Volunteers clean wards to make room for patients

Taiwan Buddhist Tzu-Chi Foundation Malaysia for KL and Selangor volunteers giving the Sungai Buloh Hospital leprosarium a thorough cleaning.

A group of volunteers from a Buddhist humanitarian foundation spring-cleaned the Sungai Buloh Hospital leprosarium to make room for Covid-19 patients.

Taiwan Buddhist Tzu-Chi Foundation Malaysia for Kuala Lumpur and Selangor project leader and volunteer Dr Chan Boon Huat said the work was carried out at the request of the foundation’s administrators in response to pleas of assistance.

He said 60 volunteers were despatched to the hospital following approval by the facility’s director, Dr Kuldip Kaur.

Split into teams of five each, volunteers cleared out heavy furniture such as cupboards and old beds, and dismantled curtains before sweeping and mopping the floors with detergent.

In total, 11 wards were given a thorough cleaning to house recovering Covid-19 patients. The nurses’ hostel was also cleaned during the four-hour activity.

Upon additional request by the hospital, volunteers also made face shields for healthcare workers at the Jing Si Hall in Jalan Kepong.

The DIY shields are made from pliable transparent A4 plastic sheets, rubber bands and sponge.

Volunteers assembling face shields for healthcare workers as part of the  foundation’s Covid-19 disaster relief efforts.Volunteers assembling face shields for healthcare workers as part of the foundation’s Covid-19 disaster relief efforts.

Dr Chan, a paediatrician, said although the hospital was given 10,000 pieces of face shields by the Chinese Embassy, he was told that in the wake of rising cases, they would last no more than a week. The group’s target is to complete 10,000 pieces.

Volunteer Tan Yen Ann said she was inspired by the frontliners’ courage.

“I was touched to see medical personnel rescuing lives at the front line and I am grateful for this opportunity to contribute,” said Tan.

Fellow volunteer Kuan Su Ling concurred, adding that she considered her participation as a duty towards the nation.

In view of the highly contagious nature of the virus, volunteers were required to don face masks and gloves, and were not allowed to remove their masks during the cleaning activity.

In case of contact with contaminated items such as dirty linen, they were required to change their gloves before proceeding further.

“We also did not allow volunteers to come into contact with hospital staff who had direct exposure to Covid-19 patients. Hospital representatives who had met the group were largely from the administrative side,” said Dr Chan.

He added that the volunteers involved in making the face shields were screened to ensure they were not in close contact with infected patients and were required to wash their hands up to the elbows before settling at work tables set 1.5 metres apart.

About 100 volunteers were involved in the DIY project which took place from 1pm to 6pm daily for about a week.

The area of the leprosarium that was cleaned previously housed patients who were relocated in light of the surge in cases of the viral outbreak.

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