Putrajaya— Malaysians have taken to calling Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, the country’s Health Ministry’s Director-General since 2013, “a national hero” because of his leadership in this time of Covid-19 crisis.
Netizens have praised Dr Noor Hisham on social media, finding his timely updates on Twitter and Facebook helpful and informative. The New Straits Times (NST) says that social media users have commended Dr Noor Hisham for his “his clarity and candour in managing the health crisis.”
The Health DG has also received accolades from former Prime Minister Dr Tun Mahathir Mohamad for his unflagging efforts in addressing the health crisis.
On March 30, which is World Doctor’s Day, Dr Mahathir posted a video on Twitter thanking Dr Noor Hisham.
In the video, Dr Mahathir said, “We are currently under attack from a devastating outbreak of Covid-19. Previously, other outbreaks were not as widespread as the Covid-19 virus. I would like to express my sincere thanks to the Health Director-General Dr Noor Hisham who seems to be working days and nights to ensure that all necessary actions are carried out by his officers.”
Dr Noor Hisham, in response to the commendations he has received, has said, “It is not about me. What is important at the moment is what we can do together as one for (the nation to break the chain of the) Covid-19 (transmission).”
For him, being called a “national hero” is a non-issue. “To me, (the title) is not important. What is more important are our services (in preventing further escalation of the pandemic in the country).”
He has thanked doctors and the Ministry of Health (MOH) officials on his Facebook page for their work in curbing the coronavirus pandemic, praising them for their dedication, sacrifice and commitment. He called them “amazing.”
Malaysia currently has 3,662 confirmed Covid-19 cases, with 61 deaths. Some 138 MoH staff have tested positive for the coronavirus, but Dr Noor Hisham said on April 3 that these infections were not work-related, but had been acquired through family, friends and overseas travel. Fifty-eight of the MOH staff who are infected are linked to a wedding attended by someone who had contact with and attended the Sri Petaling tabligh gathering in March.
Dr Noor Hisham, who is a breast and endocrine surgeon in Putrajaya Hospital as well as a public servant, was the Health Ministry’s deputy director-general from 2008 to 2014 before his appointment as Director-General. He obtained a master’s degree in surgery and a medical doctorate from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, and joined the country’s civil service in August 1988 as a medical officer.
He studied and trained for his specialty in endocrine surgery in a number of universities in Adelaide and Sydney, Australia.
On Friday (Apr 3), Malaysian national news agency Bernama announced that Dr Noor Hisham had joined a coalition of global scientists to address the coronavirus pandemic in settings that are resource-poor. He is one of out of 74 signatories of the Covid-19 Clinical Research Coalition, whose target is to hasten research in these areas, which is greatly needed.
The coalition is made up of scientists, doctors, those that have funding and policymakers from more than 70 institutions from over 30 nations, and is dedicated to finding solutions in settings that are lacking in resources and where the disease can damage the already-weak health systems and cause the biggest impact on vulnerable populations. -/TISG
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