28 Feb 2020 COVID-19 Insights and Sharings from the Malaysian Perspective
Kuala Lumpur, 13 February 2020 – As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continues, numerous information and messages has been seen flooding the digital space. A public forum on COVID-19 was organised by the International Medical University’s IMU Cares office to provide the IMU Community and surrounding communities an update of COVID-19, best practices and preventive measures to take.
The forum opened with an address by IMU’s Vice-Chancellor, Prof Abdul Aziz Baba who welcomed everyone and reminded them in situations such as these, to stay calm and always refer to credible resources such as the Ministry of Health or governing authorities, be vigilant in maintaining good personal hygiene and cleanliness such as washing hands with soap and water or using sanitisers regularly.
|The panel of speakers comprised of|
|Dr Kebhir Verasahib
Deputy Director for Infectious Diseases, Disease Control Division,
Ministry of Health (MoH), Malaysia
|Dr Khebir Verasahib is currently the Deputy Director for Infectious Diseases of the Disease Control Division at the Ministry of Health Malaysia (MoH). He was the former director of National Public Health Labs, MoH. He also serves as a consultant public health physician and a member of the MoH’s Board of Study for Epidemic Intelligence Programme. He has published five scientific articles in peer reviewed journals and presented several papers at conferences.
Dr Khebir is actively involved in the One Health initiatives with the Department of Veterinary Services, Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry, Malaysia and various universities. He was also involved in the collaborative research project “Prevention of Active TB Among Contact with LTBI: A Randomised Clinical Trial in Malaysia” funded by the Ministry of Technology, Research and Innovation, Malaysia.
|Prof Datuk Dr Lokman Hakim Sulaiman
Pro-Vice Chancellor, Research,
International Medical University (IMU) Director, Institute for Research, Development and Innovation (IRDI), IMU
|Prof Datuk Dr Lokman Hakim, is currently the Pro Vice-Chancellor of Research and Director of Institute for Research, Development and Innovation (IRDI) and Professor of Public Health at the IMU. He has served the Ministry of Health for 32 years, including 18 years at the Institute for Medical Research (IMR), before taking optional retirement in July 2017. His last position before retirement was Deputy Director General of Health (Public Health). At the IMR, he served as the Director of Infectious Disease Control Centre, Head of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Brugian Filariasis and Dean of the SEAMEO-TROPMED School of Post-Graduate Diploma in Applied Parasitology & Entomology.
He was very much involved in health policy consultation and development both at national and international level. He headed MoH Delegations in various consultative fora such as ASEAN Senior Officers for Health Development, OIC Strategic Health Plan of Action, and various WHO meetings. He headed the Malaysian delegation that tabled the Malaysian initiated decision [FCTC/COP6(19)] to the 6th Conference of Parties of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in Moscow in 2010 on trade and investment issues. Among others, it urges Parties to take the public health dimension of tobacco consumption into account, while in the course of trade negotiations.
He had served in various consultancy capacities to WHO. Among the more recent assignment were Member of Malaria Advisory Committee, WHO Geneva, 2015, Member of Expert Advisory and Group on Environmental Health to the WHO Regional Director of Western Pacific Office (WPRO), 2016. He chaired two WHO consultative meetings on monkey malaria in 2014 and 2017. He is currently a member of the WHO Pandemic Influenza Preparedness (PIP) Framework Advisory Group, Geneva for the period 2017-2022.
|Prof James Koh Kwee Choy
Associate Dean, Quality, Research & Postgraduate Studies, International Medical University (IMU)
Consultant Infectious Diseases Specialist
|Prof James Koh Kwee Choy is a Consultant Infectious Diseases Specialist and Professor of Medicine in IMU. He is also the Associate Dean for Quality, Research and Postgraduate Studies.
His fields of expertise are antibiotic resistance, infectious and tropical diseases, HIV, Tuberculosis, infectious disease control and prevention, as well as epidemiology and statistical analysis. He has published widely in multiple journals and was part of the editorial team of the Malaysian Consensus Guidelines on Antiretroviral Therapy 2017.
The panel discussion was moderated by Prof Khoo Suan Phaik, Associate Dean, Community Engagement, IMU.
The forum started with Prof James Koh who animatedly shared his clinical perspective on COVID-19 infection, putting the audience at ease. He also shared anecdotes on previous case experiences and how such situations were well-managed by good governance and practices. This was followed by Dr Khebir Verasahib, who spoke from the Ministry of Health’s perspective on “What’s Happening on the Ground”. Reinforcing Prof Koh’s perspective, Dr Verasahib provided in-depth insights on all the steps and procedures put in place by the Malaysian Ministry of Health since the outbreak. To date, the Malaysian government has contained the situation and continues to take proactive measures where required. Prof Datuk Dr Lokman who also serves on the WHO Framework Advisory Group for Pandemic Influenza Preparedness, expanded on the sharing from the perspective of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Malaysia.
The lively exchange of knowledge, experience and burning questions were addressed accordingly by the panel of speakers. Participants were grateful for the opportunity to understand better the COVID-19 situation and left the auditorium more informed.
Video of the forum: https://youtu.be/N4EXf0w1GmE.