Health DG responds to allegation that MoH ‘failed’ frontliners

Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah says the logistics problem in distributing materials to other states, faced last week, has been resolved.

PETALING JAYA: Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah today fought back a claim by a private doctor accusing authorities of failing to protect medical frontliners attending to Covid-19 patients at public hospitals nationwide, saying an overwhelming majority of infected health workers did not get infected in the line of duty.

“Most of the cases also initially occurred at private hospitals,” he said during his daily media briefing on Malaysia’s battle against the deadly virus.

He also said the death of two healthcare workers had nothing to do with being exposed to Covid-19 patients.

Earlier today, Dr Musa Nordin of KPJ Damansara Specialist Centre criticised the health ministry, saying medical frontliners were at risk of contracting the virus due to the unavailability of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Musa also urged Noor Hisham and his team – whom he said were at their “ivory towers in Putrajaya” – to go to the ground and visit the affected hospitals.

“Are you waiting for a doctor or nurse or our allied health professionals to die from Covid-19 before you are jolted into action?” he said in one of several messages he shared today.

Noor Hisham meanwhile said the health ministry was also concerned about measures taken by private hospitals to ward off the spread of the virus.

He said his officers had met twice with representatives from private hospitals about the matter.

Noor Hisham also said there was no issue of insufficient supply of PPEs.

Many have donated PPEs to the ministry, he said, which was good as it would reduce the ministry’s dependency on importing such material.

“We have sufficient supply. Only last week, there was an issue when it came to distribution to other states.

“It’s a logistics issue. But it has been resolved. So, no problems with stock.”

He also said that frontliners were screened for the virus periodically.