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MOH Targets Hospital Bed Ratio of 2.08 To 1,000 Residents By End of 12MP

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KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 14 — The Ministry of Health (MOH) is targeting a hospital bed ratio of 2.08 bed to 1,000 residents by the end of the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP), the Dewan Rakyat was told today.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the ratio achieved in 2020 which was end of the 11th Malaysia Plan (11MP) was 2.01 beds, with the number of beds increasing from 55,952 in 2016 to 65,508 beds in 2020.

“To achieve the set target, MOH will continue the initiative to raise the number of beds through the construction of new hospitals and upgrading existing hospitals and facilities.

“Focus is given to areas where existing hospitals have high bed occupancy,” he said during Minister’s Question Time at Dewan Rakyat today in reply to a question by S Kesavan (PH-Sungai Siput) on the government’s target to achieve higher level in the provision of hospital beds for more comfortable health facilities for the people.

He said among the other factors taken into consideration was population density, access to existing hospital services and the financial allocation of the government.

He said MOH also took the approach of optimising the number of beds via daily treatment at major hospitals to reduce the need for patient beds and the implementation of hospital cluster programme.

Meanwhile, Khairy said from the cooperation of MOH with 76 private hospitals nationwide, 3,974 medical procedures were outsourced to private hospitals as at the end of July for the treatment of non-COVID-19 patients.

“Despite facing COVID-19, MOH did not stop or reduce its health services for non-COVID-19 patients especially for emergency and semi-emergency cases.

“…MOH also studied the possibility of providing special non-COVID-19 hospitals to conduct elective surgeries which have been postponed,” he said in reply to a question on treatment procedures for non-COVID-19 patients currently.

He said for the purpose, the ministry would be seeking allocation from the treasury to ensure postponed cases especially non-elective surgeries be outsourced to private hospitals.

Khairy said the measure was implemented by MOH to ensure non-COVID-19 patients received adequate treatment including extending the operation hours of specialist clinics and operation theatre in certain hospitals after office hours as well as improving the service of virtual clinic.

Apart from that, he said MOH also optimised the usage of non-specialist hospitals as well as the hospitals of the Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) for certain operation procedures through cluster hospital programme as well as mobilising MOH specialists and private specialists to hospitals which do not have certain specialist services.

Sources: BERNAMA

Health

Australian Researchers Discover New Way To Predict COVID-19 Severity

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SYDNEY, Oct 19  — Researchers from the University of Queensland (UQ) have devised a new way to estimate health outcomes in COVID-19 patients by identifying their cell fitness.

The research, published in the EMBO Molecular Medicine journal on Tuesday, could bear major implications for the identification and protection of those most vulnerable to the virus, reported Xinhua News Agency.

“We found that patients with acute lung injury had higher levels of the biomarker in their lower respiratory tract and areas of cell death,” said contributing author from the UQ’s Diamantina Institute, Dr Arutha Kulasinghe.

 The cell marker in question is called hFwe-Lose or “Flower lose”, and was revealed by the researchers to be a strong indicator of the severity with which COVID-19 was likely to develop.

From testing conducted in patients from ages 20 to 82 years old, the cell marker was shown to be elevated in older individuals and those with comorbidities such as obesity and immune function disorders.            “More importantly, we also found that the cell fitness marker outperformed conventional methods, such as age, inflammation and co-existing diseases, in predicting health outcomes, such as hospitalisation and death, in COVID-19 patients,” said Kulasinghe.

The presence of the “Flower lose” cell marker could be identified in patients who were infected with COVID-19 through a nasal swab. Kulasinghe said this would give doctors a quick way to assess a COVID-positive patient’s level of risk.

“The cell fitness marker would enable medical teams to identify patients more likely to develop severe symptoms, provide closer monitoring and earlier access to hospitalisation and intensive care.”

While Kulasinghe said the research would need to be expanded to fully determine the robustness of the cell marker, the researchers concluded that the study had put forth a “novel prognostic biomarker for COVID-19 severity”, which could change the way to assess and treat this devastating virus.

Sources: BERNAMA

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Labuan Rolls Out COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shots

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LABUAN, Oct 18 — Labuan has begun administering COVID-19 vaccine booster shots under a three-phase exercise which will see almost 20,000 people getting their third jab.

Labuan Health director Dr Ismuni Bohari said the first phase would involve 1,290 healthcare personnel, the second phase, 2,500 non-healthcare frontliners including the media fraternity; and the third phase, some 16,000 individuals in high-risk groups.

“We have received the green light from the Ministry of Health (MoH) to administer the booster shots, with our healthcare frontliners to be vaccinated starting today until the end of the week,” he said before the launch of the booster shots at the Membedai Health Clinic today.

He said all the three phases are expected to be completed by the end of the year or early next year.

“Only individuals who have completed the recommended six-month interval after the second dose are eligible for the booster shots,” he said.

“We have set up vaccination centres at Labuan Hospital, Labuan air force base camp and the Membedai Health Clinic,” he said.

Dr Ismuni said the booster shots would also be made available at all private clinics via appointments.

“Those eligible can contact the clinics to set their appointments,” he said.

Sources: BERNAMA

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Statement On Anti-vaxxers: Govt Has Explained Enough On Benefits of COVID-19 Vaccines – Khairy

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KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 18  — Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the government had made enough effort to explain the goodness and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines to the public.

He said his ministry had in fact provided all the scientific evidence on the effectiveness of the vaccines on people.

“And we continue to provide the explanation. I’m sorry I have to be firm on this issue. Call me dajjal (evil) or whatever,” he tweeted on his Twitter account today.

Khairy had previously said that the government would be taking a firm approach against those who refused to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by imposing difficulties upon them.

Yesterday, Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim described Khairy’s statement that the government would continue making the daily life difficult for those who rejected the vaccines as arrogant.

Anwar, who is also PKR president, said it was the government’s role to continue appealing to and educating the public on the advantages of taking the vaccines to fight COVID-19.

Sources: BERNAMA

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