Stepping up to be frontliners


On the job: Healthcare workers on their way to take samples from a new cluster in Kg Saguking, Labuan. — Bernama

PETALING JAYA: Ordinary Malaysians ranging from college students to hotel workers are volunteering as frontliners to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

Former medical staff nurse Gan Syn June, 38, from Penang, said her expert training and experience could be useful even though she no longer works in a hospital after having her first baby several years ago.

“It is a critical time now and I want to contribute my professional service.

“I’ll always be ready to serve and I’m willing to help in whichever way needed, ” said Gan, whose expertise is in midwifery.

The health coach said she signed up immediately after seeing Health director-general, Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah’s Facebook post on Thursday, where he appealed for volunteers.

A Territorial Army (Askar Wataniah) member who is known as Airien Sofia has also signed up.

The 21-year-old college student from Sandakan, Sabah, said she has been deployed for duty throughout the movement control order (MCO) period, and is willing to be called if the need arises.

“I realise I do not have any medical or healthcare background, but I want to help our frontliners as they work tirelessly to help Malaysians recover and fight the pandemic.

“I hope our frontliners will persevere as we fight this together. I also hope those with relevant expertise will come forward.

“This is the time we should come forward and help our country as best as we can, ” she added.

Nicole Yee, 32, a hotel worker who has years of experience caring for her ailing husband, also indicated her willingness to volunteer.

“I have been taught by the doctors and nurses at public hospitals throughout the years to provide proper healthcare for my husband, who has a heart problem.

“I have knowledge and experience in performing CPR, first-aid, inserting a cannula, administering injections, and immobile patient care, ” said Yee from Cheras.

Dr Peter Lim, 30, who is serving at a university hospital in Selangor, is also compelled to answer Dr Noor Hisham’s call for additional manpower.

“Our colleagues in Sabah have been working tirelessly and some of them even got infected themselves.

“I think it is our duty to help out when there’s a shortage of manpower. If not us, who else?” he asked, adding that other than treating patients, he is also able to coordinate the distribution of personal protective equipment and essential items to hospitals.

Dr Lim, who is also pursuing his Masters, also called on the Health Ministry to consider sending doctors undergoing postgraduate studies to the needed areas.

“I hope the relevant authority can utilise doctors like us. A health crisis like this provides a great learning opportunity for our future medical specialists too.

“I am sure there are many postgraduate doctors willing to volunteer if permitted, ” he said, adding that most of them are under government scholarship, and have three years or more practical experience prior to joining the master’s programme.

According to Dr Noor Hisham, volunteers are needed to conduct temperature and symptoms checks at health facilities, conduct contact tracing, take samples at Covid-19 centres and take care of patients.

Such individuals must be certified professionals, physically and mentally healthy, willing to be deployed at certain locations, and have no close contact history with Covid-19 cases over the last 14 days.

Those interested to volunteer can fill up the form at https://forms.gle/BinMRNpyKhnoosgt5 or email mobilasasi19@gmail.com.

Meanwhile, Health secretary-general Datuk Seri Dr Chen Chaw Min said the ministry had reactivated the Frontliners Fund, which was created in March for the purchase of medical equipment, medicine, reagents and other necessities to fight Covid-19.

“With an increase in positive cases, there are many inquiries from various parties who want make cash donations to help the ministry deal with the pandemic, ” he said in a statement, adding that contributions to this fund has obtained Finance Ministry approval for tax deduction purposes.

“Donations can be channelled to the account 2-66016-0002347-5 (RHB), ” said Dr Chen, who added that the fund initially stopped accepting donations on May 31 following the decrease in cases, after collecting RM31,671,903.27.

“As at Sept 30, RM30,597,202.81 from the fund has been approved by the ministry level’s trustee committee to purchase various medical equipment such as ventilators, infrared thermometers, ultrasound devices, bed and monitors, reagents for Covid-19 tests, and the sending of health workers to Sabah.

Enquiries on the special fund can be directed to 03-8883 3111 or sumbangancovid19@moh.gov.my.

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