Health chief tells why some devised their own protection gear

A health worker in personal protective gear giving hand sanitiser to a patient. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: The health ministry acknowledged that some medical personnel had to devise their own personal protective equipment (PPE) when treating Covid-19 cases, but said the apparent shortage was due to a “distribution issue”.

Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah gave an assurance, however, that there was now sufficient stock.

He said the utilisation rate is high in “fast-moving hospitals” like Hospital Sungai Buloh.

“That is the reason why we are going to stock up for all hospitals, to make sure they have enough to use over the next couple of weeks,” he told a press conference in Putrajaya, adding that it is no longer an issue as the ministry has “ample stock” of PPE.

He was asked to comment on video clips making the rounds on social media that showed frontliners from several hospitals nationwide using makeshift PPE because of insufficient supply.

In a statement earlier, Noor Hisham revealed that the ministry had obtained 33 million pieces of PPE for healthcare workers to be distributed this week.

“The government has received PPE supplies, contributed by various quarters. About 3 million units of PPE are being distributed to health facilities based on their needs,” he said.

Earlier today, FMT reported that paediatricians Dr Zulkifli Ismail and Dr Musa Mohd Nordin said they had received multiple messages from colleagues at public hospitals across the country appealing for PPE

“We have received SOS messages for N95 masks, face shields, air-purifying respirators, hood covers and boot covers,” they said.

Kedah donates RM430,000 to buy additional equipment

In Alor Star, the Kedah government donated RM430,000 to the Sultanah Bahiyah Hospital so it could purchase additional equipment to treat Covid-19 patients.

They include two units of mechanical cardiopulmonary resuscitation (MCR) machines, a video laryngeal scope, a portable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration system, a defibrillator with patient monitor (defibmonitor) and seven syringe pumps.

Petronas donates RM20mil in equipment and supplies

Yayasan Petronas, the charity arm of Petronas, is contributing RM20 million worth of medical equipment and supplies to help hospitals and healthcare staff fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.

The foundation said the equipment and supplies include ventilators, hospital beds and mattresses, thermal imaging cameras, digital thermometers, virus test kits, masks and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) which would be supplied to gazetted hospitals and quarantine centres.

Hand sanitisers would also be provided to selected homes for senior citizens.

RM40mil from GLC network for supplies, protection gear

A network of government-linked companies also said today that it had raised RM40 million in donations, of which RM17 million has been pledged directly to purchase medical supplies, Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and ventilators.

The companies which pledged contributions were Affin Bank Bhd, CIMB Bank Bhd, Retirement Fund (Incorporated), Permodalan Nasional Bhd, Sime Darby Property Bhd, and Pharmaniaga.

Other companies that have made their pledges include Tenaga Nasional Bhd, Telekom Malaysia, TIME dotcom Bhd, Yayasan Hasanah, Yayasan Sime Darby, and Yayasan UEM.

The RM17 million allocation will be primarily focused on the provisions of medical supplies which include PPEs and ventilators.

The network said several members had already implemented relief support measures costing about RM23 million.

These included the distribution of food supplies, hygiene kits and medical equipment to hospitals, including district health clinics, universities which are still housing students on campus, and a Surveillance Centre managed by the National Disaster Management Agency.

19mil pairs of medical gloves donated to government

The Malaysian Rubber Glove Manufacturers Association has pledged to donate 19 million pairs of medical gloves to the government.

The association’s president Denis Low said the total included the many batches of gloves already contributed to hospitals, police stations and local authorities in the past few days.

He urged the government to allow the rubber glove industry to operate at 100% capacity to meet the surge in demand for rubber gloves from around the world.

The donors include Smart Glove Corporation, Top Glove Corporation, YTY Group, Kossan Latex Industries, Hartalega Holdings Bhd and 14 other manufacturers.