KUCHING, Aug 28 — Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii hopes that the appointment of Khairy Jamaluddin as Malaysia’s Health Minister will spark a ‘fundamental reset’ of the country’s approach in overcoming the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a statement, Dr Yii congratulated Khairy on his appointment and said that it comes at a pivotal time.
“I would like to congratulate Khairy on his recent appointment as the 23rd Health Minister of Malaysia.
“His appointment comes at a pivotal time, especially to bring fresh perspective in leading our Malaysian National Health Agenda (ANMS) in the midst of a pandemic,” Dr Yii said.
He added that he initially hoped that the post of health minister would be upgraded as a Senior Minister to acknowledge the importance of the role during this pandemic and to spark a paradigm shift in the handling of health matters.
“With the same determination and focus that he and his team have brought to the Covid-19 vaccination effort, we hope to see him and his ministry get down to work and address some of the complex and multi-faceted issues in the current Malaysian healthcare system whether on a short — or long-term basis.”
Dr Yii also pointed out a few matters that Khairy should look into to set the tone and build the foundation for sustainable reform and renewal in Malaysia’s healthcare system.
“A new approach towards Covid-19 that is evidence-based, including a focus on the fundamentals of infectious disease control guided by the ground realities, lived experiences, and the expertise of all Malaysians.
“This includes a significant investment to strengthen the public health capacity to implement Find-Test-Trace-Isolate-Support (FTTIS) strategy alongside vaccination (V), and not at the expense of one another,” he said.
In order to prepare the nation to live with Covid-19 as an endemic, Dr Yii said strategic risk communication must be ramped up to explain the transition to endemic Covid-19 so that the public will be educated and prepared for the new normal.
He said the Health Ministry must be at the helm of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Plan (PICK) for better implementation and streamlining of bureaucracy.
“Secondly, a holistic plan to expand the public health service capacity while efficiently integrating private players into the pandemic response to deal with the current and future load arising from Covid-19, its potential variants, and future infectious diseases.”
Dr Yii said it included ramping up healthcare infrastructure in rural areas and addressing long-term manpower issues.
“This includes many longstanding issues such as the plight of contract doctors and also the chronic neglect of the health system and infrastructure especially in East Malaysia,” he said.
He also asked for better integration of science and technology into health, including proper and transparent use of data in Covid-19 detection systems for pandemic control.
Dr Yii remarked there must be integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) into health itself, including to improve public health measures such as contact tracing and surveillance.
“Also, an immediately review and plans to address the possible worsening prognosis and increase in mortality due to neglect of non-Covid19 cases during this public health emergency.”
Lastly, he said the Health Ministry should set a foundation for long-term reforms, including the formation of a ‘Health Reform Commission’ to ‘re-think’ and reform the healthcare system.
“With these initial five fundamentals, I do hope the minister and his team will be able to set forth a solid foundation for a better health system for our country.
“All these can be achieved through better and open engagements with all stakeholders including experts from the private sector, academia, non-governmental organisations and even the opposition,” said Dr Yii. — Borneo Post Online