“The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails,” said leadership guru John C.Maxwell.
In attributing his statement of strength to American motivational writer William Arthur Ward, Maxwell said that action creates traction.
A leader will push for an action plan, regardless of whatever challenges and obstacles one encounters in managing an organisation. Leadership is the ability to explicitly articulate a roadmap and persuade others to use their strengths, energy, resources and manpower to achieve the desired goals.
In this aspect, ProtectHealth Corporation Sdn Bhd as a company that has shown leadership in co-ordinating, administering and managing initiatives relating to healthcare financial services, has been mandated by the Health Ministry to oversee the vaccination programme via private medical practitioners during the Covid-19 pandemic.
With its experience and capability in registering, coordinating, monitoring and managing the payment processes to general practitioners in the Skim Peduli Kesihatan for the B40 low income group, ProtectHealth was appointed by the Health Ministry as the implementer of private medical practitioners’ participation in the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK) in March 2021, and then expanded its role to include non-governmental healthcare organisations.
“When Covid-19 hit our country, there is no playbook for our healthcare system in managing the pandemic. Other countries also didn’t offer much reference. This has forced us to explore something new and strategically implement it,” said ProtectHealth chief executive officer Datuk Dr Anas Alam Faizli.
“Covid-19 has put numerous stress on our public healthcare system, while bringing opportunities and evidently accelerated the public-private partnership (PPP) through PICK implementation.
“PICK is by far the largest ever government programme executed in the country, in terms of the 26 million people who have been vaccinated within a short span of time since its implementation. This has also been the largest PPP in the healthcare sector and continues to grow.
“The government and society approach, including our partners’ dedication and support towards this programme, has contributed to placing Malaysia at the top 10 globally in terms of highest rate of fully vaccinated population.
“We have vaccinated over 97% of our adult population. We have also fully vaccinated 80% of our adolescents within a record period of 67 days the fastest in the world. We are also among the first few countries in the world to start providing booster doses to the adult population.
“To date, our private medical practitioners have contributed significantly to PICK by contributing 48% to the total vaccination nationwide, said Anas, 41, who holds a doctorate in Business Administration and has over 20 years of corporate experience.
“ProtectHealth plays a vital role in bridging both the government and private sectors, particularly in the healthcare system, whereby we listen to both parties. This has enabled us to have a better understanding of both sides’ priorities and limitations.
“By having a great understanding of both points of view, ProtectHealth has developed a shared vision with all our partners, whereby we move towards one goal for the healthcare system to be fair and equitable to all.
“Our key leadership competencies are continuous communication and engagement, collaborative culture, leading and influencing the partnership process by developing trust and encouraging commitment, and fairness through delivering result,” he shared.
As a not-for-profit organisation under the Health Ministry, ProtectHealth’s responsibilities include developing a proprietary vaccine control system that links all private medical practitioners and healthcare NGOs for registration, provider management and onboarding; training; payments; analysis and reporting for all vaccination centres (PPV); monitoring vaccination activities; conducting random audit and investigating anomalies; supporting the development and operations of PPVs; helpdesk and call centre line; and reviewing PPV off-site and PPV outreach set-ups.
“ProtectHealth understands that to lead, a certain integrity and positive reputation is required. In the beginning the private medical practitioners did not immediately jump onto the bandwagon, and persuasion was needed,” he said.
“Communication channels are open through WhatsApp, email and also the dedicated helpdesk for all our partners. This gives a sense of security and gained trust from our providers.”
As a result, fully manned PPVs were opened on a weekly basis, new providers came onboard, and new locations were set up with the supply of vaccines was assured.
“ProtectHealth plays the role of bringing all these providers together,” said Anas.
ProtectHealth has pushed for clear terms of reference and guidelines to ensure that its tasks and responsibilities are clear, which helps in ensuring smooth execution and reporting. The Health Ministry provides vaccine logistical support and vaccination technical input at all PPVs, while private medical practitioners organised the medical team and sourced for healthcare logistics and manpower.
“We mediate between the private medical practitioners and the Health Ministry regulators as well as other ministerial and government agencies,” he said.
Many partners took the extra mile in providing additional resources in different forms to lessen the burden of the government in the programme as the partners share the same vision in this national agenda and service.
The partners also understand the fluidity of the pandemic situation, vaccine supply, and, logistics and appointments complexity and are always willing to make local and operational adjustment to changes made by government and ProtectHealth, he said.
As of Dec 3, 2021, there are 2,110 PPV general practitioners, 28 PPV specialist clinics, 136 PPV private hospitals, 35 PPV ambulatory care centres, 150 PPV offsite/outreach, 153 PPV integration units, 183 PPV industries and 10 NGOs supporting ProtectHealth in PICK.
On how ProtectHealth safeguards the interest of the government and private sector in its operations to achieve maximised vaccination, Anas said: “For the government, we ensure the private medical practitioners deliver quality service, minimise wastage of vaccine, monitor and detect possible fraud.
“For the private sector, we ensure payment on time for private medical practitioners’ operations, and assure them of appropriate logistics and technical support from the government.”
“ProtectHealth played a pivotal role in contributing to the success of PICK by bringing in the private sector, which contributed to half of the vaccination efforts,” said Sunway Group founder and chairman Tan Sri Dr Jeffrey Cheah, who attributed the success of this public-private partnership to the professionalism of Anas and his team.
Medical Association (MMA) general secretary Dr Thirunavukarasu Rajoo said: “The ProtectHealth team has played an exemplary role in creating awareness, encouragement and education with the onboarding of private medical practitioners.”
Meanwhile, Anas’s “Turun Padang” approach, mutual respect, treating as equal partner and adoption of the process of automation are qualities that made PICK a national success in our ongoing fight against the pandemic.”
Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia president Datuk Dr Kuljit Singh said ProtectHealth has played a pivotal role in multiple ways, particularly with precise and timely management of the vaccine rollout to the private healthcare sector.
“We hope this exercise on vaccination now sets a stage for ProtectHealth to embark on other private medical practitioner programmes with the Health Ministry and private healthcare. This will bring the desired healthcare to the doorsteps of many citizens in this country,” said Dr Kuljit.
Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) chief executive officer Datuk Ahmad Asri Abdul Hamid said CIDB has worked closely with ProtectHealth to vaccinate over 100,000 construction industry workers under Construction Industry Vaccination Programme (CIVac).
National Cancer Society of Malaysia managing director Dr M.Murallitharan said: “Today, ProtectHealth must be known for what it is – an energising catalyst for national public-private health system delivery.”