Protective Gear Enough, But Logistics Issues Blocking Distribution: MOH

Health DG Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah praises DIY efforts for personal protective equipment (PPE) so that the Ministry of Health doesn’t have to rely on imports.

KUALA LUMPUR, April 8 — The Ministry of Health (MOH) today assured public health workers of sufficient stock of personal protective equipment (PPE), but acknowledged some distribution problems.

Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah maintained, however, that problems last week in distributing personal protective equipment (PPE) to various states have been resolved.

“There is no problem in terms of stock,” Dr Noor Hisham told a press conference.

“But we realise that PPE usage has increased by two to three times. So, for example, when PPE usage increases in hospitals, we have to look at distributing new PPE to those hospitals as soon as possible. It’s basically a distribution issue, a logistics issue.”

He also pointed out that many parties have donated PPE to MOH.

“So we don’t rely on imports of PPE,” he said, thanking the fashion industry, the Prisons Department, and even MOH staff themselves for creating protective gear.

“The HKL (Hospital Kuala Lumpur) director even joined in making PPE. This may be a good initiative so that we don’t rely on PPE from overseas,” he added.

The Health DG praised MOH staff for their creative and innovative ideas in making shield masks, for example, at RM2 a piece, compared to purchases that may cost RM30. 

“So these innovations can be used to expand usage in our country.”

Videos and photographs have surfaced on social media of health care workers tailoring their own PPE, like boot covers and plastic body coverings. 

When asked about health care workers in the private sector, Dr Noor Hisham said MOH had two meetings with the private sector on March 1 and March 12, where they discussed the shortage of ventilators for MOH. Private hospitals subsequently loaned 70 ventilators to MOH.

“We also see they have problems, for example, in obtaining face masks and other PPE issues. We discussed these together. MOH shares guidelines with the private sector. We’re always in touch with the private sector. If they have good ideas, please forward these to MOH.”

Private general practitioner (GP) and dental clinics have complained about a shortage of face masks, forcing some GP clinics to shutter to avoid Covid-19 infections. 

MOH reported 156 new coronavirus infections today, pushing the total cases in Malaysia to 4,119 confirmed infections. The number of new recoveries today at 166 exceeded the new infections reported. Two new deaths from Covid-19 were reported, making a total of 65 fatalities in Malaysia.

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