The public should move on and live with Covid-19 cautiously
BY FATIHAH MANAF
MALAYSIA has been transitioning into an endemic phase starting Apr 1. Whilst it is a good move for the overall economic recovery, there are some questions and concerns regarding the decision among healthcare professionals. Some agree that people need to move on with life even with the high cases of Covid-19, while some take a more reserved stance.
“We have learned a lot in the last two years,” said Datuk Dr Kuljit Singh, President of the Association of Private Hospitals of Malaysia (APHM), during a panel discussion at the 2nd Annual Future Hospital Strategy & Development Forum 2022.
The panel discussion entitled “The national strategies to ensure safety as we co-exist with Covid-19” was moderated by Dinesh S.R., Principal, Global Client Leader of Frost & Sullivan.
Dr Kuljit said: “Even though we have many Covid-19 cases, we have to move on to the next phase, both in healthcare and tourism.
“We have been telling ourselves to live with it. However, living with it sometimes becomes a problem. The moment we try to live with it, half of our staff get infected, then we can’t function.”
David T. Boucher, Corporate Chief of Service Excellence at Aster DM Healthcare Dubai, believes in personal rights. An educated population would know the right thing to do once they enter the endemic phase.
“How the government deals with this depends on the country. In many parts of the world, people know what they need to do, but there are some situations where the government still needs to take an active involvement,” said Boucher.
Covid-19 is still a serious infection
Taking a more cautious approach, Dr David Khoo Sin Keat, Founder and Medical Director of iHeal Medical Centre, said people must not underscore the importance of understanding the danger of Covid-19.
“As much as you want to get back into the world, we have to balance risks and regulation. As much as we are troubled by the economic situation, we must never forget that this disease kills people.
“I always think with caution that while we try to move forward to deal with the economic strain, we cannot forget that Covid-19 is indeed a serious infection. Therefore, I will take a more reserved approach on how we should be handling the opening of the economy.”
Time to focus on other health issues
Dr Kamal Amzan, CEO of Gleneagles Hospital Medini Johor, said: “It is inevitable. The borders will need to open, and we must empower our citizens to make the right choice.
“Fear is generally the natural outcome when we do not know something. But now that we know Covid-19 and are quite familiar with what it does, fear should not supersede what we need to do in the best interest of our economy and the country.”
He said the healthcare sector has focused on Covid-19 for the past two years and neglected many other health cases, such as coronary artery disease.
“The last I read, there are 50,000 backlogs of pending surgical cases in the government hospitals. It needs to start somewhere, and I can’t think of a better time than now.”
The role of primary care in risk mitigation
Dr Kuljit said primary care played an essential role in Covid-19 management.
“Primary care is under emphasised, but Covid-19 will catapult it back, and rightfully so, we’ll then go back to our lives,” shared Dr Khoo. — The Health