Cut Red Tape and Help General Practitioners Participate in the Covid-19 Vaccination Campaign – HH Lim | What you think
JUNE 5 Dear DG (of Health),
I am a private doctor who runs three practices here in Klang Valley.
When my colleagues and I were informed that our country was finally going to involve the 7,000 general practitioners in the country to help with the vaccination against Covid, we are happy to be able to do a national service.
While many other countries have at least 50 percent vaccinated, we only have 4 percent vaccinated.
The first thing I did was register my three clinics with ProtectHealth, a company created by the Department of Health.
Within days, we got our approval.
Then the nightmare began.
I first downloaded 100 pages of instructions for easy reading.
But it was not easy to read. In fact, by the time I was done, it took me almost two hours of my time.
I plowed through writing in a notebook the many things that must be observed. Now it was starting to sound serious.
I had to take a three hour online course.
It was not a problem.
I called ProtectHealth and was held back for about 10 minutes before someone answered. When I asked her why I couldn’t register online, she replied that the webpage for the next online course had not yet been downloaded and courteously asked me to wait for the next few days.
It was my first disappointment.
I started to check if my clinics have the requirements to do the vaccinations:
1. A refrigerator suitable for vaccines that allows us to maintain a temperature of 2 to 8 degrees. Checked successful.
2. An assistant to check the temperature twice a day at 8 am and 4 pm and recorded in a form provided by the Department of Health. Checked successful.
3. A vaccine cooler that is not provided but has to be purchased. I have been ordering vaccines for my practice for 36 years, and drug companies ship them to their own coolers. I don’t even know what we look like. Now I have to buy not one but three. I’m not sure if my two Coleman coolers lying at home will do. I called two distributors of these coolers and they gave me between 900 and 4,500 RM depending on the country of origin. Checked unsuccessful.
4. Next, I need to buy data loggers (please see Wikipedia for more information). I need two of them, one for my fridge and another for the cooler to ensure an optimal temperature. These are small data collectors that collect temperature throughout the day to send to your computer via a USB drive. We have now moved from medical territory to IT territory. They cost around RM100-200 each and I have to buy six for all three clinics. Checked unsuccessful.
5. PPE and appropriate disposables from used needles. Checked successful.
6. Logistics to collect vaccines at a fixed time and date at a center designated by ProtectHealth. Checked and passed as long as no armored vehicle is needed.
I have a long list of at least 500 patients who are willing to pay for their vaccines but because I can’t buy the vaccines, I can’t give them away.
I asked Pharmaniaga, but they told me they had to meet the government’s quota first.
Some of my patients have asked me if it is safe to buy them online, I advised them against doing so for obvious reasons.
Our rakyat are desperate and I cannot help.
Malls and some organizations can get the vaccines, but I can’t. Patients are billed for these vaccines.
I am so disillusioned that I am seriously considering dropping the whole exercise.
I am very sorry for my patients and can only tell them to register on MySejahtera and wait.
When I say that our impoverished neighboring countries are doing better than us, Khairy should just take note. Billions have been spent, unfortunately we are not getting anywhere. We are not yet a bankrupt nation, but in due course we will be.
Now I know why out of 7,000 general practitioners in the country, less than 2,500 have signed up.
* This is the personal opinion of the author or post and does not necessarily represent the views of Malaysian courier.