Pandemic Struggles Vol 3: Medical Assistants

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By Alan Tan Miao Thong

"Be a rubber dummy, not a sandbag. When you get hit, bounce back up." Currently completing his PRP in HSA, Alan is fond of easy write-ups, hot cups of tea and sleep.

Medical assistants – one of the frontliners that we are not as familiar with, but nonetheless key personnel in handling the pandemic. In this week’s Pandemic Struggles, we take a look at the challenges that a medical assistant have during the toughest parts of the MCO.

Can you introduce a little about yourself?

My name is Muhamad Bakhrul  Ulum Bin Moh Rashid Currently Serviced At KK Precint 9 ,Putrajaya. I have served as a Medical Assistant for 6 years in my sector.

What changes have been made in your work place since the COVID-19 pandemic?

I believe that  everyone has felt the economic and financial strain from the pandemic since May, including me. I really cannot deny the pressure of my work as a healthcare worker in this period, coupled with the decreased time that I spend with my beloved family.

How has this affected your work as a medical assistant?

As a MA, we often sacrifice our annual leave to serve in the pandemic amidst changes  to working times and pressure in helping patients with respiratory difficulties or otherwise. My workplace also runs a shift system, so we don’t get to see our family option; it is pretty hard to get used to this new situation.

What are some of your prime concerns as a healthcare professional for this crisis?

My main concern as a healthcare professional is the global impact on the health systems around the world due to the pandemic.  Shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, visors and gloves are adding to pressures and worries. It can be stressful to be separated from others if you have been or were exposed to COVID-19. Each person that underwent a period of home isolation may feel differently about it; and mental stability is an important concern among healthcare workers.

How has this pandemic affected your personal life? What are your worries living in this pandemic?

The COVID-19 pandemic may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a new disease and what could happen due to it can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children alike, myself included. Public health actions, such as social distancing, can make people feel isolated and lonely and increase stress and anxiety. However, these actions are necessary to reduce the spread of COVID-19.Coping with stress in a healthy way will make me, the people I care and love the most  about, and my  community stronger.

What kind of progress would you like to see from the government and health sector to help you cope with your struggles?

We definitely need more healthcare funding in Malaysia, but a lot of developed countries are also struggling with the situation. Although medical treatment has made astonishing advances over the years, its packaging and delivery are often inefficient, ineffective, and non-user friendly. Our government really need to fund research to look for solutions to diseases and to reduce medical errors by adopting a holistic health care delivery system to consumers via technology through its business models. Healthcare expenditure in research and development runs in the billions of ringgit this year, second only by the government’s spending on health care R&D. This should continue in pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices, and health service, as expenditure in these areas also goes into the tens of billions.

The opinions expressed in the article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the view of MPS YPC.