Free Covid-19 tests for frontline volunteers

IMSHA leadership council chairman Thanam Visvanathan getting her swab test done at KPJ Bandar Dato’ Onn Specialist Hospital's Covid-19 drive-thru testing area.

IN A bid to look out for the safety and welfare of non-governmental organisations and individuals involved in flood relief efforts, a specialist hospital in Johor Baru sponsored Covid-19 swab tests for those involved in volunteer work in Covid-19 red zone areas.

KPJ Bandar Dato’ Onn Specialist Hospital chief executive officer Noor Haslina Harun said the move, in collaboration with the Iskandar Malaysia Social Hero Awards (Imsha) winners network, was their way of showing appreciation to volunteers who have been helping flood victims.

“The RT-PCR tests are also meant to curb the Covid-19 infection rate among the community, ” she said in a statement.

Those who took the tests included volunteers from Pertubuhan Ihsan Johor, Yayasan Kebajikan Suria, AmalTeam Johor, Kechara Soup Kitchen and Johor Women’s League.Social Hero Foundation founder Edey Suresh said the Imsha winners network of over 100 NGOs and individuals provided emergency response when floods hit various parts of Johor earlier this month.

Aside from helping to evacuate victims to temporary shelters, volunteers also assisted with cleaning after the floodwaters receded.

He welcomed the collaboration with the hospital to keep volunteers safe.

“Local humanitarian aid providers are not new to crisis situations.

“However, they are now exposed as frontliners providing relief to victims and vulnerable communities.

“The pandemic has changed

the work of humanitarians, with stricter conditions and standard operating procedures to follow.

“Handling a crisis amid the pandemic raises new challenges but the caring society at large has kept the volunteers going, ” he added.

AmalTeam Johor president Romzi Abdul Aziz thanked Imsha and the hospital for ensuring volunteers were healthy and free from illnesses.

“As volunteers, we are exposed to various groups of people due to the nature of our work, which is to assist and serve those in need.

“If we are protected, we can continue to serve them, ” he added.

Meanwhile, Johor Doctors Association president Dr Ng Kim Fong, who has been actively engaging with the Imsha network, was happy to help in conducting the tests.

“My association is honoured to play a role in this. It is amazing what we can achieve when we all work together, ” he said.

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