MP SPEAKS | Data sharing key to combating Covid-19

Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad

Modified 19 Oct 2020, 10:47 pm

MP SPEAKS | Access to scientific journals today are virtually free, and scientists are making viral genomes freely available in the public domain. In the competitive scientific world, this sharing of new knowledge on Covid-19 is totally unprecedented.

In complete contrast, political leaders are ostensibly bent on lockdowns and hoarding of potential vaccines for parochial national interests, unlike data scientists, who are opening up and sharing data and insights for the universal benefit of mankind.

How can Malaysia emulate this altruistic gesture in our national data management?

1. In the current context, the knowledge of our pandemic is equivalent to the cases data collected painfully every day. It would be unfortunate if this knowledge data, collected through public funding and resources, are not made available to other state agencies.

2. Interagency data sharing in Selangor, case data particularly, was the key to halting the second Covid-19 wave. Let us be clear that data sharing is not equivalent to breaching patient privacy - methods were set in place previously on how to share data while protecting personal data privacy and confidentiality.

3. This was done before, thanks to the close cooperation and data sharing between the Health Ministry, National Security Council, and the Operation Centres of the Selangor state government. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said now...

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