kUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry will be forming a rapid deployment unit to send urgent oxygen supplies and modular ICUs to any states facing a surge in Covid-19 cases in the future, says Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.
This is to ensure the same situation that happened in the past will not recur, whereby states facing a spike in cases did not have enough capacity to treat patients.
Khairy said the ministry had responded to the recent Covid-19 spike in Sabah by sending 480 oxygen cylinders and 48 oxygen regulators on Sept 7.
However, he admitted that during that latest surge, there was not enough supplies.
“That’s why we sent additional supplies to Sabah.
“In Tawau, the ministry had also identified a site to set up a 100-bed field hospital,” he said.
“Taking a lesson from the situation in Sabah, it is possible that from time to time, we will see states having a surge in cases and needing extra oxygen supplies,” Khairy added.
“While we must ensure beds with pipe-in connection for oxygen are at a comfortable number, the Health Ministry will also be forming a rapid deployment unit to ensure we can send oxygen supplies and modular ICUs quickly to any states facing a spike in cases if new variants emerge,” he said in response to Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal (Warisan-Semporna) in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.
Shafie had asked what was the government’s plan to address the shortage of emergency oxygen supplies in Sabah, which had been facing a rise in Covid-19 infections.
Earlier, Khairy said the ministry was aiming to increase the hospital bed to population ratio in the 12th Malaysia Plan to 2.08 beds per 1,000 people compared to 2.01 beds per 1,000 people now.
“To achieve this, the ministry is continuing the initiative to increase the number of hospital beds through the construction of new hospitals as well as the upgrading of hospitals and existing facilities,” he said to a question by S. Kesavan (PH-Sungai Siput).
“The focus is on areas where available hospitals have the highest bed occupancy rate (BOR).
“Another factor that is also taken into account is population density, access to services in existing hospitals and government financial allocation,” he said.