The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) is in full support of the Health DG’s statement recently (on 8th November) stating that Covid-19 tests by the private sector can only be carried out at a private medical clinic, ambulatory care centre or private hospital.
The Health DG’s statement is timely as Covid-19 screenings have become commercialised and there is widespread advertising for the service.
Organisations advertising Covid-19 screening services must be registered with the health authorities. Their advertisements must also be approved by the health authorities.
As for on site screening, they can only be performed by clinics registered with the Ministry of Health.
All health facilities performing the swab tests are also required to self-declare that the tests will be conducted in full compliance to the MOH guidelines on Covid-19 swab tests.
It is also important that the public exercise due diligence by checking if the Covid-19 screening provider is trained to perform the swab tests and is a registered health care professional with the Malaysian Medical Council. The swab tests can only be performed by a trained health care professional or consumers can be at risk of injuries or health issues.
The Covid-19 screening (RTK antigen or RT-PCR swab tests) must also be performed under strict infectious disease control in full compliance to MOH guidelines. A proper sample must also be obtained from the swab test to ensure an accurate result. If done incorrectly, there can be a possibility of a false negative result.
MMA is deeply concerned that the lack of strict enforcement might open the door to widespread illegal Covid-19 screening services due to the high demand. If unchecked, it can put the health of the people at risk.
Last month, a 23-year-old model died from an alleged botched liposuction procedure. It was reported that the beauty salon performing the procedure did not have the proper licence to carry out the medical procedure. Similar type incidents must be prevented.
We urge the authorities to step-up enforcement to check on the legality of those providing Covid-19 screening services.
Dr Subramaniam Muniandy is president of the Malaysian Medical Association.
- This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of CodeBlue.