Infectious diseases expert suggests leveraging tech for pandemic preparedness

Infectious diseases expert suggests leveraging tech for pandemic preparedness

At a recent forum for healthcare providers, Dr. Adeeba Kamarulzaman, a Malaysian professor of medicine and infectious diseases at Universiti Malaya, said local authorities must learn from the mistakes made during the COVID-19 pandemic to make more informed decisions so as to strengthen the country for the next pandemic.

Dr. Adeeba cited the use of artificial intelligence and risk ranking by the Selangor state’s government COVID-19 task force in identifying hot-zones before they became wildfires. She also explained an app designed to support home monitoring as a precautionary measure.

While these were isolated initiatives, Dr. Adeeba said they show the possibilities afforded by digital tools, “Technological advances in the sector must be further leveraged.” She encouraged the various parties involved in tackling the COVID-19 crisis to share their expertise in order to drive wider use of different technologies.

Further, she suggested the workforce be less rigid to allow for greater mobility, with “competencies rather than roles or job titles” dictating the tasks allocated in order to alleviate undue pressure placed on certain groups and redistribute it more evenly.

“The world has changed immeasurably, healthcare needs to be more agile, with an inter-professional workforce to deliver team-based care; workers must also have the flexibility to work outside the walls of individual organisations and collaborate with other professionals to offer integrated care.”

Dr. Adeeba added that public health experts view the next pandemic as a “when, not if” proposition, and proactive changes must be executed as soon as possible so that Malaysia is not caught unprepared.



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