We urge the following:
> Share data across all levels of government and all government agencies: Detailed Covid-19 data must be made accessible to ensure quick, informed decision-making across all sectors. During the first two waves of the pandemic, the rate of infection remained relatively low due to close intragovernmental collaboration and data sharing. We urge the government to resume this close cooperation that will help protect the rakyat.
> All stakeholders must analyse and report data in responsible ways: All government agencies, health organisations, researchers and media personnel who are given access to government-
gathered data on Covid-19 must analyse and report in responsible and mature ways.
The Health Ministry cited uncoordinated conclusions on data analysis as the key reason for the Federal Government’s decision to halt raw data sharing with state governments (as reported on Oct 19). Responsible data analysis and reporting prevents misinformation, panic, chaos and harm.
> Balance data transparency with privacy: We acknowledge that certain categories of information must remain confidential to protect the privacy of Covid-19 patients.
While demographic information may be useful for understanding the virus spread and broader public health research in the country, all personal data from contact tracing must remain confidential under the Medical Act 1971 and Personal Data Protection Act 2010. However, non-personally identifiable data can and should be shared.
Managing Covid-19 involves sustained cooperation at all levels of government. With data-sharing, we can build more community trust, which is necessary to beat the virus.
MALAYSIAN HEALTH COALITION
Note: This letter was signed by 48 medical and health-related organisations and 19 medical and non-medical individuals. The full signature list can be viewed at myhealthcoalition.org.
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