KUALA LUMPUR, March 23 — The government has allocated RM600 million to the Ministry of Health (MOH) to purchase ventilators and personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as to hire contract staff.
RM500 million will go to MOH to buy ventilators, intensive care unit (ICU) machines, additional PPE for public health care workers, and lab capacity to screen Covid-19.
“To hasten the purchase of critical equipment, the government has approved emergency procurement,” Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said in a press conference today.
The remaining RM100 million will go to MOH to hire 2,000 new contract staff, especially nurses.
“Many nurses and hospital staff are extremely fatigued because they’re forced to work day and night to screen Covid-19 cases and treat those who test positive. I hope that these new staff can be hired immediately so that all hospitals in our country will have sufficient staff to handle the Covid-19 outbreak,” Muhyiddin added.
Health care workers across the public and private sectors have complained of a serious shortage of face masks amid the coronavirus outbreak, forcing the closure of some private clinics and driving others to recycle or make their own PPE.
Private general practitioners (GPs) and dentists say they have been unable to obtain supplies of face masks since last January and February respectively.
“A recent survey conducted by the MDA (Malaysian Dental Association) amongst dental practitioners across the country in March 2020 revealed that more than 40 per cent of the private dental clinics are having less than one-month supply,” MDA said in a statement today.