Lim: Adham Baba should explain in Parliament

Lim: Adham Baba should explain in Parliament

Adham Baba should explain in Parliament why the government has failed to incorporate private health care after 11 months in the fight against Covid-19 epidemic with the sector’s capabilities under-utilised

The Health Minister, Adham Baba should explain in Parliament during the Ministerial winding-up stage of the 2021 Budget debate why the government has failed to incorporate private health care after 11 months in the fight against Covid-19 epidemic with the sector’s capabilities under-utilised.

This has caused the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) president Dr. Subramaniam Muniandy to stress that the government health facilities should not be taking on this battle on its own as private healthcare is an important component in the country’s overall healthcare system and can add strength in managing the Covid-19 epidemic.

He said it was time to ease the strain put on Malaysia’s public healthcare and look into the combined strength of public and private healthcare to enhance efforts in the country’s management of Covid-19 as well as other healthcare needs.

Dr. Subramaniam said many clinics and hospitals nationwide were reporting reduced patient attendance, some by as much as 70 percent to 80 percent with significant income reduction and sustainability of their practice severely threatened.

Many senior doctors with their wealth of experience are also contemplating closing or retirement, and it is estimated that around 200 clinics nationwide will close by year-end.

The MMA believes ultimately, it is the rakyat that will benefit from such collaboration. Patients will also be better served when both sectors maximise their healthcare services rather than working in isolation.

According to Subramaniam, there are 7,000 plus Health Ministry-trained general practitioners (GPs) and around 3,000 plus private specialists serving in more than 200 private hospitals nationwide.

He said 2018 figures showed that the private sector was served by 14,649 doctors, 5,174 pharmacists and 34,874 nurses.

Private healthcare spending is around 50 percent of the total national healthcare expenditure with millions of Malaysians and non-Malaysians attending private facilities daily.

Since the movement control order in March 2020, the Malaysian Healthcare response had been largely led by the government healthcare facilities.

There were peak pandemic times when government facilities were stretched to the maximum in certain hospitals or areas and assistance or donations were extended by the public, NGOs and concerned citizens.

This state of public-private health affairs is most shocking.

Three days ago on Friday, I asked if Malaysia has lost control over the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Health Minister should explain in Parliament why the government has failed to adopt an “all-of-government” and “whole-of-society” mindset and approach in the battle against the Covid-19 pandemic, although I had proposed it more than six months ago.

I had warned last Friday that if Malaysia continues with four-digit daily increase of Covid-19 infections, we will overtake Singapore in a week and China by the end of the year as a country with more Covid-19 infections.

The trajectories of Covid-19 infection daily increases in the past three days have confirmed this warning. In fact, on coming Thursday which is the last day of the four-day Ministerial winding-up of the 2021 Budget debate, Malaysia will be on the verge of overtaking Singapore the next day in cumulative total of Covid-19 cases if we continue with four-digit Covid-19 infection daily increases and Singapore records low two-digit increases.

At this rate, Malaysia would also overtake China, the world No. 1 country with the most number of Covid-19 cases and fatalities at the start of the epidemic at the beginning of the year, which is also reporting low two-digit daily increase of Covid-19 cases.

It would now appear that Malaysia could overtake China a week earlier – not by the end of the year but by Christmas.

This is no laughing matter and the Health Minister owe the nation a full accounting in his Ministerial winding up speech.

Yesterday, the Health Ministry reported 1,096 new Covid-19 cases with Selangor making up more than half of them.

The latest figures put the total cumulative Covid-19 cases at 54,775 – with Sabah leading with 26,098 cases, Selangor second with 9,752 cases and Kuala Lumpur third with 4,860 cases. Sabah also leads in total cumulative Covid-19 fatalities with 194 deaths, Selangor second with 27 deaths, Johore third with 22 deaths and Kuala Lumpur and Sarawak fourth with each having 19 deaths – totalling 335 deaths.On On Sept. 1, Sabah was the sixth state with Covid-19 cases on the cumulative count, having 426 cases as compared to KL (2,587 cases), Selangor (2,174 cases), Negri Sembilan (1,034 cases), Johore (751 cases) and Sarawak (699 cases).

In terms of cumulative fatalities, Sabah was No. 5 with Negri Sembilan with eight deaths, after Selangor (24), Johore (21), Sarawak (19) and Kuala Lumpur (18).

Now, Sabah has become the top state both in terms of cumulative total of Covid-19 infections and fatalities, with a cumulative total of 26,098 cases and 194 fatalities out of a Malaysian total of 54,775 cases and 335 fatalities.

The Health Minister should also explain in Parliament its gross negligence in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic in trying to topple the Warisan Sabah State Government, which caused the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in Sabah and Malaysia and killed some 180 people in Sabah.

Lim Kit Siang is the DAP MP for Iskandar Puteri

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