Tan Yew Aik. Photo: Bernama

MELAKA: It is a very heart-breaking situation when the fear of contracting Covid-19, as reported by a media outlet recently, have stopped patients from going to hospitals and clinics to get much-needed medical services.

This situation is no laughing matter and medical personnel are concerned that people who need medical attention, especially chronic illness patients suffering from heart disease, cancer, diabetes and hypertension, are avoiding hospitals and clinics because of the fear.

Pantai Hospital Ayer Keroh chief executive officer Tan Yew Aik said the perception that healthcare facilities are dangerous places to be in during the current Covid-19 pandemic is very misleading and should be addressed so that people can overcome that fear.

“In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, people still go to the shopping malls to buy goods for their daily needs, but did you know that healthcare facilities such as hospitals and clinics are much safer and cleaner to go to than shopping malls?

“Healthcare facilities have strict preventive measures to face the pandemic, and healthcare service is also part of our daily needs so why should we be afraid to go and get medical care. I urge people to overcome their fear of coming to these facilities,” he told Bernama.

On May 11, a news portal reported the Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia confirmed that some patients who have suffered heart attacks and strokes have stayed away from hospitals recently because of the fear of Covid-19.

Asked about the preventive measures taken by Pantai Hospital Ayer Keroh, Tan said every patient and visitor coming through the hospital’s three entry points must go through a screening process that includes temperature checks and health declaration. Meanwhile, continuous disinfection is conducted around the hospital.

“This screening is important because we want people in the hospital to feel safe. We have also set up a fever unit so that we can segregate patients who have fever or other symptoms. We also have a quarantine area and place for PUI (person under investigation),” he said.

He added that the hospital has conducted about 2,000 Covid-19 tests and offers a variety of ways for the people to take the test such as the drive-through, tests in the convenience of one’s home as well as corporate testing where the hospital personnel will conduct the test for a company’s staff.

It also provides eHealth services, an online teleconference service with healthcare specialists for direct and fast medical consultation which will also help people overcome their fear of coming to the hospitals in times like the present.

Tan said that to make sure the hospital implements the most effective Covid-19 preventive measures, it has set-up up a Hospital Infectious Disease Outbreak Committee (HIDOC) consisting of 25 members headed by the hospital consultant infectious diseases and general physician, Dr Nor Hayati Shaharuddin.

“The committee members come from all spectrum namely specialists, nurses, pharmacists and even include non-medical personnel from human resource and management. It is important that we have members from the whole spectrum in order to monitor and make better decisions,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Nor Hayati said that Pantai Hospital Ayer Keroh is the first private hospital in Melaka to provide Covid-19 tests for the public from last March, as a collaborative effort with the Health Ministry.

“Safety is our number one priority at all times. This helps to keep not just our staff but also our patients and the general public safe,” she said. 

She added that the screening process the hospital conducts is simple yet effective so that the people coming in are comfortable in the clean Covid-19 free environment in the hospital.

Dr Nor Hayati explained the hospital wanted to avoid using measures like the disinfection chamber which do not do much to eradicate Covid-19 and can harm or irritate the body because of the questionable chemical used.

She also urged the public to be honest and inform the hospital if they have travelled overseas or been in contact with Covid-19 clusters so that they can be helped. – Bernama