Dear friends and colleagues,
Sincere Greetings!! With a heavy heart #stayathome.
The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted our lives and clinical practice for all of us. SARS-CoV-2, a novel coronavirus and COVID-19 a new disease, was first reported from Wuhan China in December 2019. The virus spread rapidly and WHO declared a SARS- CoV-2 pandemic on 11 March 2020. Malaysia is not spared. We had our first COVID-19 cases on 25 Jan 2020 involving 3 Chinese tourists who entered Johor on 23 January 2020.
As part of our efforts to curb the COVID-19 transmission, our government has imposed the movement control order (MCO) nationwide since 18 March 2020. I hope all members, friends, and colleagues continue to stay safe, maintain good physical and mental health while adhering to MCO and physical (social) distancing, and continue to provide healthcare to our children, an essential and important service during this period.
COVID-19 info on MPA website
As this unprecedented pandemic continues to evolve worldwide, knowledge and information on the disease and management have been changing rapidly. To share these with our members, the most up-to-date MOH guidelines, relevant articles, write-ups, and webinars are uploaded onto the MPA website. I encourage members to access the MPA website for these guidelines and information.
As the number of cases and the number of deaths from COVID-19 continue to rise, much of the healthcare response has focused on the pandemic. In Malaysia, healthcare providers in primary care and the hospitals reconfigure and re-deploy our already-stretched resources to focus on the care of COVID-19 patients. As such, there will be less available resources for the care of non-COVID-19 patients in the hospitals as well as the provision of care to patients and communities across the wider healthcare system. From the paediatric perspective, it is imperative that children continue to receive immunisation according to schedule. Parents may defer clinic appointments due to the MCO imposed or for fear of contracting the disease at healthcare facilities. I urge members to reassure parents of the precautionary measures that we have taken to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 in our clinics and to continuously remind parents of the importance of immunisation so that children continue to be protected from vaccine-preventable diseases. Vaccine-preventable diseases, such as measles, pertussis, etc… those probably cause more death in children than COVID-19, which is fortunately mild in children.
Worldwide, there are many reports of doctors and nurses who provided care to COVID-19 patients who have died as a result of contracting the virus on the job. It is fortunate that, to date, no healthcare professionals have been reported to contract the virus from taking care of COVID-19 patients in Malaysia. The protection of healthcare providers is paramount. As frontline healthcare professionals, I hope that we continue to ensure that we practice universal precautions and have the appropriate protective gear required when examining patients with severe acute respiratory infection (SARI), suspected COVID-19, COVID-19 patients, and when performing aerosol-generating procedures in these patients. Though there is a massive global shortage of PPE, we should not risk our well-being and be exposed to a higher degree of known risks. At the same time, it is of critical importance that we use PPE judiciously and scientifically as some components of PPE become extremely scarce due to the tremendous increase in demand.
Mass gatherings transmit the SARS-CoV-2. As such, many conferences and workshops have been postponed or cancelled. The 17th ASEAN Pediatric Federation Congress in conjunction with the 24th Annual Congress of Vietnam Pediatric Association to be held in Hanoi has been postponed to 14-17 October 2020.
Similarly, the 11th Asia Pacific Paediatric Endocrine Society (APPES) Scientific Meeting to be held at KLCC Convention Center from 17-21 November 2020 in conjunction with the 42nd MPA Annual Congress would most probably be postponed too.
As this pandemic rages on and the MCO continues, I wish all members, friends, and colleagues to practice a NEW NORMAL – stay safe, maintain good physical and mental health while adhering to MCO, vigilant physical/social distancing and hand washing, and continue to provide healthcare to our children!!
Hung Liang Choo