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MHC: A Strong Start by Khairy, But More is Needed

In a statement by the Malaysian Health Coalition (MHC), the group that was established by over 50 organisations and individuals representing health professionals, welcomes the strong start by the newly minted Health Minister, Khairy Jamaluddin.

The coalition hopes that the entire Ministry of Health’s machineries and inter-agency collaborations can be mobilised to achieve his 100 days goal.

In an interview by malaysiakini on Sept 4, the Rembau MP said that the two key targets he aims to achieve within his first 100 days in office are:

  • To reduce number of intensive care unit (ICU) cases which is the proxy indicator for the seriousness of the disease
  • To reduce the number of “brought in dead” cases by reducing the number of people dying outside of the hospital.

In addition to the above Key Performance Indexes (KPIs) set by the minister, MHC’s statement today also hopes that MOH can consider the following:

1) Clarify the specific policy changes for an endemic COVID-19

“The minister stated that Malaysia “can expect to move into an endemic COVID-19 phase” by the end of October 2021. The MOH must clearly communicate this new strategy to the public by announcing the specific policy changes to its COVID-19 responses. Controlling virus transmissibility,  routine vaccination programmesefficient testing, and improving healthcare capacity, are among the areas that require clear policy shifts, so that we can treat COVID-19 as part of daily Malaysian life. We urge some caution in labelling COVID-19 as endemic, unless these parts of our health system are strengthened. Otherwise, we risk a complacent population or a public administration that stops focusing on COVID-19.”

2) Involve external expertise outside of the Ministry of Health (MOH) in their decision making process

“We believe that it is the minister’s right to build a team which he feels comfortable working with. Nevertheless, we recommend the minister to get appropriate health advisors and implementation partners, especially from among health experts outside the MOH. Therefore, we urge that non-MOH health advisors and implementation partners be systematically embedded within the decision-making and implementation process, rather than be consulted on an ad hoc basis. A good working model is the Greater Klang Valley Task Force. The MHC and our member organisations are ready to assist.”

3) Establish phased KPIs for 30, 60 and 90 days respectively

“We commend the minister’s 100 Day KPIs. However, as we are in the middle of a raging pandemic, some urgent measures must be taken earlier than the 100 days. Therefore, we suggest the minister agrees on a phased set of KPIs to be achieved within 30, 60, and 90 days, together with MOH and non-MOH experts. This phased KPIs must be publicized for accountability, and also to unite all of Malaysia to achieve these KPIs together. These phased KPIs must be merged with the National Recovery Plan, Budget 2022 and Rancangan Malaysia ke-12, where Health must be at the forefront of all policy considerations.”

“We must now make up for some lost time due to the political instability of the last 18-months. Therefore, we stand behind the new Health Minister as he leads the MOH to turn the COVID-19 tide in Malaysia’s favour. We will fulfill our duties as responsible health professionals and citizens.”

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