Mobilise GPs in battle against Covid-19, urges private doctors' group


  • Nation
  • Sunday, 29 Mar 2020

Federation of Private Medical Practitioners Associations Malaysia president Dr Steven Chow.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Federation of Private Medical Practitioners Associations Malaysia has urged the Health Ministry (MOH) to mobilise general practitioners in the fight against Covid-19.

In a statement on Sunday (March 29), its president Dr Steven KW Chow said they had submitted a proposal to the ministry with a recommendation for a private-public partnership (PPP) program, to implement a nationwide early treatment for Covid-19 using existing GPs and primary care doctors.

"There are at least 8,000 GPs in this country. Each GP treating 10 to 20 symptomatic patients daily will be able to provide treatment for tens of thousands of early cases of Covid-19 in a short while," he said.

Dr Chow said based on the present trend, the number of people in Malaysia positive for the coronavirus is expected to rise to 6,000 by mid-April.

"This would mean that the pool of infectious cases in the community would easily reach tens if not hundreds of thousands.

"To date, there have been no active treatment measures to reduce this yet-to-be-tested reservoir of active infection, other than by quarantine, stay-at-home order and admission to designated hospitals if tested positive," he said.

He added that the only commonly-used medication that has been showed to have some effect in has been chloroquine and its derivative, hydroxychloroquine (HCQ).

"This is already used in the treatment for hospitalised Covid-19 patients. Hydroxychloroquine is cheap with few side effects and is already being used as part of the treatment protocol in hospitals in this country and around the world," he said, adding that there is evidence that it works.

Dr Chow said they need to act as fast as possible instead of waiting for time-consuming clinical trials.

"The strategy to break the transmission chain of SARS-CoV-2 is to treat patients with prima facie evidence of the disease.

"A large number of patients will need to be treated in a short time to bring the infectious pool to below the critical mass in order to break the chain of transmission.

"Hopefully it will also modulate the progress of the disease and decrease progression to severe disease and hopefully the number of ICU admissions," he said adding that this approach is being practiced by doctors in some countries

Currently there is no stock of HCQ in this country for use by the private sector.

Dr Chow added that the only stock of HCQ is with the government sector.

"The FPMPAM is appealing to the MoH to urgently set up the protocol for this proposed PPP program and to release HCQ for use in the community.

"Failing which, the MoH should facilitate the import of this medication by the private sector from other countries, many of which have already banned exports in anticipation for use in their own countries," he said.

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