Learn from last year to do better this year

Dr Kelvin Yii

KUCHING: Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii has proposed that the government set up a joint public-private sector expert inquiry to investigate the country’s response to Covid-19 in the past one year.

“The aim of the inquiry is to find out the mistakes or gaps in our public health response and fix them for our ongoing response that is likely to last until 2023 even with the arrival of the vaccine,” he said in a Facebook post of Monday (Jan 25).

He said this includes ways to better improve data transparency, mobilisation of all stakeholders, and decentralisation of approach especially to the state government.

“This will also help to increase capacity of testing, speed of contact tracing and also isolation capabilities,” he said.

Dr Yii mentioned that the inquiry must also look into gaps in protecting and taking care of the welfare of healthcare workers, as well as what will be the best approach moving forward.

“We cannot fail them and must do all that we can to make sure they are cared for as they care for us,” he said.

On another note, he also proposed to the Ministry of Health to release the number of health care workers who died from Covid-19, if any.

He also said that the government should look into ways on how to better integrate a public-private partnership in order to better address not only Covid-19 cases, but to ensure quality of care of non-Covid-19 cases.

“We know that patients who delay or miss their appointments for management of non-Covid-19 illness such as non-communicable diseases and cancer will definitely be compromised.

“As such, proper and smart triaging of cases will protect the capacity of our Covid-19 hospitals and allow private hospitals to play a bigger role,” he said.

He said all these reports will then be made transparent and used to direct the government’s approach as the country moves forward to improve its overall approach towards Covid-19 this year.

“A year ago, on this date (Jan 25), we recorded the first Covid-19 positive case in our country. A year later, do you feel we have learned our lesson and improved our approach?”

He said at the beginning, the country was lauded internationally as one of the most successful countries in handling the pandemic, and healthcare workers and frontliners were exemplary in their commitments and sacrifice to curb the spread of the virus and caring for patients.

“However, sometimes success breeds complacency, and maybe because of that we were not fully prepared for what is to come.

“The government cannot put the blame (on the surge of cases) wholly on standard operating procedure (SOP) compliance when announcements were confusing and often contradicting. “So, the best way we can honour all the sacrifices made last year is to make sure we do better this year and the best way is to learn from history, if not we are doomed to repeat it,” said Dr Yii.