Selangor Journal
Former Health minister Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad in a special interview on February 11, 2020. — File Picture BERNAMA

Federal govt should share clinical data with state, says former Health minister

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By Ida Nadirah Ibrahim

SHAH ALAM, April 1 — Head of the Selangor Task Force for Covid-19 (STFC) Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad has proposed for the Federal government to share pertinent clinical information of the Covid-19 cases in order for the state to map out the crucial areas affected in detail.

In a talk show, Consider This, on Astro Awani last night, Dzulkefly said the state government task force is not interested in the personal data of the patients, such as name and contact details, as this breaches data protection.

“As much as we would want to (obtain the clinical information) we are not getting that kind of information, the very pertinent clinical information.

“We want nothing of patient identity, we want it to be anonymised. But what we want is primarily relating to the population where we could do relevant analytics to really get to zoom into areas, not just districts, but we can micro-target all our testing so it would be more targetted rather than just blanket,” said the former Health minister in the interview.

Dzulkefly said the clinical information includes data such as day of onset of symptoms, day of admission or discharge, and therapeutic drugs used on the patients.

He said such clinical notes with “granular details” would help the state government task force in mapping “meaningful plots” to identify the trend of the cases as well as targetted locations.

When asked why the Federal government has not shared the details with the state, Dzulkefly said the Health Ministry (MOH) may be reluctant to do so because of the patients’ data privacy.

“We give MOH assurance that we are in no way interested in patient identity. Privacy of the patients and data protection must be observed because we can’t compromise on that,” he said.

Dzulkefly said based on observation, the newly reported Covid-19 positive cases are no longer related to the UDA Holdings and tabligh gathering clusters as it shows transmission within the community.

“What is most worrying now is that if you see, the confirmed cases now are non-related to those (UDA Holdings and tabligh gathering) clusters.

“They are coming from sporadic cases that is it coming from community transmission within the community, which is telling you that the virus is around and that you got to do more of testing because it is no longer associated to those clusters,” he said.

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