LETTER | The Malaysian public recognise that the nation is at a critical juncture with the Covid-19 pandemic spreading unchecked and health services overrun in crisis states.
We recognise that most national strategies so far are demonstrably failing and that Covid-19 is becoming endemic in Malaysia.
We would like to offer a Health Emergency Action Plan (HEAP). The aim of offering these ideas and making these suggestions is not to apportion blame or point fingers at failure but to offer a "Roadmap to Recovery from Covid-19".
The HEAP is based on three guiding principles:
- Trust is crucial to fighting the pandemic and this is based on transparency
- There must be an all-of-society approach
- And we need a set of solutions that are not lockdown-based.
The full document with ideas and suggestions is available from this downloadable link. The document is made freely available for use (open source). We also welcome all those who would seek to improve on these recommendations.
The key thrust of our recommendations are:
- Interrupting community spread of Covid-19 by having a comprehensive national testing strategy, tracing all contacts, enabling public self-test, home quarantined with monitoring, and limiting non-critical social interaction.
- Ramping up genome testing to monitor Covid-19 variants.
- Increasing support for MOH hospitals and clinics by improving conditions for contract staff, growing ventilation and ICU capacity, respite for staff and ensuring a multi-sectoral approach with civil society support.
- Data transparency and sharing with the public is important. The media should be engaged as partners to communicate better metrics that monitor the pandemic and hospital situation, as well as combat rumours and fake news.
- Strong co-operative leadership is vital and we propose a national coordinating unit that reports to the cabinet and to Parliament. Decision making should be decentralised to states to enable rapid local action capacity.
- Vaccination and vaccination sites need to be ramped up with less reliance on mega PPVs and better use of maternal-child health clinics, school health teams and general practitioners. Outreach programmes are necessary to reach those "not able" to register as well as non-citizens. While we want to fix "hot spots", equitable vaccination distribution is important for all states.
- Community responsibility and support is integral to making headway in this pandemic. This requires simpler, science-based SOPs, using RTK-Ag testing to enable a return to work, significant improvement in workplace ventilation and a safety net for the poor.
We realise that the worst is yet to come, and call for urgent effective action backed by political will and competence.
Although there have been calls for an "all-of-society" approach, this has not happened due to limited public engagement.
Now, as never before, we need to come together and work together to see our nation out of this turmoil.
Dr Amar Singh-HSS
Dr Khor Swee Kheng
Prof Dr Lokman Hakim Sulaiman
Dr Zainal Ariffin Omar
- Academy of Medicine Malaysia (AMM)
- Association of Malaysian Optometrists (AMO)
- College of Anaesthesiologists, Academy of Medicine Malaysia (COA, AMM)
- College of Physicians, Academy of Medicine Malaysia (COP, AMM)
- Malaysian Association of Dental Public Health Specialists
- Malaysian Association of Environmental Health (MAEH)
- Malaysian Medical Association Public Health Society (MMA PHS)
- Malaysian Pharmacists Society (MPS)
- Malaysian Society of Anaesthesiologists (MSA)
- Malaysian Society of Clinical Psychologists (MSCP)
- Malaysian Society of Intensive Care (MSIC)
- Malaysian Society of Occupational Safety and Health (MSOSH)
- Medical Assistants Association of Malaysia (PPPM)
- Medical Practitioners Coalition Association of Malaysia
- National Cancer Society of Malaysia (NCSM)
- Obstetrical & Gynaecological Society of Malaysia (OGSM)
- Perinatal Society of Malaysia (PSM)
- Persatuan Dermatologi Malaysia (PDM)
- Public Health Physicians Association of Malaysia (PPPKAM)
- Malaysian Health Coalition (MHC)
- Prof Dr Ahmad Hata Rasit
- Dr Andre Das
- Amrahi Buang
- Dr Azlina Firzah Abdul Aziz
- Prof Dr Asri Said
- Dr Christopher Ho Chee Kong
- Dr Hung Liang Choo
- Dr Khor Swee Kheng
- Dr Koh Kar Chai
- Dr Margaret Leow Poh Gaik
- Prof Dr Lim Kean Ghee
- Prof Dr Roslina Abdul Manap
- Prof Dr Sharifa Ezat Wan Puteh
- A/Prof Dr Shireen Nah
- Dr Siow Sze Li
- A/Prof Dr Uma Devi Palanisamy
- Prof Dr Zaleha Abdullah Mahdy
- Dr Zulkifli Ismail
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.