COVID-19 Conversations 4: Selangor State COVID-19 Task Force with Dr Dzulkefly & Dr Helmi

Join a discussion on how Malaysia’s Selangor state’s approach to COVID-19 complements and differs from the measures implemented by the Ministry of Health of the federal government with two members of the Selangor State Task Force on COVID-19 – former minister of health Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad and Dr Helmi Zakariah. The discussion highlights the role that analytics, technology and science play in addressing the public health challenge of COVID-19.

Special Guests: Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad & Dr Helmi Zakariah

Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly bin Ahmad is a Member of Parliament for Kuala Selangor. He is a member of Parti Amanah Negara, a component party in the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition. He served in the Cabinet of Malaysia as Minister of Heath from 2018 to March 2020. After his coalition no longer held federal power he became the chairman of the Selangor State Task Force on COVID-19. He received his doctorate in toxicology from the Imperial College (St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School) in 1993.

Dr Helmi Zakariah started off his career in Public Health as a district program manager for the National Tuberculosis Control Programme. He was previously with the Ministry of Health Malaysia, where he co-pioneered the establishment of the Global Health Division and oversees Malaysia’s engagement with global health entities such as the WHO, MSF, ASEAN, and the Union of International Cancer Control. He also has a special interest in Trade & Public Health, and was regularly consulted to analyse multilateral trade agreements and its impact on national health policy space. In 2014, he participated in the Joint United Nations Initiative for Migration in the Asia Steering Committee, for his academic and advocacy works in the area of migrant health. In 2018, Dr Helmi Zakariah left the Ministry to embark on Machine Learning & Digital Epidemiology. Since then, he has built up AIME & AI4Good to deliver data analytics solution in public health, women & reproductive health, and agriculture with governments and corporations as its clientele across 3 continents. Both start-ups have a combined fair valuation of USD 29mil as of 2019. In Nov 2019, Dr Helmi was appointed as a member of the WHO/ITU Working Group for AI in Outbreak, a multi-institutional and global platform aimed at leveraging on Machine Learning to mitigate outbreaks. Dr Helmi had his early education from MRSM Jasin, and holds a Medical Degree from the Russian Federation with a Masters in International Public Health from University of Liverpool, the United Kingdom.

Hosted by: Dr Bridget Welsh

Dr Bridget Welsh is currently an Honorary Research Associate with the University of Nottingham Asia Research Institute Malaysia (UoNARI-M) based in Kuala Lumpur. She is also a Senior Research Associate of the Hu Fu Center for East Asia Democratic Studies of National Taiwan University, a Senior Associate Fellow of The Habibie Center, a University Fellow of Charles Darwin University. She specializes in Southeast Asian politics, with a focus on Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore and Indonesia. An author and editor of numerous books, reports and articles, her last report is Grappling with Transition: Myanmar’s 2019 Asia Barometer Findings. Her forthcoming book A Divided Malaysia: The Rise and Fall of Pakatan Harapan examines Malaysia’s 2018 elections and the transformation of national politics during the Harapan government of 2018-2020. She taught at John Cabot University, Ipek University, Singapore Management University, SAIS (JHU) and Hofstra University. She received her Ph.D in political science from Columbia University, language training at Cornell University (FALCON) and B.A. from Colgate University. She is a Senior Advisor for Freedom House, a member of the International Research Council of the National Endowment for Democracy and a core member of the Asian Barometer Survey covering fifteen countries in East Asia.