KUALA LUMPUR, April 8 – Batu Gajah Hospital is the first public facility in Perak to provide treatment and rehabilitation for long Covid patients in a ward that officially opened on January 1 this year.
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, during a working visit to Batu Gajah Hospital last Tuesday, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) facility’s long Covid and rehabilitation ward was created under the Ipoh Hospital cluster.
He said the ward was initially a rehab ward that has been operating since 2012. Last year, the ward in Batu Gajah Hospital was used as an additional Covid-19 ward with a capacity of 22 beds.
“In January 2022, with the cooperation of the Perak state health department and the Ipoh cluster, this ward was turned into a Long Covid and Rehabilitation Ward with the capacity of 16 beds,” Khairy said in a statement.
“This initiative is aimed at helping long Covid patients who need rehabilitation to return to normal life.”
Batu Gajah Hospital said separately that its long Covid ward aims to implement individualised measures for targeted patients, with the potential to minimise the loss of functions, to restore functions, and to compensate for the loss of functions in long Covid patients.
“The management of these patients comprises physiotherapy, oxygen therapy, health education, mental health, and psychosocial support with other multidisciplinary approaches,” said Batu Gajah Hospital.
Khairy told the Dewan Negara recently that as of last February, 25,122 Covid-19 patients have been given follow-up treatment appointments for persistent symptoms after their discharge from hospital for their acute conditions.
According to the health minister, most long Covid patients in Malaysia experienced lethargy, at 75.1 per cent. This is followed by shortness of breath when performing certain activities at 63.1 per cent, cough (14 per cent), difficulty sleeping (8.6 per cent), and anxiety (3.8 per cent).
A University of Malaya study found that women had a 58 per cent higher chance of experiencing long Covid than men.
The local research also found that those without symptoms or with mild symptoms reported experiencing long Covid (10 per cent and 17.5 per cent respectively), compared to those in the moderate (26.7 per cent) and severe (30.4 per cent) categories.
Most long Covid treatment programmes are currently concentrated in the Klang Valley, such as university hospitals University of Malaya Medical Centre and Universiti Teknologi Mara Medical Centre; MOH facilities Cheras Rehabilitation Hospital, Kuala Lumpur Hospital, and Sungai Buloh Hospital; as well as private facilities such as ReGen Hospital, Daehan Sunway, Prince Court and others.
Sunway Medical Centre also plans to establish a post-Covid recovery clinic.