KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry will ensure that former COVID-19 patients with complications or are expected to experience 'Long COVID' complications have adequate medical access.

Deputy Health Minister Datuk Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali said those already identified with the condition will be given appointment dates to visit health facilities and relevant specialists after being discharged from the hospital.

"The same concept applies to those with comorbidities. They will be asked to go for follow-up visits at health facilities just like before they were infected with Covid-19. If they do not have to follow up treatments, they will then be given appointment dates with the relevant specialists," he said during the question and answer session at the Dewan Rakyat here today.

He said this in reply to a question from Lukanisman Awang Sauni (GPS-Sibuti) who asked the Health Minister to explain the steps taken to ensure that former COVID-19 patients with Long COVID complications have access to adequate medical treatment nationwide, and if the MOH has data on Long COVID cases that are more than 12 weeks as of October this year.

Dr. Noor Azmi said former COVID-19 patients can simply walk in to seek treatment at either a public or private health facility nearest to them if they are showing any symptoms, while those with worsening symptoms during the monitoring period and need immediate medical attention will be hospitalised for further treatment.

Dr Noor Azmi said until last November, a total of 16,890 former COVID-19 patients were given appointments for follow-up treatments at health facilities for the purpose of monitoring and receiving treatment for Long COVID symptoms.

He said through rehabilitation programmes, Long COVID patients have access to 41 health facilities nationwide, namely 32 under the MOH, three university hospitals, four private hospitals and one rehabilitation centre under the Human Resource Ministry.

Dr Noor Azmi said based on observation, there were five main symptoms that are usually associated with Long COVID patients, namely lethargy (78.9 per cent), breathing difficulty when carrying out specific activities (52.9 per cent) coughing (18.1 per cent), sleeping difficulty (14.5 per cent) and anxiety (10.4 per cent).

According to the MOH website, 'Long COVID' is a syndrome that former COVID-19 patients will continue to show for the next 12 weeks or more and the symptoms cannot be explained with any alternative diagnosis.

-- BERNAMA