KUALA LUMPUR, August 16 — A hospital workers’ union today demanded compensation after an unvaccinated Indonesian cleaner in a Klang public hospital died from Covid-19.
The Union of Public Hospitals’ Private Workers said in a statement that the cleaner — who was employed by Radicare (M) Sdn Bhd, an integrated facilities management company that provides non-clinical support services to health care facilities — was not vaccinated because he or she only started work at Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Klang Hospital (HTAR) in Selangor last June.
Other cleaners at HTAR have received Covid-19 vaccines last May.
The Indonesian cleaner was reportedly infected with Covid-19 early July, and subsequently admitted into HTAR for treatment on July 12. The worker was put under oxygen support on July 22 and died on the same day.
“So a big question arises here — why were cleaners, as an important group of frontliners, not vaccinated?” the union said in a statement today.
“And why did the Ministry of Health, as well as the main concessionaire employer Radicare and sub-contractor HARTA, not ensure that all cleaners were vaccinated before starting work at HTAR — a hospital that treats Covid-19 patients?”
The union, which described the issue as just “the tip of the iceberg”, also claimed that cleaners in public health care facilities are not provided with sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE), nor trained to protect themselves when working in high-risk areas.
“The cleaners are not given enough PPE throughout their working hours. When they requested PPE, they were admonished by their employer or told to give reasons for asking for the PPE,” said the union.
The union demanded compensation for the family of the deceased cleaner and to assist them in subsequent affairs.
The union also called on the Ministry of Health (MOH) to investigate and take action against those who were responsible for this tragedy and to ensure that all frontliners, including cleaners and security workers in all public hospitals, are fully vaccinated, besides supplying adequate PPE to prevent Covid-19 outbreaks at the workplace.
“The Covid-19 allowances and initiatives given to frontliners should also be given to cleaners in public hospitals, regardless of local or foreign workers.
“Recognise and appreciate the services of cleaners as important frontliners in combating the Covid-19 pandemic.”