Sunday, July 14, 2024
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Brunei Town

Towards quality healthcare

Daniel Lim

Panaga Hospital, now known as Panaga Health celebrated its 54th anniversary on March 16. The health centre played a vital role in the Belait District and Brunei as a whole.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Haji Ahmad Fakhri bin Dato Paduka Haji Junaidi, who has been working at Panaga Health for seven and a half years, recalled when Panaga Health was first opened in 1968.

It was one of the best-equipped medical facilities in the country, providing medical and healthcare needs mainly to the Brunei Shell community, centred around the Seria area.

“But as Brunei grew and developed, so did its healthcare system and facilities as well as road connectivity and accessibility. This also meant that adequate hospital care could now be provided by larger government medical facilities in Kuala Belait and Bandar.”

He also looked back on the history of Panaga Health, and noted that all medical facilities have always sought to improve the level of quality of care provided to the surrounding community.

“Quality healthcare requires the facility to look at ways that it can improve itself. It’s also important to ensure that there is a mechanism for patients to provide feedback on the treatment that they receive and for the medical facility to take that feedback and improve their services.”

Reflecting on the sudden change that the pandemic has brought to the nation and the world, he explained, “The first thing in our minds was the safety of our staff. To care for the community, we needed to take care of our staff first – making sure that there were protocols in place to protect them and this included the use of adequate personal protective equipment (PPE).”

ABOVE & BELOW: Medical officers working at the Panaga Health. PHOTOS: DANIEL LIM

A Panaga Health officer operates a medical equipment. PHOTO: DANIEL LIM

Even during the peaks and valleys of the global pandemic, many medical facilities sought to take precautions to not only minimise the spread of the virus among the residents and patients but also the medical staff.

Some precautions that Panaga Health had to adopt included temperature checks and encouraging the use of face masks.

“During this pandemic too, there was a lot of collaboration and cooperation with the Ministry of Health (MoH), particularly in developing our capabilities to conduct polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing, antigen rapid test (ART) testing with certification, as well as providing COVID-19 vaccination services to the Brunei Shell community and the public in general.”

Furthermore, he noted that this collaboration allowed Panaga Health to play a bigger role in battling the pandemic, particularly in protecting the health of oil and gas frontliners and their families. “We also believe that through our efforts in fighting COVID-19, we play an important role in ensuring that Brunei Shell Petroleum Company Sdn Bhd (BSP) can continue to operate and provide energy to the country; powering and keeping the lights on for Bruneian homes, other hospitals and healthcare facilities, businesses and schools.

“We will also proudly carry our vision in delivering quality health services through CARE – Centre of excellence, Accredited for quality, Responsive to Business and Patient Needs, and Expert Health Care Team,” said Dr Haji Ahmad Fakhri.

Senior Health Promotion Adviser Rosmi binti Haji Salman started as a trainee nurse in December 1993. She recalled many memorable experiences in her medical journey at Panaga Health.

“Although I have been working in the same place for almost 29 years, my career path has been fulfilling and interesting, especially having work with so many wonderful people in the Brunei Shell Joint Venture (BSJV) community and outside of the business.”

She remembered her early days as a staff nurse and a midwife in Panaga Hospital, where she and her colleagues enjoyed working together with short-term contract employees from outside Brunei up until it was renamed Panaga Health Centre (PHC) in 2003.

“With the rebranding, the centre was operated by more than 90 per cent of Bruneian staff and introduced new services such as Occupational Health services and Health Promotion services.”

She shared that the shift towards a local workforce is one of the first things that comes to her mind, as there was a push for local recruitment in support of the Bruneianisation directive.

“This has made Panaga Health a hub for operating and attracting qualified local employees to work at the medical facility.”

She also noted that Panaga Health has been providing services to BSJV employees and its business partners; especially in providing quality fitness assessments and ensuring employees are fit for work.

“With this experience, Panaga Health hopes to provide the same quality healthcare service to the general public.”

She believed that when Panaga Health first got accredited by the Malaysian Society for Quality in Health in 2013, it was the start of a new era for Panaga Health.

“This has led to where Panaga Health is accredited for its high-quality services up until today, which has been one of the many reasons why our patients keep coming back to Panaga Health to get their care and treatment,” she added.