kids at Brooke and 19% of all ages at Piah). The Brooke kids also had 45% of them showing clinical signs of anemia (Hb <10 gm/dl). And for all ages, 38% of Piah Temiar had signs of vitamin A deficiency.

Beyond this, it appears that 50% of families at Brooke reported having had 1 or more children die.

Brooke was reported to have medical teams visit 4 times/yr. and a small clinic with a medical aide; Ramah et al. urged that a large, well-staffed clinic be placed there. The Temengor area has a medical post near Ulu Banum and some (unspecified) visits by a medical team; logging occurs near the study sites of Kg. Samlor and Sg. Tekam and the 2 villages have no piped water supply or toilet facilities. Karim et al. urged that poured latrines and gravity-fed piped water be provided to the 2 sites. Piah has some sort of "health activities" (largely unspecified). Norhayati et al. made no recommendations for improving health at Piah.


Ariff, R. H. T., et al. Health status of aboriginal children at Post Brooke, Kelantan. Malaysian J. Child Health 9 (1): 60-64, 1997.

Karim, R., et al. Parasitic infections in the aboriginal community at Temengor, Hulu Perak, Malaysia. Malayan Nature J. 48: 425-432, 1995.

Norhayati, M., et al. Health status of Orang Asli (aborigine) community in Pos Piah, Sungai Siput, Perak, Malaysia. S. E. Asian J. Trop. Med. Pub. Hlth. 29 (1): 58-61, 1998.

Ramah, N., et al. Parasitic infections among aborigine children at Post Brooke, Kelantan, Malaysia. Med. J. Malaysia 52 (4): 412-415, 1997.

We wish to thank Dr Dee Baer for the above information