The two siblings who died from rabies infection could have lived if their parents had RM40.
The parents of rabies victims Monica Mazlan, six, and her four-year-old brother Jackson, could not scrape together the RM40 needed to get the life-saving vaccine immediately after they were bitten.
The heartbreaking revelation came from the children’s aunt, Doris Agang, 50.
“My cousin-in-law is an odd job worker and my cousin is a housewife. Having six children aged between two and 12, they sometimes face financial constraints,” she told The Borneo Post on Tuesday.
“The two children were bitten sometime in April,” she said at the victims’ home in Kampung Paun Rimu Bakung, Serian.
Monica was bitten on her heel and her brother on his face.
According to Doria, the children seemed to be fine until after Gawai Dayak when their behaviour changed and they started to act strangely.
They were taken to the Balai Ringin Health Clinic for treatment but their condition worsened on Jun 24 and they were admitted to Serian Hospital.
“Out of the blue, Monica, who was normally quite shy and demure, suddenly became very alert and talkative,” Doria said, adding that the girl could suddenly talk in Bahasa Malaysia fluently.
“As for Jackson, he was already unwell after Gawai Dayak and always appeared short of breath.”
Doria said both children were transferred to the Sarawak General Hospital (SGH) as their condition deteriorated.
The siblings remained in critical condition at SGH’s intensive care unit and died on Tuesday.
Doria tearfully added that many villagers had offered to adopt Monica but her parents refused to let her go.
“Although their parents are poor, they loved all their children equally,” she said.