Over 5,000 Long Covid symptoms patients undergoing treatment as of Oct 31, says Health DG

Health director general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah (Photo by Sam Fong/The Edge filepix)

Health director general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah (Photo by Sam Fong/The Edge filepix)

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KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 10): A total of 5,193 patients are undergoing treatment and monitoring under rehabilitation programmes to address Long Covid symptoms nationwide, involving 31 public hospitals, four university hospitals and six private health facilities as of Oct 31.

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said there were two periods for Long Covid, where former Covid-19 patients still showed symptoms and complications after their Covid-19 infection.

“Ongoing Symptomatic Covid-19 is having signs and symptoms anywhere from 4 weeks up to 12 weeks after being infected with Covid-19, and Post Covid-19 Syndrome is having persisting signs and symptoms beyond 12 weeks of infection, which cannot be explained by any other diagnosis," he said in a statement on Wednesday (Nov 10).

In the meantime, he said patients with Long Covid also needed specialised treatment, and could potentially face serious implications on their health.

"Without specific treatment, this condition will persist, and it will take a long time to return to a fully functional level. Indirectly, it will affect the quality of life of individuals after being infected with Covid-19.

"In addition, Long Covid can also cause serious implications such as increased morbidity, disability, decreased productivity, and loss of income. Socio-economic burden not only impacts patients, but is also felt by family members, society and the country," he said.

Among frequently reported symptoms are lethargy, difficulty breathing while doing activities, cough, pain and difficulty sleeping soundly.

The Ministry of Health Malaysia’s  (MOH) Rehabilitation Medical Service has also collaborated with the Ministry of Human Resources, SOCSO Tun Abdul Razak Melaka Rehabilitation Centre and satellite branch at Ara Damansara Hospital to empower Long Covid patients through the Return to Work programme, by providing comprehensive rehabilitation treatment.

"In addition, the supply of appropriate rehabilitation equipment and payment of SOCSO benefits for eligible contributors will also be carried out. Collaboration with non-governmental organisations such as Mercy Malaysia and Care, Share and Circle is also being done to obtain professional support for the provision of education materials to patients in the main languages used in Malaysia in print, as well as in electronic form," he said.

Noor Hisham also advised the public, including those who have received the Covid-19 vaccine, to continue to adhere to the recommendations and health advice from the ministry.

"Adhere to standard operating procedures (SOPs) as the new norm, and get the Covid-19 vaccine to reduce the risk of serious infections, the number of deaths, as well as build herd immunity," he said.

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