In the first of our Living With Covid-19 series, where we learn how fellow health workers are adapting and coping with the ongoing pandemic, we hear from Kelvin Lim, based in Malaysia. Kelvin is a community pharmacist who recently completed our University of Warwick, Postgraduate Diploma in Diabetes Care. Here he describes how the pandemic has affected his practice, his life as a student and recently becoming a father during the pandemic.
“Life-Changing” are the only words that aptly describe what Covid-19 has done to our lives. Out with the old and adapt to the new.
My name is Kelvin, and I am a pharmacist working in a community-based pharmacy called Georgetown Pharmacy. Unlike most other pharmacists though, I oversee product development & clinical practice in our group.
Part of my job is overseeing clinical programs we run in our pharmacies. Before Covid-19, we launched our diabetes screening campaign. We installed 14 Cobas B101 HbA1c machines in our branches to help catch undiagnosed diabetes and send these suspected patients to the doctors to get them treated early on.
Covid-19 effectively put our screening program to an abrupt halt. Our Country’s policy of social distancing has directed us not to perform point of care screening and limit the time a patient spends in a pharmacy.
This has no doubt dampened the fire we had as the program was just taking off. But instead of just complaining, we channelled our energy into creating step by step videos to guide patients on doing their own blood glucose monitoring/screening at home. Due to the diversity in our Malaysian population, we created videos of different languages to cater for patients from all walks of life.
My baby was born right in the middle of the turmoil, and as if having a baby isn’t life-changing enough, our country went into something akin to a lockdown a month after his birth.
Amidst the blurry haze of diaper changing and 2 hourly feedings, the lockdown has been somewhat a blessing to us. I was allowed to work partially from home and have been able to utilise the extra time at home to help my wife get through life in lockdown. I can’t imagine how she would cope without any help should I be working the usual hours.
The baby also brought me some more luck, as I was supposed to sit for my final Exam on 17th of April. Working from home meant I had more time to study into the wee hours of the night and wake up at odd hours unconfined to work schedule.
Being accustomed to using virtual meetings in our tutorials with lecturers has also prompted me to carry on with our in-house training online. We used to believe that training in-person is the only effective way but have since acknowledged that training using online environments comes pretty damn close.
To conclude, I think we will be seeing a new world when it awakens, and it will be very different from the world that went to sleep. Adaptation is key to thriving in our new environment.
Director of R&D
Georgetown Pharmacy Group
University of Warwick Postgraduate Diploma in Diabetes student year 2019-2020.