PUTRAJAYA: Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah has denied that there is any shortage of finances or resources in Sabah, despite the sharp rise in Covid-19 cases in the state in recent weeks.
He said “a lot of funding” as well as emergency procurement has already been approved for the state, adding that hospitals also had the capacity to take in more patients.
Noor Hisham clarified that there are 25 hospitals in Sabah, with nine specifically treating Covid-19 patients, adding that more manpower had also been deployed to help the state.
“The perception that we’re not implementing anything or that the healthcare system will collapse is not true. Hospital occupancy rate currently stands at 52% and ICU usage is only at 60%. We also have 26 low-risk quarantine centres.
“Sabah’s healthcare system still has the capacity. We hope this will continue and that we can enhance public health intervention measures in Sabah.
“There’s no lack of beds or lack of equipment. For those who want to report or state their worries, let it be based on facts,” he said at a press conference today.
Yesterday, the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) had called for “urgent and massive” financial aid from Putrajaya to control the Covid-19 situation in Sabah, failing which the healthcare system there could totally collapse.
MMA president Dr Subramaniam Muniandy had said bed occupancies were reaching full capacity in most hospitals in Sabah and in some areas, less severe cases of Covid-19 have to be isolated and home treatment instituted.
Noor Hisham said home treatment is not the ministry’s policy yet as low-risk centres and hospitals were capable of managing more patients.
While admissions have been at a high rate recently, he said the number of patients discharged daily was also high, adding that the ministry was more prepared with ample human resources and equipment such as PPE available.
“We’re exploring using more space in hospitals to be converted into ICUs, equipped with oxygenation to treat Stage 4 patients,” he said.
He added that another 100,000 RTK (rapid test kit) antigen tests were flown to Sabah a few days ago to help the state test more people with a lesser waiting time.
However, he said better coordination was needed between the different agencies at the state level, saying this was equally crucial in combating the pandemic there.
“Coordination in the state should be enhanced. We haven’t lost this war yet but neither have we won it. I think it will take us four weeks to be able to contain the infection (in Sabah).”
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