Covid-19: NGOs wanting to help in Sabah should coordinate with Health Ministry, says DG

PETALING JAYA: Volunteers from NGOs wanting to help with the Covid-19 situation in Sabah should coordinate with the Health Ministry.

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said NGO volunteers need to be trained first.

“We do have NGOs coming in to help, but some of them are doing activities on their own.

“We are also worried because for instance, some of the volunteers put on the personal protective equipment (PPE), but did not put on their gloves.

“We need to train the NGOs as well, to avoid duplication and to protect them. So the coordination between NGOs and the Health Ministry is important, ” he said in his press briefing on Covid-19 at the ministry headquarters on Tuesday (Oct 27).

Dr Noor Hisham added that the biggest challenge in Sabah is logistical and transport issues, especially as it takes a few days before the RT-PCR test results can be confirmed and returned.

“We cannot depend on the RT-PCR. Although we were working very closely with Pos Malaysia and Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) to transport the samples from Sabah to the Peninsula, we could see the three labs in Sabah were over their capacity.

“So we have decided to use the RTK-Antigen test, because the turnaround time is faster, ” he said, adding that they have sent 200,000 RTK-antigen test kits to the state to help with it.

He also added that they were trying to find space in the nine Covid-19 designated hospitals to convert more space for ICU bed units.

“We are doing more innovation and adjustment, to cater to a more effective implementation, ” he said.

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