Sunday, November 1

MMA urges federal govt to release emergency funds to assist Covid-19 crisis in Sabah

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The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) is urging the federal government to release the much-needed emergency funds to manage the worsening Covid-19 situation in Sabah. – File photo

KUCHING (Oct 18): The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) is urging the 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,” said association president Professor Dato Dr Subramaniam Muniandy.

Dr Subramaniam said it may take longer for funds to be channelled for the management of the virus outbreak if it was to rely solely on donations.

“It was reported in the media on October 14, that the occupancy rate of the 1,018 beds across nine Covid-19 hospitals in Sabah had reached 71 per cent,” he said.

He added four in 10 coronavirus patients placed in some form of facility in Sabah were ill enough to require hospitalisation and about 72 per cent of the intensive care units’ beds in the state’s public hospitals had now been occupied, including the use for non-Covid-19 cases.

“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,” he said in a statement.

Dr Subramaniam said 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.

“The newly elected state government representatives of Sabah should also get more involved in their constituencies. Now is the time for them to shine and fulfill their duties to their electorate,” he said.

He urged state assembly persons to work closely with the state health department and ensure that their constituents are well informed, safe and strictly abide by the standard operating procedures (SOPs).

Elected people representatives could also assist to source for suitable quarantine centres, along with other pandemic needs and ensuring 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,” he added.

Dr Subramaniam also asked for better coordination among all agencies on the ground and the State Crisis Command Centre should be enhanced so that needs of the state are met on all fronts and the assistance from non-governmental organisations and public is well coordinated to assist the state’s efforts.

“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,” he said.

In particular, he remarked 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 stated.

To assist efforts in Sabah, he said MMA’s Sabah branch together with the MMA Foundation had recently launched a Sabah Covid-19 fund where all proceeds will be used for healthcare equipment, medical supplies and PPE, among other related Covid-19 relief.

Contributions can be made directly to the Malaysian Medical Association Foundation at United Overseas Bank account number: 1063057741 (Recipient reference: Sabah Covid). All donations above RM250 to this fund are tax exempted.

To obtain the receipts, donors are required to email or WhatsApp the payment transactions slips with full name, address and phone number to [email protected] or 012-8055009.