Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) as a major higher education provider in the country was no exception when the COVID-19 pandemic struck and affected adversely. However, turning this hardship into opportunity, the university adapted quickly by transforming into online and alternative education providers immediately, resulting in teaching and learning which continued from outside campus. Academicians and staff also came forward with innovative ways to contribute to community and society during this trying time.
What really stands out during this COVID-19 pandemic was the fact that it had unintentionally pushed forward the realization of Education 5.0 mission of UiTM bringing out the various talent and expertise of the university workforce who voluntarily came up with ways to contribute in helping the society and country by using their respective expertise.
For the Faculty of Medicine, with a dual role of educator and healthcare provider, the academic and staff have taken the challenge posed by this pandemic impact by strengthening inter-agency collaboration.
Malaysian Minister of Higher Education, YB Dato’ Dr. Noraini Ahmad and Minister of Special Function, YB Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof visited UiTM Medical Specialist Center (UiTMMSC) on 16th April 2020. Both the ministers appreciated the commendable efforts by UiTM in fighting COVID-19.
The Vice-Chancellor of UiTM, Prof Emeritus Datuk Ir Dr. Mohd Azraai Kassim, Rector of UiTM Selangor Branch Prof.Dato’ Dr. Abu Bakar Abdul Majeed; Dean of Faculty of Medicine, Prof. Dr. Mohd Zamrin Dimon and Director of UiTM Hospital, Professor Dr. Sazzli Shahlan Kasim were also present. It is to be noted that UiTMMSC is run by the majority of specialists and staff from the Faculty of Medicine.
Two main initiatives were highlighted during the visit. The first one was the Special COVID-19 Laboratory led by Professor Dr. Ariza Adnan with the aim of reducing the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) burden to perform Covid-19 virus testing. The second one was COMBAT (Coronavirus Mobile Test Unit), a mobile screening unit that was developed by a group of UiTM alumni called DDEC19MY (Doctors and Design Engineers against COVID-19 Malaysia), in collaboration with HUiTM. The COMBAT which caters to a patient population at the moment was planned to be deployed for safe public mass screening in the future.
Partners in UiTM Covid-19 fights were the NGOs, such as MyWatch and Rafulin Foundation who were honored in an official handover ceremony witnessed by both ministers in their visit through the donation of medical equipment amounting to almost RM700,000 in value.
UiTM Medicine as part of UiTM has shown that joining hands and encouraging collaborative efforts will pay off in our fight against this Covid-19 pandemic.
*This article first appears in QSWOWNews Asia&Oceania on 11th June 2020