Malaysian Medical Association urges National Disaster Agency to resolve facial mask shortage

A hospital staff takes the temperature of visitors arriving at the Pantai Hospital in Kuala Lumpur March 3, 2020. — Bernama pic
A hospital staff takes the temperature of visitors arriving at the Pantai Hospital in Kuala Lumpur March 3, 2020. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, March 21 — The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) is calling on the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) and relevant ministries to resolve the shortage of face masks for healthcare workers. 

Its president Dr N. Ganabaskaran said some doctors had gone to the extent of recycling their masks while seeing patients and some had chosen to close their clinics because there are no face masks and hand sanitizers to protect themselves and their patients. 

“The issue of face mask shortage has been highlighted since the outbreak in early February 2020, it has made national news and every citizen is aware about this. Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) like face masks are a basic necessity when seeing patients who may carry this infectious disease.

“It is a requirement to provide hand rubs and face mask when seeing patients under investigation and it is indeed frustrating and not to mention unsafe not to have these items,” he said in a statement today. 

He said healthcare workers in the private sector be it general practitioners, specialists, dental surgeons, nurses, pharmacists, radiographers, high-risk patients undergoing haemodialysis are all exposed to possible infection due to the inaction by the relevant ministries in addressing this issue.

Dr Ganabaskaran added, the failure to address this issue will result in higher risks of infections among patients and healthcare workers at healthcare facilities where people should feel safe.

“MMA wishes to reiterate that combating Covid-19 is a collective responsibility and not solely the responsibility of our health ministry,” he said. — Bernama

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