It was estimated that 7% of all COVID-19 infections worldwide were among healthcare workers. Meanwhile, as of May 2020, Malaysia reported 343 infections among healthcare workers, amounting to 5.8% of all infections in the country at that point of time.
Here, in University Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC), a comprehensive healthcare worker surveillance programme was established since the early phases of the pandemic to protect their patients, healthcare workers, and by extension, their families. A viewpoint recently published in the Journal of Global Health highlighted the hospital efforts in protecting the hospital community from becoming a COVID-19 transmission hub.
In January 2020, UMMC created a multi-disciplinary committee to provide leadership and to formulate and implement policies for the hospital. The hospital preparedness plan includes multi-prong strategies for managing COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients as well as to identify and mitigate the risk of disease transmission within the hospital. The healthcare worker surveillance programme is an integral component of this plan. It consists of five main sections: case notification, contact tracing, risk assessment, daily symptom surveillance, and outbreak management.
Serving as a hybrid COVID-19 hospital, UMMC has transitioned its operations and functions within the new normal in delivering high-quality healthcare services to the population while protecting the hospital community from COVID-19. We believe that the healthcare worker surveillance programme implemented in UMMC limits intrahospital transmission of COVID-19 and ensures better patient and staff safety during these difficult times.
Prepared by Diane Chong Woei Quan on behalf of the authors for the following manuscript: Establishment of a hospital-based health care workers surveillance programme to keep them safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of Global Health. December 2020. Vol 10 (2)