2021 marks the year Malaysians have continued their fight against something they cannot see with their eyes, hear with their ears, smell with their nose, taste with their tongue or smell with their hands.
Although Covid-19 is extremely small, it has brought many changes to our lives, both individually and as a society.
Throughout the year, many incidents occurred beyond our control – children were orphaned, wives became widows or widowers, parents lost their children and families lost their breadwinners, among many tragedies.
I vividly remember in January 2021 that we (the medical fraternity) thought we had won the battle against Covid-19 (of course not the war), only to see that this was just the start of a new battle .
We welcomed the start of the year by reopening our isolation wards, isolation intensive care units (ICUs) and isolation triage units. Cases were on the rise at this time, with many hospital staff being reassigned as frontliners.
At the same time, we saw how a group of medical staff from several different departments helped each other in the management of Covid-19 patients before being joined by some of our West Malaysian counterparts.
In April 2020, when the situation was so dire that our cries were ignored by federal and state governments, some of us decided to put our thoughts in writing and wrote to code blue.
As a civil servant in the field (with the lowest position in government as a holder of a degree), we are bound by regulations that prohibit us from talking about the real situation.
Meanwhile, the mainstream media did not describe the real situation unfolding in Sibu. People needed to know that the wards were extremely crowded, patients were waiting for intensive care, and oxygen ports were insufficient.
We were grateful and grateful that the help came to us after the article was published. We received more staff members, as well as more medical equipment such as ventilators, infusion pumps, appropriate hospital beds, infusion stands and many more.
The field hospital and modular ICU opened in late October 2021, during which time Covid-19 cases began to decline. Most of us felt that these facilities should have come much sooner. Nevertheless, we were always grateful for the help sent by the government.
On another note, the bulk of ground workers are contract doctors, nurses, and pharmacists. Without them, I can’t imagine how our healthcare system would fare.
We hope that politicians, policy makers and hospital managers will tackle the problem and come up with a well-planned solution to ensure that the healthcare system does not collapse in the future.
Contract medical workers are the future of our health care system. Give them a proper career path, as well as security.
As 2021 draws to a close, we sincerely and silently pray that we never have to experience this pandemic again.
The Ministry of Health is now better equipped with knowledge on how to manage a pandemic, whether it is public health measures or specific management of a disease. We have learned a lot during these two years.
Implementing another Movement Control Order (MCO) nationwide would be a bad choice; locality-specific MCOs make more sense.
Nevertheless, the responsibility for infection control rests with the people themselves. With good self-discipline, good self-adherence to protocols, I believe we won’t have to go through another 2020 or 2021.
A^2, from Swan Country
This essay was written by a doctor from Sibu Hospital. CodeBlue is posting this anonymously as officials are not authorized to speak publicly without permission from their superiors.
This article is part of an exclusive series of essays from healthcare industry experts for CodeBlue on their reviews of Malaysia’s Covid-19 response in 2021 and their outlook for 2022.