Despite the language barrier and incomplete documents, Medilink has overcome the challenges
The success of National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (NIP) relies on almost every eligible resident in Malaysia getting fully vaccinated, regardless of citizenship status, in the quickest possible time.
In efforts to ramp up the vaccination rate in the nation, the government opened several mega vaccination centres (PPVs) and integrated private medical practitioners (GPs) to speed up the vaccination process under the NIP.
Medilink Healthcare Sdn Bhd (Medilink) was appointed to run three mega PPVs and its group of clinics and has been actively helping vaccinate the Klang Valley population, notably foreign workers, refugees and the undocumented.
Medilink founder and CEO Dr Mohd Jahaberdeen is glad to be part of the NIP, implemented by ProtectHealth Corporation Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of the Ministry of Health (MoH).
Good turnout at PPVs
It’s no surprise that Medilink has been appointed by ProtectHealth to run the three PPVs.
“We have partnered with ProtectHealth since 2016. All eight branches of Medilink Healthcare clinics are the panel clinics for ProtectHealth’s Skim Peduli Sihat untuk Kumpulan B40 (PeKa B40),” said Dr Jahaberdeen, adding Medilink welcomed the experience of handling three PPVs (Public, CIVac and RiVAC).
“Based on our performance and experience in managing the PeKa B40 programme, we were appointed to participate and support the NIP through the Vaksin Covid-19 programme.”
Medilink was first assigned to operate the Panasonic Sports Complex PPV at Shah Alam for the Construction Industry Vaccination Programme (CIVac)
“We began operating the Panasonic Sports Complex PPV from July 16. After assessing our capabilities in managing the PPV, we were then assigned to operate two more PPVs, Dewan Kemuning Utama for the public and Bandar Utama for the Retail Industry Vaccination Programme (RiVAC).”
Based on the size and capacity of each of the PPVs, Medilink was assigned to complete a certain quota of vaccine doses.
“At Panasonic, we will soon be completing over 40,000 doses, while at Kota Kemuning it is about 50,000 doses, and at Bandar Utama, 30,000 doses. So, in total, that’s 120,000 doses to be given out at the PPVs that we manage.
“We have about 120 medical staff and 100 support staff and volunteers hired to operate and manage the PPVs with registration, vaccination and so on. Each centre has at least six doctors present at all times.
“Although it is temporary, we are glad to be able to provide job opportunities during these trying times,” added Dr Jahaberdeen.
Meanwhile, the Medilink group of clinics also provides Covid-19 vaccination for those given appointments through their MySejahtera app.
“We also provide drive-through Covid-19 screenings and vaccination at some of our clinics, which is more convenient for those with mobility disability and also helps to prevent overcrowding.”
According to Dr Jahabeerden, the vaccine recipients tend to be those residing nearby the respective clinics.
When asked about the participation rate at the PPVs, Dr Jahaberdeen shared that the turnouts were at about 85 per cent at the Public PPVs.
Meanwhile, at the Industry PPV, after the walk-in vaccination sites were open, the turnout dropped from 70 per cent to 50 per cent.
Moving forward, Medilink is looking at managing PPVs that will be opened outside the Klang Valley. As the vaccination targets are being met in Kula Lumpur and Selangor, the government is looking to accelerate the vaccination rate in other States.
Dr Jahaberdeen shared that Medilink was handed both the Pfizer and Sinovac vaccines, which needed to be handled differently.
“Sinovac is delivered every morning at about 6am, and it is much easier to store. If we have a balance for the day, we will add it to the next day’s vaccine supply.
“For the Pfizer vaccine, however, the storage and the transportation are a bit tricky. But we have handled it.”
Another key challenge was the language barrier, especially at the Kota Kemuning PPV. It mainly catered to foreign workers, refugees, and undocumented migrants.
“Due to this, the registration, verification and consultation process takes time as we need to ensure their identity as well as their health status before vaccination.”
He shared that the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) identity card was used to verify their identities for the refugees. However, there were cases where some either did not own one or brought the wrong documentation.
“Despite the slow and tedious process, we managed to handle it smoothly.
“Some of the other challenges we faced were a couple of minor cases of side effects. But upon examination under the supervision of the doctors, they turned out to be fine, and there were no serious complications.”
Medilink Healthcare’s journey started with its first clinic, Klinik Taipan, opened in 2005.
Medilink Director Nasirah Parvin shared: “Two years later, we opened another clinic located at Wisma MPL. And after that, consecutively every two years we expanded till our eighth branch. Today, its other clinics include Klinik Medilink Kota Kemuning, Klinik Medilink USJ, Klinik Medilink Mentari, Klinik Medilink Wisma MCA, Klinik Medilink PJ City and Klinik Medilink Masjid India.
“After the eighth clinic, we decided to open Medilink Healthcare headquarters in Bangsar.”
Medilink is now looking to expand their group of clinics nationwide, alongside a peripheral venture into integrated medicine like wellness centres & wound care centres.
“We had to put it on hold due to the pandemic. However, we will be moving forward with the expansions after the MCO and lockdowns are lifted,” said Nasirah.
Addressing the pandemic, Dr Jahaberdeen said that the Medilink group of clinics had adapted its services adhering to the new normal.
“We now conduct consultations via Zoom and deliver the prescribed medicines to their homes. Other services includes home visits and geriatric home care.”
Apart from running its own clinics, Medilink also offers other general practitioner clinics management services, with complete back end & front end support. Medilink also provides corporate & education centers for medical seminar, classes & training. — The Health