KUALA LUMPUR, July 29 — The Ministry of Health (MOH) spends approximately RM18,270 to treat one severely sick Covid-19 patient for an average hospital admission period of three weeks.
The estimated median cost of treatment for Stage 4 and 5 Covid-19 patients is RM870 per day, translating to RM18,270 for 21 days’ hospitalisation, as stated by Health Minister Dr Adham Baba in a written Parliament answer to Kuala Kedah MP Dr Azman Ismail on July 28.
According to MOH, Covid-19 patients in the country are classified in five stages:
Stage 1: Asymptomatic
Stage 2: Symptomatic without pneumonia
Stage 3: Symptomatic with pneumonia
Level 4: Symptoms with pneumonia and require oxygen support
Level 5: Critical patients with multiorgan involvement
As of yesterday, Malaysia recorded 124 Covid-19 deaths from a total of 8,943 cases, or 1.39 per cent of the total cases. That shows the effectiveness of Malaysia’s treatment protocol for the coronavirus, said Dr Adham.
It is to be noted that Covid-19 patients get free treatment in MOH hospitals.
Dr Azman had asked the health minister to state the treatment protocol for critical Covid-19 patients and its success rate. He also raised a question on the estimated cost of treatment per person.
“Since the Covid-19 outbreak, MOH has developed a treatment protocol, which is updated based on the recommendations of international bodies such as the World Health Organization (WHO), scientific study, and effectiveness of treatment on patients in Malaysia and abroad,” said Dr Adham.
“To date, there is no specific medication to treat Covid-19. The latest treatment protocol is based on the clinical stage of Covid-19, clinical status of the patients, laboratory and radiological test results, as well as patient treatment plans.”
According to the health minister, Covid-19 patients from stage 4 and 5 will be placed in the intensive care unit (ICU) which involves multidisciplinary involvement for comprehensive care.
Treatment protocol for intensive patients is as follows:
Ventilatory and Non-Ventilatory Respiratory Support
For serious and unstable patients, respiration aid or oxygen support will be provided.
Antiviral, Antibiotic and Immuno-modulatory Treatments
At this point, the medication given to a patient is based on the clinical stage of the disease and condition of the patient. Antiviral drugs and immunomodulatory drugs will be given to improve the response of the body’s immune system. Antibiotics will be given if the patient is suspected or confirmed to have a bacterial infection.
Prophylaxis Treatment for Venous Thromboembolism
This treatment is only given to patients who are in the stage 4 and 5 to prevent blood clots in the blood vessels (Venous Thromboembolism) which can cause death. Prophylaxis generally prevents infections.
Intravenous fluid or infusion treatment will be given to patients to maintain hemodynamics and avoid the occurrence of a life-threatening acute shock. Inotropic medications are also given to patients if needed.
Providing nutrition through Naso Gastric Tube feeding to the patient will be started within 24 to 48 hours after patients enter the ICU.
Apart from these treatments, the patient’s blood and sugar rate will be monitored. The treatment protocol involves providing prophylaxis medication to avoid stress ulcer.
As of July 28, the rate of Covid-19 patient recovery and hospital discharge in Malaysia is 96.2 per cent, higher than the global recovery rate of 58.08 per cent.
“While 290 patients were critically ill and received treatment in ICU, a total of 189 people (65.2 per cent) have been recovered and discharged,” Dr Adham said.
“The patient outcome is affected by age and pre-existing diseases, including high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and kidney failure. Patient outcome was also influenced by complications caused by Covid-19, such as the formation of blood clots in the lungs known as Pulmonary Embolism, the body’s excessive immune system response (cytokine storm), as well as damage to lung tissue which can cause bacterial infections.”
Nigeria is spending N100,000 (RM1,090) per day to treat mild and moderate Covid-19 patients in the country.
CNBC reported that the average cost of hospitalisation for Covid-19 patients in the United States of America reaches up to $30,000 (RM127,464).