Malaysia Boosts Health Care Capacity For Next Covid-19 Wave

Malaysia has 1,364 ventilators, 58 labs for coronavirus testing, 120 screening public hospitals, 40 hospitals that treat Covid-19, and PPE that can last for at least two months.

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 9 — The Ministry of Health (MOH) has prepared early on for the next Covid-19 wave in terms of logistics, human resources, protective gear, ventilators, and hospital beds, according to Dr Adham Baba.

The health minister said there is an increase in the number of public hospitals that conduct coronavirus screening, from 26 to 120. Hospitals that treat Covid-19 patients have also been increased from 26 to 40.

In his September 2 written parliamentary reply to Senator Ibrahim Shah Abu Shah, Dr Adham also stated that the number of beds in all hospitals for Covid-19 patients is enough. Besides, the MOH training institute can be used as a low-risk Covid-19 treatment centre if a higher number of beds is needed.

“In terms of human resources, MOH has implemented staff mobilisation strategies from various categories, such as specialists, medical officers, nurses, laboratory technicians and so on, for the hospitals that need them more,” Dr Adham told the Dewan Negara.

“Subsequently, laboratory capacity has also increased from 15 to 58 laboratories, including private and university laboratories. Personal protective equipment (PPE) sets have been increased and are now adequate; in fact, they can last for at least two months. Ventilators are now sufficient and have been increased, bringing 1,364 units for the whole country.”

Senator Ibrahim Shah had asked MOH to state the measures that have been taken by the ministry if the country encounters another Covid-19 wave.

Dr Adham also highlighted that MOH closely monitors the Covid-19 infection trend in Malaysia and other countries to ensure preventive control measures that can curb coronavirus transmission here.

“Control at the country’s international entrance gates is also enhanced, where all travellers upon arrival must go through a health screening process, swab retrieval for Covid-19 test, download the MySejahtera application, and undergo self-quarantine at quarantine centres for 14 days.

“Covid-19 testing with the antigen RTK (rapid test kit) at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and KLIA2 was started on 6 May 2020,” he added. “Currently, there are a total of nine units of biological safety cabinets to facilitate and accelerate Covid-19 testing at KLIA and KLIA2, respectively.”

Initiatives to empower the community to protect themselves from being infected with Covid-19 through the approach “Prevent and Educate, Charity, Obey and Monitor ”(CAPP) have also been implemented by MOH.

CAPP is intended to protect green areas to remain free from Covid-19 infection and to change districts under yellow zone to green zone within 14 days. Green zones designated by MOH are districts that have reported no new locally transmitted Covid-19 cases within the past 14 days, yellow denotes areas reporting one to 40 Covid-19 cases, while red marks districts with more than 40 new community coronavirus cases in the past fortnight.

As of September 8, the peninsula has recorded nine yellow districts in Kedah, Penang, Selangor, Melaka, and Pahang. In East Malaysia, Sarawak capital Kuching has reported one new local Covid-19 case, while Lahad Datu is red with 87 cases, followed by the yellow zones of Tawau and Kinabatangan with 40 and one case respectively.

“This initiative is to ensure the community is more responsible and to act as a frontline to protect oneself, family, and local community from Covid-19 transmission,” Dr Adham said.

“This approach — Empowering Community Responsibility — is also in line with one of the seven strategies that have been outlined for the implementation of the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO).”

MOH has also proactively detected cases in the local community by strengthening the Covid-19 surveillance system in the country. The surveillance system detects cases through screening among:

  • Cases of influenza-like illness (ILI).
  • Cases of severe acute respiratory infection (SARI).
  • Medical and health personnel.
  • Pre-surgical cases.

MOH also conducts active case detection among closely monitored contacts. Successful clusters are curbed rapidly through that approach, where infection is prevented from spreading widely in the local community.

At the same time, MOH conducts concentrated screening activities among nine target groups as follows:

  • Tabligh participants who took part in a gathering at the Sri Petaling mosque in Kuala Lumpur.
  • Tahfiz and madrasah students throughout the country due to the epidemiological chain connecting them to tabligh participants from the gathering at the Sri Petaling mosque.
  • MOH medical and health staff.
  • Residents in localities placed under all types of enhanced MCO.
  • Travellers from abroad.
  • Identified market traders who are related to Covid-19 clusters detected at the Kuala Lumpur wholesale market.
  • Foreign workers in the construction and security sectors around Klang Valley.
  • Residents and employees at aged care homes.
  • Detainees and staff on duty at immigration detention centres.

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