LETTERS: The Malaysian Consultative Council for Islamic Organization (Mapim) calls on the government to immediately involve retired medical and public health specialists, including NGOs, who specialize in public health in a team of experts to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.
The fact is, many experts are retired or involved in the private sector, but their experience is vast and can be harnessed.
The right response to ensure the right strategy to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic needs to be formulated by taking the views of those with in-depth experience in dealing with epidemics and pandemics.
This is not the first time a pandemic has hit Malaysia.
Decisions taken by the government should take into account comprehensive views of experts from various sources: research institutions, universities and NGOs.
The national Covid-19 immunization programme announced by the prime minister needs the right strategy to achieve the desired effect.
Mass immunization is very critical, especially for the vulnerable. Therefore, demographic data of community health in terms of age, chronic patients in urban and rural areas should be collected immediately.
The national immunization program protocol needs to be carefully planned. The views of experienced public health experts are crucial.
There is also a need to create an approach to strengthen community involvement in the programme because mobilizing the community would also help the immunization operation.
When the immunization operation begins, many unexpected incidents may occur. Therefore, the combined work of various parties needs to be involved.
We refer to international reports that the genetic changes of the Covid-19 virus would be a major challenge for many countries.
The existence of the genetic composition of Covid-19 which undergoes mutations and changes to new variant indicates that Malaysia is no exception to the need to build the capacity to face any new wave of pandemics.
The challenge of getting an accurate and effective and adequate supply of vaccines will also be a challenge to implement the immunization programme.
Matching the vaccines with the new variants is not easy. All experts need to be gathered. There are many physicians in Malaysia but it seems that they are marginalized while they want to contribute.
In this third wave of pandemic which shows a high surge in cases, it proves that preparedness is still low.
Prioritizing immunization to achieve as much resistance against the virus as much as possible to every citizen needs a right strategy.
Mohd Azmi Abdul Hamid
President of Mapim
The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of the New Straits Times