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Use emergency funds for Sabah’s Covid-19 fight as donations will be slower, doctors tell federal govt

Malay Mail logo Malay Mail 18/10/2020 Ida Lim
The MMA said that ghe federal government should allow emergency funds to be used for resources and equipment to tackle Sabah’s Covid-19 situation. — Picture by Hari Anggara © Provided by Malay Mail The MMA said that ghe federal government should allow emergency funds to be used for resources and equipment to tackle Sabah’s Covid-19 situation. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 18 — The federal government should allow emergency funds to be used for resources and equipment to tackle Sabah’s Covid-19 situation, the Malaysian Medical Association said today.

MMA president Professor Datuk Dr Subramaniam Muniandy cautioned that waiting for donations for Sabah’s Covid-19 fight would not be time-effective when there is an urgent need for more medical resources in the state.

“The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) urges the Malaysian federal government to release the much-needed emergency funds to manage the worsening Covid-19 situation in Sabah. 

“Now that the Sabah state government is aligned with the federal government, we believe it is possible that more can be done to meet the needs of the state of Sabah in fighting the pandemic. If we were to rely on donations alone, it may take longer for funds to be channelled,” he said in a statement today.

He pointed out that the occupancy rate of the 1,018 beds across nine Covid-19 hospitals in Sabah was reported on October 14 to have reached 71 per cent, and that 72 per cent of Sabah’s 122 beds for Intensive Care Unit (ICU) patients were yesterday reported as being used currently by both Covid-19 and non-Covid-19 patients.

“MMA is concerned; in looking at the number of daily cases reported, the situation may escalate to a critical point much quicker than anticipated. We need to prepare for that eventuality and act with greater urgency. 

“Funds will be needed for an increasing demand for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), medical equipment, additional ventilators, quarantine centres, transportation of medical equipment as well allowances for volunteers who will be working round the clock,” he said.

MMA also said that state lawmakers — who were newly elected in Sabah’s state elections in September — should also get more involved in their constituencies, as it is now time for them to fulfil their duties to voters by spurring them on to cooperate and comply with measures to curb the spread of Covid-19.

“State assembly persons should work closely with the state health department and ensure that their constituents are well informed, safe and strictly abide by the SOPs. The state assembly persons can also help source suitable quarantine centres, along with all other pandemic needs and ensure that they are readily available. 

“The biggest favour they can do for all frontliners based in Sabah now is to get their constituents to lend their full cooperation and support by staying at home and following strictly, the SOPs. This will significantly help break the chain of infections,” Dr Subramaniam said.

Dr Subramaniam also urged for better coordination among all agencies on the ground, and for Sabah’s State Crisis Command Centre to be enhanced to ensure that help from the public and non-government organisations are well coordinated to assist the state’s efforts to fight Covid-19.

“It will also be important for all relevant data on equipment, manpower, bed strength, testing capacity to be displayed on a state command centre dashboard for better coordination among stakeholders. 

“In particular, the dashboard should include data on shortages and needs. We also urge the state crisis command centre to engage private sector hospitals, clinics and doctors in the fight against the pandemic,” he said.

Dr Subramaniam also said that MMA’s Sabah branch had together with the Malaysian Medical Association Foundation recently launched a Sabah Covid-19 fund, where all donations will be used to help Sabah in terms of healthcare equipment, medical supplies, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other related relief.

He noted that donations to the Sabah Covid-19 fund can be channelled directly to the Malaysian Medical Association Foundation at the United Overseas Bank account no: 1063057741 with the recipient reference to be “Sabah Covid”, and with all donors giving more than RM250 to this fund to get tax-exemption receipts via email or whatsapp of their payment transaction slips with their full name, address and phone number to 0128055009.

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