Early preparedness vital in tackling infectious diseases


PETALING JAYA: Early preparedness has put Malaysia in good stead to face the Covid-19 pandemic, says Health Ministry disease control division director Dr Norhayati Rusli.

She said the country learned much from previous outbreaks of infectious diseases, citing examples of the Nipah virus in 1999 and the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003.

“Later, we had the influenza A (H1N1) virus outbreak in 2009.

“There was only a short gap between SARS and H1N1. Just imagine, we had to face two major outbreaks consecutively.

“So we have to be ready early in terms of human resources and our staff have the necessary experience and exposure before this,” she said during an interview with Astro Prima yesterday.

Recently, Dr Norhayati was named as one of four “generals” by Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah’s in the country’s Covid-19 battle.

Last year, she said experts from the World Health Organisation (WHO) came to assess the preparedness and response of Malaysia towards infectious diseases and other health emergencies.

“Malaysia has been declared by the WHO as having achieved preparedness for all sorts of public health incidents.

“This is significant because it’s not just the Health Ministry but other agencies that also have to always be prepared to face any eventualities,” she said.

The Rapid Response Team and Rapid Assessment Team, she added, would be set up and mobilised immediately once there was an indication of an outbreak on the ground.

As such, Dr Norhayati said Malaysia was prepared to face Covid-19 when the virus struck the nation in March.

“When we face a certain situation like the ongoing pandemic, what is important is our preparedness.

“In terms of our human resources, we have also provided training and education on all possible incidents that might affect public health.

“We also look at our capacity such as our manpower in hospitals, health clinics, laboratories and entry points into the country,” she said, adding that the guidelines provided to all personnel would be reviewed from time to time.

Though the fight against Covid-19 has been long drawn out, Dr Norhayati said what kept the medical frontliners going was the common aim to keep Malaysians “safe and healthy”.

“Our goal is to protect the health of all citizens. It is not just for ourselves but also for our family members and the whole country.

“When we have the same goal, we will strive together to reach that common objective,” she said.

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
   

Did you find this article insightful?

Yes
No

100% readers found this article insightful

Next In Nation

Smoked out: Cops cripple syndicate targeting car exhausts, 15 arrested
Cops to extend remand of TV personality held for alleged rape
Sheraton move happened because Azmin wanted to be PM, Dr M alleges
Diving activities allowed to resume in Sabah, says Masidi
Covid-19: Three new clusters identified, five ended, says Health Ministry
Illegal scrap metal factory in Simpang Pulai issued with stop work order
Limbawang river clean-up expected to reduce flood risk in the area, says Klias rep
Kota Baru 'Gold rush': Jewellery shop owners, patrons issued compounds for flouting CMCO
Salesman claims trial to drink-driving, causing factory operator's death
Road rage: Fight leaves one bloodied in Bangsar

Stories You'll Enjoy