Health Ministry hopes to clear backlog of non-Covid-19 cases soonest possible, says Khairy

PETALING JAYA: The Health Ministry hopes to clear its backlog of 50,000 surgical and medical procedures at all government hospitals as soon as possible this year, says Khairy Jamaluddin (pic).

The Health Minister said that this comes after critical treatment was put off during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We must look at how we can get better treatment for them and look at how we can ensure that there is no backlog for people who are waiting for procedures or are waiting for their appointments with specialists,” said Khairy in his speech on Saturday (Jan 15).

Speaking during his Ministry’s mandate ceremony for this year, Khairy added that the top killers in Malaysia – ischemic heart disease, NCDs (non-communicable diseases) and cancer – must be back on our radar.

On Covid-19, Khairy said that his Ministry will get medicines that provide treatment options to be used in the endemic phase while upgrading the test and isolate system by fully automating it with the MySejahtera app.

He said that the Health Ministry does not want to do lockdowns anymore.

“A lockdown is an extreme measure, and now with the availability of vaccines, treatment options and contact tracing I don’t see why we have to impose lockdown on people, at least for Covid-19,” said Khairy.

“We also have to take stock of the effects of the pandemic on the well-being and mental health of the people. We have suffered from collective post-traumatic stress disorder. Not just as individuals, but as a country,” said Khairy.

He said that the collective effects of the lockdowns on mental health cannot be overlooked, with an increase in stress levels, the suicide rate, depression and anxiety.

Khairy also said that the education system has been disrupted, with studies showing that home-based learning cannot replace schools.

“Our collective mental health has deteriorated. We have to talk about this as a nation, on what has taken place as a result of the lockdown,” he said.

“This is our role, especially those in the mental health profession, to look into the long-term impact and scar on the nation as far as the pandemic and lockdown is concerned,” he added, saying that the stigma on mental health needs to stop.