Adopt greater health consciousness

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar

KUCHING: Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has urged the people to be more health conscious while having to live with the Covid-19 virus.

He pointed out that awareness on this requires a community engagement approach and it is crucial as the current daily lives circumstances is different in comparison to the pre-Covid-19 pandemic era.

“Previously if we were experiencing flu or fever, we might not seek medical assistance or visit a health facility. However, this cannot be the case anymore as we must consider the possibility of having the Covid-19 infection.

“We cannot assume it is just the flu, but instead conduct the Covid-19 self-test kit or refer to the nearest health clinic or private clinic. It is now important to get immediate action to identify whether one is Covid-19 positive or otherwise for isolation purposes.

“If treatments are required, we can refer the positive case to a low-risk quarantine and treatment centre (PKRC) or hospital as soon as possible,” he said.

He said this during a working visit to the Sarawak General Hospital (SGH) on Sunday (Sept 26).

Khairy stated that the approach would facilitate in the efforts to decrease the number of cases, admission of Category 3, 4 and 5 cases as well as the death toll.

“We are now living with the Covid-19 virus, so we have to change the way that we view this healthcare seeking behaviour by getting oneself tested or seeing the doctor if you are having any symptoms.

“This is a simple message because we want to quickly isolate and treat those who are positive as well as their close contacts so that we can bring down the number of positive cases,” he said.

At the same time, Khairy disclosed that the intensive care unit (ICU) bed capacity at SGH would be increased from 50 to 100 units by mid-October.

“It is important for us to increase the critical care capacity at our hospitals. Of course, we want to reduce the number of serious cases however we must plan for a surge in admission if it occurs,” he said.

He added that additional units would also be provided at other locations such as in Sarikei and Sibu.

“Even though we are building on our capacity to meet the needs of increased admission, we hope that it does not come to that. In the meantime, I would like to urge those who are experiencing symptoms to get themselves tested and seek medical advice or see a doctor,” he said.

Also present were Local Government and Housing Minister who is also Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) advisor Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah and State Health director Datuk Dr Mohamed Sapian Mohamed.