PETALING JAYA: With thousands of active Covid-19 cases in the country and hospitals under strain, public figures are calling attention to the lack of resources to handle other health problems.
They say the government should keep in mind that heart disease, diabetes, cancer and kidney failure continue to claim thousands of lives every year.
Klang MP Charles Santiago told FMT several public hospitals had asked him to help raise funds for equipment.
“Some public hospitals told me they are entirely overwhelmed and urgently need some medical equipment,” he said. “I am talking to some companies to ask them to help out.”
He also said several cancer patients had complained to him about having to wait for hours to be attended to and others had spoken of surgeries being postponed.
He added that there was a fear the public health service might collapse if the current lockdown did not result in a reduction in Covid-19 infections.
Last Saturday, health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah pleaded with the public to save the health system from collapse by staying at home and following SOPs.
Parti Sosialis Malaysia chairman Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj said public hospitals should classify cases into those needing urgent attention and those that could be treated later.
“Cases with high urgency should not be delayed,” he said. “They can’t turn away cancer cases or those with kidney problems or delay treatment of those with severe heart problems.”
He urged Putrajaya to ease the load on public hospitals by referring some non-Covid cases to private hospitals if the Covid-19 infection rate continued to rise.
Former deputy health minister Dr Lee Boon Chye said he hoped non-communicable diseases would not be neglected.
“In fact, the Covid-19 pandemic is an opportunity for the government to restructure human resources towards a greater focus on public health,” he said. “It has failed to make use of the opportunity thus far.”
He urged Putrajaya to mobilise its resources and work out a coordinating system with private health institutions.
According to the department of statistics, of the 109,164 medically certified deaths in 2020, heart disease, with 16,325 deaths, was the biggest cause.
This was followed by pneumonia, which caused 12.2% of the total deaths, cerebrovascular diseases at 8%, road accidents at 3.8% and malignant neoplasm of trachea, bronchus and lung at 2.4%.
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