By Karen Bong
KUCHING, April 22: Minister of Local Government and Housing Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian urges the federal government to ensure there are adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies for public hospitals on the Covid-19 frontlines in Sarawak.
He emphasised that the Sarawak government, under the Sarawakku Sayang Special Aid Package announced by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, has been helping to secure and stock PPE to aid healthcare workers.
“The Sarawak government has been trying to fill the gap with purchases of RM6.5 million worth of PPE from China to help public hospitals which are under the federal list.
“Now with contributions, we hope the supply of PPE for healthcare needs in Sarawak can be extended. We appeal to the federal government not to forget about Sarawak as public hospitals are under the federal list,” he told reporters today.
Dr Sim was met after witnessing the handing over of RM2 million worth of PPE donated by Sarawak Timber Association (STA) and Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation (STIDC) to the State Health Department.
While the current supply of new PPE should be enough for one month in Sarawak, Dr Sim however pointed out that there was a serious shortage of 3M-manufactured face masks which could be difficult to source as exports have been blocked.
“Depending on the situation in the respective hospitals but like Sarawak General Hospital (SGH), it needs 1,000 PPE a day.
“What we are short of is the surgical masks from 3M factories which are better in protecting frontline doctors caring for Covid-19 patients in hospitals.
“So we need to careful in using the [3M-manufactured] masks because we might face serious trouble in sourcing them as we received information that they have been stopped from exports,” he explained.
Meanwhile, State Disaster Management Committee chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas expressed appreciation for all the PPE contributions which have poured in from non-governmental organisations (NGOs), associations and the private sector to support the state government’s efforts in curbing the spread of Covid-19.
Other than the RM6.5 million worth of PPE purchased from China by the state government, he added that the State Health Department has also ordered RM7 million worth of supplies to replenish stocks and address Sarawak’s healthcare needs.
“The hospitals and frontline health workers need a lot of PPE so with these donations, it will help protect them as they combat the virus.
“I want to extend our appreciation for the generousity and benevolent actions of all quarters. This is the Sarawak spirit of helping each other. So let us work together hand-in-hand to make sure we win the war against Covid-19 and everybody will be safe,” he added.
Meanwhile, the RM2 million worth of medical supplies included 5,000 pieces of protective medical coveralls (sterile), 10,000 isolation gowns (non-sterile), 200 boxes of medical vinyl examination gloves, medical boots covers (10,000 pairs), medical goggles (5,000 units), face shields (5,000 pieces), KN95 medical protective masks (10,000 units), disposable medical masks (105,000 units) and medical head covers (10,000 pieces).
State secretary Datuk Amar Jaul Samion, security unit director Datuk Dr Chai Kin Chung, STIDC general manager Hashim Bojet as well as STA permanent council member Datuk Amar Abdul Hamed Sepawi and chief executive officer (CEO) Annie Ting were also present. — DayakDaily