Besieged Sabah Gets Boost In Covid-19 Vaccines, Oxygen Supply, Manpower

Khairy Jamaluddin committed 2.89 million Covid-19 vaccine doses, as well as oxygen cylinders, modular intensive care units, ambulances, drugs to treat Covid-19, and additional medical officers to Sabah.

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 7 — The federal government will deliver 2.89 million Covid-19 vaccine doses, as well as additional oxygen supply, drugs to treat Covid-19, intensive care unit (ICU) beds, ambulances, and deploy additional medical staff in Sabah amid the state’s Covid-19 crisis.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin told reporters yesterday in Kota Kinabalu that 224 Covid-19 vaccination sites (PPVs) have been set up in Sabah with capacity to vaccinate 83,140 people a day.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) is expected to deliver medical equipment to Sabah through the Malaysian Armed Forces, comprising 480 oxygen cylinders, 24 boxes of oxygen regulators, and five boxes of Covid-19 medication by today.

MOH will also set up a modular ICU with 10 beds in Tawau Hospital that is expected to begin operations by the end of the month.

Besides that, MOH has allocated 29 additional ambulances for hospitals across the state. The number of ambulances will be increased via temporary rental while awaiting ambulance procurement to complete according to procurement procedures.

Khairy added that 97 of 150 permanent officers under MOH were instructed to report for duty in Sabah on August 2 and September 1. As many as 50 additional medical officers will be offered permanent posts starting September 13.

The health minister, who also visited the site of a landslide that struck a complex in Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kota Kinabalu over the weekend, handed some assistance to staff and inspected the landslide damage.

He also visited the nearby Papar Hospital to check on the delayed construction of a new building at the facility.

“The existing hospital can no longer cater for the needs of the community,” Khairy tweeted, adding that MOH will discuss with the Public Works Department on the status of the delayed construction.

On Instagram, Khairy posted that he had an online town hall meeting with district health officers and hospital directors in Sabah to “hear their grouses and suggestions directly”.

“At MOH we will speak truth to power.”

Sabah, which has the lowest Covid-19 vaccine coverage in the country at about 32 per cent of its total population fully vaccinated, has been reporting more than 1,000 daily coronavirus infections since August 12 and fatalities in the double digits.

Hospitals in Sabah are reportedly short of ICU beds and oxygen supply, forcing doctors to prioritise younger Covid-19 patients for critical care.

Khairy is set to observe Covid-19 vaccination outreach activities on an island off Semporna and to visit Tawau Hospital later today, before returning to Kuala Lumpur in the evening.

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