Combine data sharing, community participation in controlling Covid-19: Infectious disease expert

Combine data sharing, community participation in controlling Covid-19: Infectious disease expert

KUALA LUMPUR: The combination of digitisation through data analytics as well as community methods through the participation of non-governmental organisations at the grassroots level is crucial to bringing down Covid-19 infections in the country, according to an expert.

Universiti Malaya’s Professor of Medicine and Infectious Diseases Datuk Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman said Malaysia should have well-connected data sharing on Covid-19 cases in the country, so that contact tracing can be done more effectively.

“We are not doing enough contact tracing. Developed countries like Taiwan, South Korea and Singapore controlled the pandemic using digitisation. At the same time, Malaysia also should look at how less developed countries like Bhutan, Rwanda and Vietnam used their community health workers in curbing Covid-19,“ she said as a panellist in a talk entitled ‘Permasalahan dan Solusi’ which was broadcast online on the ‘Reset Malaysia’ Facebook page yesterday.

Dr Adeeba, who is also a member of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Science Council, said better and accurate data sharing on Covid-19 could help authorities make more precise lockdowns at the state or district level.

Meanwhile, former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who was also a panellist in the programme, agreed with Dr Adeeba on learning from the success of other countries in controlling the pandemic.

He also suggested that a body comprising health, economic and social experts without the involvement of politicians be set up to reduce the Covid-19 infection rate in the country.

“The members of the body should not be politicians, but experts in certain fields such as virology,“ he said.

Another panellist, former International Trade and Industry Minister Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz said since factories were among the contributors to the rise in Covid-19 cases, teams should be mobilised to provide vaccines to employees in the sector.

“The vaccination programme should not be too focused on the phases, but rather be aggressive in providing vaccination to the public, especially groups which are contributing to the increase in cases,“ she said.

Rafidah also expressed concern about schools being closed for too long, as it could have a negative impact on the mental and psychological development of the younger generation.

Apart from that, she said the attitude of some community leaders who did not set a good example in complying with the standard operating procedure (SOP) also made the community take SOP compliance lightly. –Bernama