KUALA LUMPUR, April 14 – The Ministry of Health (MOH) has announced its remaining stock of personal protective equipment (PPE) used by public health workers in treating Covid-19 patients nationwide.
“There are several types of PPE used by health workers, for example, footwear / boot cover (78-day stock balance), protective head cover (52-day stock balance), 3-ply mask type of nose and mouth covering (47 days remaining stock);
“N-95 mask type nose and mouth covering (37 days remaining stock); and disposable face shield (eye visor, face shield or googles) (25 day stock balance), disposable fluid resistant apron (Long Sleeves With Cuff) (23-day stock balance); jumpsuit / protective coverall (19-day stock balance), as well as regular plastic dresses, and other types of PPE,” Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a statement today during his daily Covid-19 epidemic updates.
He added that the ministry has taken various steps to ensure PPE supply is adequate at all times.
“To ensure that PPE stocks are sustainable, MOH has and continues to carry out PPE procurement processes at bulk and state level. MOH also works closely with the National Security Council, National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA) and other central agencies to ensure that issues related to the stock are addressed,” he said, also thanking non-government organisations (NGOs), private sectors and donors that have donated PPE to MOH.
“To closely monitor stock levels and consumption rates for each type of PPE in each state, MOH has used a simple online reporting and database system, which is administered by officers at each state health department, hospitals and district health offices (including all health clinics under each of these district offices). This report is closely monitored and stock mobilization actions will be taken.”
A list of names, telephone numbers and emails of liaison officers for each state has been made available to assist the public and staff to provide feedback in the event of a shortage of PPE. Immediate review and mobilisation will be done according to needs and priorities.
He further said that getting N95 masks was not an easy task because the US does not export these anymore. Instead, Malaysia uses KN95 masks imported from China. China has contributed 100,000 KN95 masks to Malaysia.
“We may look into ways to ensure stock is available for more than two weeks at any one time. Measuring stock is important in order to ensure enough distribution made to states; and subsequently each state’s distribution to hospitals and health clinics. We must make sure that the network for distribution is streamlined over time.”
Apart from that, he lamented that some health care workers who do not need the full set of PPE still use it.
“Some don’t need full PPE but wear full PPE, so we have to rationalise according to our guidelines. We hope our health frontliners will review the guidelines. If not, everyone will use full PPE even if the particular place does not call for it. We ensure which places will wear full PPE, and which places do not need to wear full PPE.”
Dr Noor Hisham called upon those who are interested to help MOH make more PPE for health care workers.
“Those who are interested, help us make PPE, can contact us and we’ll guide them how to do, what material to use etc, we have guidelines. More importantly, what we have learned is we should be self-sustainable,” he said.
He pointed out that 63 per cent of rubber gloves worldwide are produced in Malaysia.
“I can see that in fact, PPE, we should be the one taking the lead if we can have the role,” he added.
“Masks for example, we have 42 companies producing 3-ply masks. Now we think we have to look into how we can produce N95 masks for example, for self-consumption and perhaps for export in this region or globally. These are some of the things we have to look into.”