Army’s field hospital with ICU beds in Kepala Batas to begin operations tomorrow

The entrance of ICU Army Field Hospital at Kepala Batas Hospital. (May 23,2021) - LIM BENG TATT/The Star

THE army’s field hospital in Kepala Batas, Penang, will be fully operational by tomorrow, said Armed Forces Health Services division director-general Lt-Jen Datuk Dr Zulkeffeli Mat Jusoh.

He said the modular 24-bed field hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU) which was set up near Kepala Batas Hospital will have to complete its dry run first before being vetted by the Fire and Rescue Department for approval.

“We must first test the effectiveness of the field hospital, ” said Lt-Jen Dr Zulkeffeli in a press conference at the field hospital yesterday.

Earlier, he inspected the ICU facility at Kepala Batas Hospital with Health Department director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah and Health secretary-general Datuk Mohd Shafiq Abdullah.

The field hospital, located in the compound of Kepala Batas Hospital, can accommodate 24 high-risk Covid-19 patients at one time and help those suffering from respiratory difficulty with ventilators.

Meanwhile, Army Chief of Staff Lt-Jen Datuk Mohd Zakaria Yadi, who was with the entourage visiting the facility, said the army will assist the ministry with their assets based on the needs.

“The setup of this field hospital is meant to assist the Health Ministry cope with the spike in Covid-19 patients that has caused ICU beds in all hospitals in the country to be in short supply, ” he said.

Lt-Jen Mohd Zakaria said a total of five army officers and 34 personnel would be on duty at the army’s field hospital in Kepala Batas and would be assisted by 29 civilian staff members.

The facility will be equipped with three modular ICU equipment units, a modular X-ray machine, 10 utility tents, medical assets and general logistics gear.

Lt-Jen Mohd Zakaria hopes that the cooperation between the army and the ministry could be continued and he hopes that it could give the best service to the people.

This is the third field hospital set up by the army this year.

Two others were set up earlier this month at Padang Perdana, Kelantan, and Kapit, Sarawak.

Last October, the army set up a 100-bed field hospital in Tawau, Sabah, when the state was reeling from a surge in Covid-19 cases.

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