1st October 2021
2 points for RTK test kits to work in Malaysia
As the Federal government prepares the nation for a shift from a pandemic to an endemic season, more needs to be done apart from focusing on vaccination rate. By transitioning to an endemic state, the new normal of daily lifestyle requires the public to consciously monitor their health by exercising regular self-testing.
This week I visited 5 morning markets located in the Segambut constituency:
• Taman Bukit Maluri
• Taman Sri Segambut
• Taman Kok Doh
• Taman Bamboo
• Taman Segambut
and distributed RTK test kits to the traders. Many of them looked at the box, perplexed and examined the box in an unfamiliar way. I had to explain to them but the lack of knowledge in regard to the use of RTK test kits was apparent.
1. Reducing the price: This prominent conundrum is attributed to the fact that the use of RTK test kits is still irregular among the people. This is mainly due to the high selling price of RTK test kits in the market despite being capped at RM19.90 per kit by the Ministry of Health. RM19.90 can buy a struggling family 2 trays of eggs that can feed them for days. In Parliament, we are being tested twice a week for effective monitoring of the Covid situation. This is about RM40 per Member of Parliament. How many families can afford to spend RM40 a week for one family member alone? As such, increasing affordability and accessibility of RTK test kits are of utmost importance. Bring down the price to ensure the struggling families do not need to decide between buying a meal or doing a self-test.
2. Show the way: In addition, the government should mobilize their multimedia resources (national TV, billboards (instead of plastering them with Ministers’ photos), MKN SMS (instead of spam reminders) to show and display the correct use of the RTK test kits. Solely relying on instruction manuals that come with the test kits would not be sufficient, particularly the senior citizens who are not able to access or read the manuals for a variety of reasons. Videos with specific instructions in multiple languages need to be shown to the public.
In summary, affordability and sufficient awareness pertaining to the use of RTK test kits are required so that we are all well prepared to embrace Covid-19 as an endemic disease. Incorrect use of RTK test kits is no less concerning than non-usage of RTK test kits.
MP for Segambut