Doctors call for clear data and ‘traffic-light system’ to handle crisis

Doctors call for clear data and ‘traffic-light system’ to handle crisis

A group of doctors has urged Putrajaya to use more detailed data and performance targets and a simpler “traffic light” system in managing the Covid-19 crisis.

They said the large amount of data on the pandemic that is generated every day must be shared in an easy-to-view manner via an online public dashboard.

The Malaysian Health Coalition said government decisions must become truly data-driven, not influenced by lobbying, and avoiding a double standard in enforcements or sudden policy U-turns.

The coalition, which is made up of 45 medical groups and 18 doctors, said figures on the number of cases, ICU beds in use, and vaccination rates were not adequate to capture the complexity of the Covid-19 pandemic.

There should be “balanced and nuanced key performance indicators to accurately measure progress and performance”, the group said.

It added that these performance targets must be independent and scientific, and their methods should be constant and comparable across time. It also called for the use of data at state or district level for more targeted decisions.

“While we note that the government will move from one phase to another depending on the statistics, we believe that a scheduled decision-making timetable is also helpful,” it said.

The group also suggested the use of a simpler system for the varying levels of movement restrictions, such as the “traffic light” system used in the European Union, Peru and Singapore.

The government should also improve data sharing and transparency to enable the effective management of the pandemic. Sharing of data would build public trust and enable robust review by experts. - FMT