The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated transformations within healthcare and medical education at an unprecedented pace.
In many instances, these changes have incorporated a fundamental redesign of service delivery, with profound implications for healthcare workers, medical students and patients.
Although the primary catalyst for change has been the urgent need for infection control, it is also prompting healthcare and medical education leaders to consider future needs and opportunities.
In collaboration with Health Ministry, the College of Physicians as well as the Malaysia Advanced Acute Internal Medicine and Ultrasound Society (Maaimuss), Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia (NUMed) has taken the lead in confronting the pandemic by hosting a nation-building initiative, Forward Malaysia.
The Forward Malaysia webinar series forges a first-of-its-kind platform to garner multi-faceted perspectives on the pandemic and the way forward.
This is in addition to mapping the future of the next generation of healthcare professionals, with insights into how all layers of society can do their part in navigating towards the next normal with greater resilience.
Its organising chairperson Premila Nair, who is also NUMed chief operating officer, said Forward Malaysia offered valuable insights into how hospitals and medical universities could embrace new ways of delivering healthcare and training, while responding to the pandemic.
She noted that the events were also a vital source of inspiration and education, imparting invaluable lessons learnt that would shine a light for present and future healthcare professionals on how to handle future pandemics and offer better healthcare for all.
“The pandemic may forever change how future physicians are educated. It is extremely important that we prepare for the next crisis, whatever it may be.
“The medical students of our nation need to be prepared for the next big crisis so that it will be handled well, ” she added.
Deputy Health Minister Datuk Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali said that as a nation, Malaysia must plan ahead for healthcare resources that would be required by the country while utilising the resources currently available.
“Covid-19 is not the first pandemic to strike us and it will definitely not be the last.
“Hence, it is important for us to learn from this in preparation for the next pandemic, ” he said.
Apart from students, new graduates from higher education institutions nationwide and academics, the webinars also saw the participation of prominent names in Malaysia’s healthcare who presented keynote speeches, plenary talks and panel discussions covering topics such as the new normal, Covid-19 back scene and updates on vaccines.
As part of the Forward Malaysia initiative, NUMed is also hosting Forward NUMed: Masterclass, a series of online medical masterclasses focused on the younger generation who will soon be at the helm of the national and global healthcare scene, with medical specialists offering first-hand insights into various healthcare areas.
The second Forward Malaysia webinar – “The Way Forward: Medical Education and Hospital Training in the post-Covid-19 landscape” – presented medical students, medical professionals and aspiring healthcare workers with ideas and knowledge that will assist them in developing relevant, up-to-date educational practices to enable them to continue making improvements in the future.
The insightful keynote speech from Dr Noor Azmi was followed by an in-depth panel discussion among various healthcare experts.
Both of these focused on improving the country’s medical education and hospital training.
Dr Noor Azmi noted that it was imperative for all medical students to take challenges in their stride as they progressed through medical school.
“In fact, there may be even bigger challenges awaiting them once they step into hospitals and clinics.
“Clinical and non-clinical personnel need to be equally ready for challenges that will come their way.
“Most important is how we rise to the challenge and improvise, ” he added.
Another panellist at the webinar, College of Physicians president and Internal Medicine national head Dr Letchuman Ramanathan shared case-based scenarios that offered fresh insights and helpful tips to the audience.
The talk was followed by a panel discussion moderated by acting chief executive officer and NUMed Academic Affairs dean Dr Paul Hubbard.
The virtual panel discussion featured a diverse panel of medical education experts, including Maaimuss president Datuk Seri Dr Paras Doshi.