Ample stock of personal protective equipments for frontliners, explains Health Ministry

Health Director-General Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah at a press conference in Putrajaya March 23, 2020. — Bernama pic
Health Director-General Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah at a press conference in Putrajaya March 23, 2020. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, March 23 — The Ministry of Health (MoH) has assured healthcare workers on the ground today that there are sufficient stocks of personal protective equipment (PPE).

In a press conference today, its director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said three million stocks of PPE have already been distributed.

“As I have said, we have enough stock now. Three million stocks have been distributed [to respective health facilities], the issue is redistribution, because fast moving hospitals, for example Sungai Buloh Hospital, their utilisation is very high.

“That is a reason why we are going to stock-up all hospitals, make sure they have enough usage over the next couple of weeks, mask and PPEs we have ample stocks,” he said.

Noor Hisham was responding to reporters’ question on healthcare workers seen in a video on social media, resorting to making their own suits and face shields due to insufficient supplies in certain hospitals.

He added that while the issue of PPE units supply shortage is now a global issue,

the ministry has taken various steps to ensure that there is sufficient PPE supply for each health facility through its coordination of supplies with respective State Health Departments.

A PPE unit consists of a face shield, gown, boot cover, apron, hair cover and head cover.

To date, MoH has successfully acquired 33 million of PPE stock supply to cover the usage of all health facilities and will be distributed within the week.

“In addition the government has also received donations of PPE from various parties and a total of three million PPE units are being distributed to health facilities as needed.

“The MoH would like to express our sincere appreciation to all parties for their contribution,” he added.

The Malay Mail earlier reported that doctors, nurses and other medical staff at Malaysian hospitals are treating Covid-19 (novel coronavirus) patients in DIY (do-it-yourself) PPEs from everyday items like dustbin liners because there is a shortage of PPEs.

A video of medical staff making protective suits from dustbin liners, cling wrap and plastic bags have been shared on social media, which has shocked healthcare workers.

Mentioned in the Malay Mail report earlier, two senior doctors have written an open letter appealing to the authorities to speed up their supplies.

Datuk Dr Musa Mohd Nordin and Datuk Dr Zulkifli Ismail, both paediatricians at private hospitals, revealed that larger hospitals like Sungai Buloh Hospital may have a sufficient supply of PPEs, but the same cannot be said of the many other hospitals, including private ones.

They urged the National Security Council to immediately mitigate the PPE shortage.

At present, 19 medical frontliners have come down with Covid-19, of which 11 are now warded in intensive care unit. 

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