Malaysian Medical Association claims government ‘flip-flop’ on worker screening has many confused, frustrated

MMA said there has been a shift in stance by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) in terms of the need to screen all workers before companies may resume business operations. Source (pic): TODAYonline

مم دعوا ڤوليسي ساريڠن ڤكرجا تيدق كونساستن، راماي كچيوا

The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) says there has been a flip flop in government policies with no clear-cut guidelines given for workforce testing before businesses resumed operations under the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO).

This uncertainty, it said, has left business owners, employees and even the doctors (GPs) in the country confused and frustrated.

“We received a call from MOH informing us some three weeks ago that Socso would be launching the RTK Antibody tests for our workers with the participation of our GPs. Even four days ago, during the meeting with Socso’s top management, we were told that the above screening of workers would be initiated for the workers through the GP clinics who are on their HSP panel.

“Now, we have been informed that under the Socso screening programme, only the Reverse Transcriptase — Polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) method of screening will be used,” it said.


KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) says there has been a flip flop in government policies with no clear-cut guidelines given for workforce testing before businesses resumed operations under the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO).

This uncertainty, it said, has left business owners, employees and even the doctors (GPs) in the country confused and frustrated.




According to MMA, employers had been calling clinics to arrange for screenings since the announcement of the usage of Rapid Test Kits (RTK) for screening employees.

However, it pointed out that the Social Security Organisation (SOCSO) —  with whom MMA has been working closely for many years — have said it was discontinuing the use of RTKs for the mandatory screening of workers for Covid-19.

“We received a call from MOH informing us some three weeks ago that Socso would be launching the RTK Antibody tests for our workers with the participation of our GPs. Even four days ago, during the meeting with Socso’s top management, we were told that the above screening of workers would be initiated for the workers through the GP clinics who are on their HSP panel.

“Now, we have been informed that under the Socso screening programme, only the Reverse Transcriptase — Polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) method of screening will be used,” it said.

The public must be aware that the test results using this method should typically take 24 hours to obtain, it said. And depending on the volume of test samples and other logistics issues, it may take longer.

“It must [also] be noted that the RT-PCR test results received after three days will not have any clinical value. Results must be received between 48 to 72 hours after testing or the results may not reflect the current health status of the person tested. Currently, testing capacity nationwide in the private sector is around 9,000 per day. It must also be noted that the laboratories testing these samples also test non-Covid-19 cases.

“Aside from this, as it has now been established by MoH (Ministry of Health) that RT-PCR remained the “Gold Standard” for Covid-19 detection, MoH must also be clear on the purpose of RTK antibody (still used in some applications) to clear up any doubt or confusion. What will RTK be used for now?” it posed the question to the ministry.

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As such, MMA said it has advised the GPs not to perform antibody RTK without clear guidelines on the usage of antibody RTKs, infection prevention and control protocols, interpretation guidelines and quarantine criteria that should be released by MoH.

GPs could not conduct the screening without the necessary guidelines, it said, because proper guidelines are a safety requirement or even GPs and their staff can be at risk of infection.

Adding further to the confusion, MMA said there has been a shift in stance by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) in terms of the need to screen all workers before companies may resume business operations.

“Stakeholders are confused now as to why the screenings were needed at first and no longer needed now; [they are] feeling unsafe knowing that the threat of Covid-19 is still very much around,” it said.

Therefore, MMA called on the government to provide clarity and proper guidelines for the smooth implementation of the standard operating procedures (SOPs), saying many are in the dark over the steps that need to be taken.

“We believe this confusion concerning the testing of workers would not have happened if the announcement to test workers was made after receiving the guidelines from MoH. Healthcare is highly regulated. Guidelines must be in place before the announcement of such an extensive programme,” it added.

Source:

NOTA: SAYA MEMBUAT PENGUMUMAN-PENGUMUMAN PENTING DARI MASA KE SEMASA EKSKLUSIF MENERUSI SALURAN TELEGRAM BERIKUT:



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