KUALA LUMPUR, August 31 — Khairy Jamaluddin told Ministry of Health (MOH) staff when clocking in as health minister yesterday not to ignore non-Covid health issues during the pandemic.
He also said MOH was not just the most important ministry during the Covid-19 pandemic, but the most important “foolstop because without health, nothing else matters”.
“I know there’s a pandemic, but do not let the urgent obscure all the other important things that we face,” Khairy said in a brief snippet of his speech uploaded on social media.
“We’ve been in the pandemic for the last one and a half years, but health care is more than just the pandemic, it’s more than just Covid-19.”
Cancer advocates recently warned the government that late diagnosis of the chronic disease during the coronavirus epidemic — as outpatient treatments were cancelled and elective surgeries deferred — would cut cancer patients’ survival and increase treatment cost.
MOH has not disclosed the number of cancer surgeries delayed during the epidemic or the number of non-Covid patients who died due to lack of access to public hospitals that struggled to cope with Covid-19 cases.
The Covid-19 epidemic continues to burn across multiple states outside the Klang Valley with rising infections, hospitalisations and deaths, amid severe under-testing with positive rates exceeding 20 per cent in four states — Sabah, Kedah, Kelantan, and Perlis — in the past epidemiological week from August 22 to 28.
Only Labuan’s outbreak appears to be well under control, with low case incidence and mortality rates, as well as a positive rate of only 1 per cent in the past two weeks from August 15 to 28.