KUALA LUMPUR, May 10 – Long Covid prevalence in Malaysia among severe Covid-19 cases is estimated at 65.1 per cent, according to the Ministry of Health (MOH).
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said about two-thirds of people diagnosed with Category Four or Five Covid-19 experience post-recovery long Covid, where 61 per cent of them suffer more than two long Covid symptoms.
To compare, in a study by the University of Malaya (UM) conducted from July to September 2021 during the Movement Control Order, which has not been peer-reviewed, 21.1 per cent of 732 respondents who survived Covid-19 reported experiencing long Covid symptoms.
Common long Covid symptoms include fatigue, shortness of breath or breathing difficulties, cough, joint or muscle pains, insomnia (difficulty sleeping), muscle weakness, anxiety, brain fog, sensory changes, and skin lesions.
The UM study also found that those without symptoms or with mild symptoms of Covid-19 also reported experiencing long Covid at 10 per cent and 17.5 per cent, respectively.
Khairy said a total of 2,798 patients have undergone long Covid rehabilitation treatment via inpatient treatment and 6,432 patients through outpatient treatment at MOH facilities nationwide, as of April 2022.
“As many as 30 to 40 per cent of long Covid patients were able to return to work within three months after being infected with Covid-19, while 60 to 70 per cent were able to return to work within six months after being infected,” Khairy said in a statement today.
The MOH will continue to add more resources and equipment to treat and rehabilitate long Covid patients as part of a national strategy to protect and treat those at high risk of being infected with Covid-19, Khairy said.
The health minister noted that without specific and structured treatment, long Covid conditions can persist and affect an individual’s quality of life.
This can also result in increased morbidity, disability, decreased productivity, loss of source of income which will ultimately cause socio-economic burden not only to the individual, but also the patient’s family, society, and the national economy, Khairy said.
In July 2021, the MOH published the Post Covid-19 Management Protocol as a reference, covering various disciplines including primary health, infectious diseases, internal medicine, nephrology, cardiology, respiratory, obstetrics, paediatrics, psychiatry, and rehabilitation.
Khairy said individuals who experience serious long Covid symptoms that significantly impair the ability to return to work and to function can be referred to a hospital with rehabilitative medical expertise (as listed below).
List of hospitals and health facilities that provide rehabilitation services for long Covid:
Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur dan Putrajaya
- Cheras Rehabilitation Hospital
- Kuala Lumpur Hospital
- University of Malaya Medical Centre
- Hospital Canselor Tuanku Muhriz (formerly HUKM)
- Universiti Putra Malaysia Teaching Hospital (HPUPM)
- Daehan Rehabilitation Hospital Putrajaya
- Prince Court Medical Centre
- Gleneagles Hospital Kuala Lumpur
- Ara Damansara Medical Centre
- Sungai Buloh Hospital
- Serdang Hospital
- Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital (HTAR)
- Shah Alam Hospital
- Universiti Teknologi MARA Hospital
- ReGen Rehab Hospital
- Sunway Hospital
- Tuanku Jaafar Hospital, Seremban
- Rembau Hospital
- Bandar Seri Jempol Hospital
- Tuanku Ampuan Najihah Hospital
- Tengku Ampuan Afzan Hospital
- Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Hospital
- Raja Perempuan Zainab II Hospital
- Universiti Sains Malaysia Hospital
- Pulau Pinang Hospital
- Seberang Jaya Hospital
- Balik Pulau Hospital
- Sultanah Bahiyah Hospital
- Jitra Hospital
- Kuala Nerang Hospital
- Sultan Abdul Halim Hospital
- Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital
- Batu Gajah Hospital
- Sandakan Hospital
- Queen Elizabeth Hospital
- Sarawak General Hospital
- Miri Hospital
- Sibu Hospital
- Sultan Ismail Hospital
- Sultanah Aminah Hospital
- Kemaman Hospital
- Sultanah Nur Zahirah Hospital
- Dungun Hospital
- Melaka Hospital
- SOCSO Tun Razak Rehabilitation Centre