In North Borneo (which changed the name to SABAH in 1964), tuberculosis as a serious health problem was first recognized in early 1950's . Work to tackle this disease on a voluntary basis began with the formation in 1953 of North Borneo Anti-Tuberculosis Association which was popularly known as NOBATA - one of the oldest Non Government Organization or N.G.O. The idea of formation of NOBATA was mooted by a Roman Catholic priest named Rev. Fr. Roetenberg who used to visit patients in the hospital regularly and was appalled by the great number of people both young and old suffering from T.B, a disease at that time thought to be a dreadful disease with little or no hope of cure. Most of the senior government officers and their wives and important personalities of the society used to be members of this organization. When the state of North Borneo changed the name to SABAH, NOBATA changed the name to SABATA. It was affiliated to the National Organization known as Malaysian Association for Prevention of Tuberculosis or in abbreviation MAPTB in 1964.
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