KUALA LUMPUR, May 4 — As Malaysia’s Covid-19 epidemic worsens, the government has offered another one-year contract extension for 3,622 medical, dental, and pharmacy officers.
The contract extensions, which will cost the government RM289.69 million in emoluments, will be informed to these officers before their current contract expires.
As of April this year, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has recruited 8,302 contract health officers, comprising 82 science officers, 4,472 nurses, 2,249 medical assistants, 666 medical laboratory technicians, 340 assistant environmental officers, and 293 diagnostic X-ray technicians.
These recruitments also include service extensions for 200 counselors that provide mental health counselling and support at public health clinics nationwide.
MOH has also appointed 3,402 MySTEP personnel to help with non-clinical work at all the ministry’s health facilities and institutions.
“As many as 648 health workers have been mobilised to Sarawak, while 366 more were deployed to Kelantan from April 26, 2021,” Health Minister Dr Adham Baba said in a statement today.
“Such initiatives will be implemented from time to time, depending on critical needs in certain states besides ensuring that current needs in other states are not affected.”
Kelantan and Sarawak are among the current Covid-19 epicentres, recording the highest incidence rates in Malaysia. The Klang Valley, however, is also nearing full occupancy for intensive care unit (ICU) beds in several public hospitals.
Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said last Saturday that bed occupancy has reached more than 88 per cent of 152 ICU or critical care beds in the Klang Valley (Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, and Putrajaya) designated for Covid-19 patients.
Covid-19 ICU and critical care bed occupancy rates have exceeded 70 per cent in Sungai Buloh Hospital, Kuala Lumpur Hospital, Ampang Hospital, Serdang Hospital, and Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Klang Hospital. Selayang Hospital and Universiti Malaya Medical Centre reported more than 50 per cent Covid-19 ICU and critical care bed occupancy rates.
The Kelantan state government reportedly said yesterday that critical Covid-19 patients are now placed in regular wards due to full ICUs in hospitals, while the east coast state only has five ventilators left of 60 units.
More than 2,000 Covid-19 patients have also been sent for home quarantine due to insufficient beds at low-risk quarantine and treatment centres (PKRC). Dr Adham said last April 28 that moderate (Stage Three) Covid-19 cases in Kelantan were forced to step down care to PKRC after hospitals reached full capacity.