KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 19 — The Ministry of Health (MOH) has launched a virtual health advisory channel for people to consult family doctors for free amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.
MOH signed a memorandum of understanding with DoctorOnCall, a telemedicine platform that connects patients with its network of doctors and medical practitioners through audio or video calls.
Available from 8.30am to 5pm daily, the “Virtual Health Advisory” service is accessible on www.moh.gov.my through devices like mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and personal computers — provided they have cameras — via chat, audio, or video.
“This is a corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative by DoctorOnCall that enables the general public to access the Virtual Health Advisory programme for free for the first three months,” Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad said in a statement.
To access the “Virtual Health Advisory”, go to MOH’s website and click on the Covid-19 pop-up. It will then lead you to this page. Click on “Tanya Doktor”, scroll to the bottom of the page, and click “Tanya Doktor” in the grey section.
You will be required to enter your email address and IC number to register with DoctorOnCall, after which you can choose to speak to a doctor via chat or video on the site for an hour for free.
A doctor on the “Virtual Health Advisory” service told CodeBlue that there was a low risk of Covid-19 infection with symptoms like fever and sore throat if one did not recently travel or had known contact with a positive case. When asked if antibiotics were required, the government family medicine specialist recommended consulting nearby doctors for further assessment.
The “Virtual Health Advisory” service went live on February 17, according to Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah in a separate statement.
But while the consultation service is free, Dr Noor Hisham said the virtual health advisory channel is not meant for diagnosing or treating patients.
He, nevertheless, said the ministry welcomes the collaboration as it can help address concerns and reduce the need to physically seek advice on respiratory symptoms or Covid-19 in a clinic or hospital, and congratulated those behind the project.
“This Virtual Health Advisory is intended to help disseminate up-to-date/accurate information about Covid-19, reduce congestion in health facilities, and provide preliminary Virtual Health Advisory screening/triage to clients prior to attending health facilities.
“This collaboration is a new starting point in risk communication,” he added. “The diversity of platforms for accurate and fast delivery of information to all walks of life is important in today’s social media era.
“Not only do we have to face the virus, but also the viral!”
Meanwhile, two Covid-19 patients — cases 17 and 18 — have recovered and been discharged from hospital, Dzulkefly said. Both are Malaysians.
The first patient, a 65-year-old female, was previously admitted to Sungai Buloh Hospital after being confirmed with Covid-19 on February 9. She was in contact with the ninth Covid-19 case.
The second patient is a 31-year-old male who works in Macau, China. He was also admitted to Sungai Buloh Hospital after being confirmed with the coronavirus on February 9.
As of today, a total of 15 Covid-19 cases have been discharged from hospitals nationwide.
“No new Covid-19 case was reported to the National Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre (CPRC) today,” Dzulkefly added.
“The total cumulative confirmed Covid-19 cases in Malaysia remains at 22 cases, with seven cases still receiving treatment in hospitals.”