KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 26– The Ministry of Health (MOH) has received a huge boost in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic when 95 private hospitals agreed to help the government treat the patients, said Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
“We only began holding engagement sessions with the private sector on Jan 23 and we found that 95 out of the 130 hospitals have the capability to treat COVID-19 patients and have agreed to help out. Thus far, we have 1,286 beds, including 65 in the intensive care unit, 54 ventilators as well as assistance from 66 medical specialists.
“We also used the Emergency Ordinance, which allows experts, staff and assets, such as the supply of medicines, to be moved from one hospital to another, either between private hospitals or between private and public hospitals,” he said during a COVID-19 briefing held virtually yesterday.
Dr Noor Hisham also said that the Emergency Ordinance was very useful in forging cooperation with private hospitals, especially when there are emergency cases.
He explained that the Emergency Ordinance empowered the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342) in facing the pandemic, which is no longer limited to certain localities and which is now spreads more sporadically compared to clusters.
Meanwhile, Dr Noor Hisham also pointed out that when the country’s healthcare system was at a breaking point earlier this month, an alarm was raised to ensure there was sufficient hospitals available to cater to the COVID-19 patients.
He said the integration and collaboration between private healthcare providers and public hospitals that is now taking place could reduce overcrowding.
“Our strategy is to reduce the (number of) cases. Now, we have enough rooms to cater to the patients. We hope that in the next two weeks, we can reduce and stabilise it. The plan is to mitigate the situation, control the situation, and then hopefully healthcare will be back to normal again,” he said.
In the meantime, Dr A. Maheshwara Rao, a senior official on disaster management at the MOH, who also participated in the online briefing, said the MySejahtera application was created to raise awareness about COVID-19 cases, including notifications regarding positive cases nearest to the user.
He explained that the notification was not to put fear in users, but to provide a reminder and awareness on the importance of personal care and standard operating procedures (SOP) wherever they may be.
“In fact, when there is a case near the user, the matter is spread on Twitter and other platforms. This, to me, is a sign that the community is sensitive to cases near them,” he said, adding that the app would be updated in the next 72 hours.
He advised the public to update their personal information and activate the push notification to view the latest information and announcements, adding that the app had been downloaded by 27,313,193 users involving 1.5 million registered business premises.