Malaysians hospitals are running out of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as head covers, protective overalls, face masks, or goggles.
As such, our frontline healthcare workers have to take matters into their own hands and fashion temporary PPE out of anything they can, including plastic garbage bag and cling wrap.
In a few viral videos, our healthcare workers are seen cutting and fitting each other with the makeshift equipment.
While they were applauded for their ingenuity by netizens, even more people asked the question: why isn’t there enough equipment made available for the people responsible for saving lives?
PPEs are important specialized clothing and equipment worn for protection against infectious materials. Because of how infectious COVID-19 is, PPE for our frontline healthcare workers are even more crucial.
While self-made PPE may work in a pinch, it’s sorely inadequate and healthcare workers still run the risk of infection.
We are producing our own disposable head cover. Our matron with her own sewing machine 🙂 tried our best to reduce cost and stay safe pic.twitter.com/N4LS8wdk0m— ain izzati khiruddin (@ainhahaha) March 22, 2020
According to Malay Mail, each time doctors or nurses treat a patient or even carry out a test for COVID-19, they have to suit up, which in itself takes 30 minutes or more.
The most important thing is that it does not offer much protection, but we have no choice.A doctor from a general hospital in East Malaysia
Previously, the PN government had increased the price ceiling of 3-ply face masks to RM2.00 from RM0.80 in an effort to incentivise local manufacturers to produce more face masks to meet demand.
Datuk Dr Musa Mohd Nordin and Datuk Dr Zulkifli Ismail, both paediatricians at private hospitals, have urged the government to immediately mitigate the PPE shortage.
It is high time for the government to demand the PPE manufacturers to step up without fanfare and ramp up production, accept reduced profit margins and supply the critically needed PPEs to our healthcare workers.An open letter to the National Security Council by Datuk Dr Musa Mohd Nordin and Datuk Dr Zulkifli Ismail
Malaysia isn’t alone. There’s a huge shortage of PPE worldwide, as announced by the World Health Organization earlier this month. Because of the global nature of the pandemic and the panic-buying every country has witnessed, healthcare workers are ill-equipped with the appropriate supplies.
China has sent medical supplies to Malaysia to help relieve the shortage, but it won’t be enough. Any additional supply of face masks must go to the healthcare workers first before the balance is released to the public.
Anne is an advocate of sustainable living and the circular economy, and has managed to mum-nag the team into using reusable containers to tapau food. She is also a proud parent of 4 cats and 1 rabbit.