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Weekly Asian Medical News Bulletin

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Welcome to Medical Channel Asia’s newest segment, the weekly Asian medical news bulletin. Each week, we will bring you essential medical news from within the region to keep you up-to-day on the healthcare industry. This week, we examine COVID-19, Monkeypox and other news from across the region. 

The Philippines 

While the outdoor mask mandate was lifted earlier last month, the representative for the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines has called for the government to reinstate the mandate following a 22 per cent increase in COVID-19 cases in the past weeks. 

Vietnam

Vietnam announced its first case of Monkeypox earlier this week. The patient returned to Ho Chi Minh from Dubai and started developing symptoms. She is currently isolated and in stable condition. She has since tested negative after 12 days of treatment. The health ministry is preparing strengthened prevention and treatment efforts in several localities to prepare for future cases, and this case is unlikely to spread further as the close contact of the first patient has not displayed any symptoms

Indonesia 

Indonesia becomes the first country to grant approval for a China-made mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, even ahead of China. Walvax Biotechnology’s mRNA vaccine has been given approval for emergency use in the populous Southeast Asia country by the country’s food and drugs agency (BPOM). The Walvax vaccine’s six-month shelf life is longer than other mRNA vaccines that Indonesia is currently using, such as Pfizer and Moderna, which may have been a consideration for the decision. The vaccine will be produced locally by Etana Biotechnologies.

Indonesia is also facing a booster vaccine shortage and will be diverting some of the supply from overstocked regions to understocked regions while awaiting new supply.

Thailand

Amid rising mental health cases in Thailand, the department of Mental Health (DMH) and the National Health Security Office (NHSO) are collaborating to expand their services to patients with mental health issues in families and communities

Meanwhile, in Malaysia, Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman called on the health ministry for more support for mental health, citing Thailand’ as an example to emulate

Singapore

A recent tender to recruit doctors from India has gotten Singaporeans up in arms. MOH Holdings, the holding company for Singapore’s healthcare institutions, opened a tender to recruit 180 doctors from India over the next three years to supplement the local workforce. It led to concerns from local netizens over the quality of the doctors hired while medical experts questioned the social economic impact of developed countries like Singapore hiring resources from less-developed countries.

Malaysia

Johor Bahru’s state Health and Unity Committee chairman Ling Tian Soon states that the bed usage in maternity wards in the state is still under control. This is a response to nationwide concerns about the conditions that pregnant mothers were put into that led to the women, family and community development ministry raising its concerns with the health ministry.

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