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Use emergency funds to fight Sabahs Covid-19 as donations will be slower, doctors tell federal government | Malaysia

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The MMA said the federal government should allow emergency funds to be used for resources and equipment to handle the Sabahs Covid-19 situation.  Photo by Hari Anggara
The MMA said the federal government should allow emergency funds to be used for resources and equipment to handle the Sabahs Covid-19 situation. Photo by Hari Anggara

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

MMA President Professor Datuk Dr Subramaniam Muniandy warned that waiting for donations for the Sabahs Covid-19 war would not be effective at a time when there is an urgent need for more medical resources in the state.

The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) is urging the Malaysian federal government to release much-needed emergency funding to manage the deteriorating Covid-19 situation in Sabah.

Now that the Sabah state government is in line with the federal government, we believe it is possible that more can be done to meet the needs of the Sabah state in fighting the pandemic. If we relied solely on donations, it may take longer for the funds to be channeled, he said in a statement today.

He noted that the occupancy rate of 1,018 beds in nine Covid-19 hospitals in Sabah was reported to have reached 71 per cent on 14 October, and that 72 per cent of Sabahs 122 beds for Intensive Care Unit (ICU) patients were yesterday it is reported to be currently used by both Covid-19 and non-Covid-19 patients.

MMA is concerned; given the number of cases reported daily, the situation could escalate to a critical point much faster than anticipated. We need to prepare for that eventuality and act with greater urgency.

Funds will be needed for a growing demand for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), medical equipment, additional ventilators, quarantine centers, transportation of medical equipment as well as allowances for full-time volunteers, he said.

The MMA also said that state lawmakers who were just elected to the Sabahs state election in September should also be more involved in their constituencies, as now is the time for them to fulfill their duties to voters by encouraging them to cooperate and observe 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 adhere to the SOPs. State assembly persons can also assist in sourcing suitable quarantine centers, along with all other pandemic needs, and ensure that they are available.

The biggest favor they can do for all members of the Sabah-based front now is to get their constituents to give their full cooperation and support by staying home and following the SOPs closely. This will significantly help in breaking the chain of infections, said Dr Subramaniam.

Dr Subramaniam also called for better coordination among all agencies on the ground and for the Sabahs State Crisis Command Center to be upgraded to ensure that assistance from the public and NGOs is well coordinated to assist states’ efforts to fighting Covid-19.

It will also be important that all relevant data on equipment, manpower, bed strength, testing capacity is displayed in a panel of the state command center for better coordination between stakeholders.

In particular, the panel should include data on deficiencies and needs. We also urge the state crisis command center to engage private sector hospitals, clinics and doctors in the fight against the pandemic, he said.

Dr Subramaniam also said that the Sabah MMAs branch together with the Malaysian Medical Association Foundation recently launched a Sabah Covid-19 fund, where all donations will be used to help Sabah with regard to healthcare equipment, medical equipment, Equipment Personal Protection (PPE) and other related relief.

He noted that donations to the Sabah Covid-19 Fund can be channeled directly to the Malaysian Medical Association Foundation to the United Bank Outside account: 1063057741 with the recipient reference to Sabah Covid, and all donors donating more than RM250 for this fund to receive tax exemption invoices via email or whatsapp of their transaction receipts with their full name, address and telephone number in [email protected] 0128055009.

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