Let MOH do its job, say experts

PETALING JAYA: The Health and Sciences Covid-19 Advisory Group of Experts (EAG) says there is no need for them to take over the responsibility of overseeing management of the pandemic as the Health Ministry has been “at the centre of the struggle”.

The six top medical experts said they had been meeting regularly with the ministry to collaborate and provide a network of support to manage the pandemic.

Everyone should stay focused on saving lives and livelihoods, they said in a statement yesterday.

The statement was signed by EAG chairman Tan Sri Dr Abu Bakar Suleiman, Prof Dr Rosmawati Mohamed (Academy of Medicine of Malaysia), Dr Mary Cardosa (Malaysian Medical Association), Datuk Dr Fadzilah Kamaludin (Malaysian Public Health Physicians’ Association), Datuk Dr Kuljit Singh (Association of Private Hospitals of Malaysia) and Datuk Dr Christopher Lee (Malaysian Society of Infection Control and Infectious Diseases).

“We (EAG) disagree with recent comments stating that EAG should ‘take over’ pandemic response leadership at the ministry.

“The ministry has been at the centre of the struggle during this extremely challenging period.

“The EAG serves to complement the Health Ministry’s pandemic strategy-setting and support public health best practices that will allow Malaysia to exit the pandemic as quickly as possible.

“To these aims, we have been meeting with the ministry’s leaders since our formation and will continue to collaborate closely with all relevant stakeholders to derive immediate as well as medium- to long-term plans for managing the Covid-19 in Malaysia, ” said the group.

It added that besides its six members, the EAG was supported by a network of critical technical working groups (TWGs) composed of medical, healthcare and industry experts who can be consulted on an ad hoc basis.

“There are seven TWGs, namely on public-private partnership (hospital-based care), public-private partnership (primary care providers), public health (Find, Test, Trace, Isolate and Support System), data and technology, vaccines, strategic communications, and Covid-19 frontliners and healthcare worker welfare.

“With this network of support, we hope to inspire a true, coordinated whole-of-society effort for beating Covid-19.

“As the pandemic continues to rage on at an alarming rate, we must stay focused on the shared goal of saving lives and livelihoods, ” said the EAG.

Recently, there have been calls from certain quarters for the advisory group to take over from the Health Ministry due to the increasing number of Covid-19 cases in the country.

The EAG was set up in February by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to rope in experts from the various fields of the private medical sector to work together and advise the Health Ministry on the government’s pandemic response.

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