PETALING JAYA: Our healthcare frontliners must be given more attention and care following increasing reports of burnout among them, says the Malaysian Health Coalition (MHC).
“This support must be strengthened for the immediate term as well as for the long term, as recovery will take time.
“Following calls from frontliners for better working conditions on social media, we must heed their calls for help by ensuring they get proper rest, nutrition and adequate safety and protective equipment to keep both frontliners and patients safe, ” it said in a statement.
The MHC said all Malaysians must do their part to care for them, as frontliners have been caring for the rakyat for almost a year.
Established last March 1, MHC is a united front of 49 professional societies representing doctors, specialists, nurses, pharmacists and allied health professionals, set up to protect public health by uniting health professionals and to support the Health Ministry.
The coalition listed three main areas where frontliners require help from the government, namely strengthening mental health and psychological support; listening to the pleas of frontliners; and providing permanent posts and job security.
MHC called on the government to create more permanent posts as well as extend the contract duration for medical officers and other professionals, as the current contract system limits their ability to undergo postgraduate training and specialist studies.
“Moreover, many frontline professionals will not have adequate job security after the pandemic.
“They deserve to be recognised for their sacrifices; we must do so by securing their careers and consequently, the future of our health system, ” it added.
Citing a lack of resources for the frontliners, MHC member Datuk Dr Amar Singh said a community-based “buddy support system” for hospitals and health clinics would empower and relieve the frontliners.
The support system or group, he said, which is now available in Perak, consists of a group of health experts, retired professionals and concerned citizens who can donate resources directly to support frontliners to meet their needs.
Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) president Prof Datuk Dr M. Subramaniam said there should be more consideration from the government, corporate sector and the public on the sacrifices of healthcare workers in the fight against Covid-19.
“Each time people let their guard down, it is our healthcare workers who are made to pay the price, such as sacrificing time with their loved ones. Our frontliners and backliners miss their families and just like everyone else, they wish this whole nightmare was over.
“We appeal to all Malaysians to do their part. Commit strictly to the SOP, stay safe and let the nation recover sooner rather than later, ” he said.
Dr Subramaniam noted that the backliners were staff working in the Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre (CPRC) team who are tasked with gathering and compiling data.
He added MMA recently wrote and requested to meet the Prime Minister on longstanding issues faced by government healthcare workers.
Malaysian Mental Health Association president Datuk Dr Andrew Mohanraj commended the efforts by medical frontliners who are carrying a tremendous burden on their shoulders.
“We are all in this together and unless we play our part and comply with the SOP collectively and as a nation, our journey ahead is going to be largely uphill.
“To the frontliners, I say, get support from your peers, stay connected with your loved ones, maintain healthy coping strategies and know your limits, ” he said.