The Ministry of Health (MOH) has reported that the current supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in the country is limited
PPEs are the disposable protective clothing used daily by medical professionals treating COVID-19 patients.
A full PPE kit includes a gown, headscarf, gloves, face shield, apron, and mask, to protect its wearer from injury or the spread of infection.
According to Malay Mail, Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham has explained that the use of PPE has risen by two to 10 times more than the normal consumption since the COVID-19 outbreak began.
"The use of these equipment has been continuous in the past weeks. While the supply is currently limited to just over 60 days of use, depending on the equipment, what is important is that we have to continue to procure the PPE," he said during the daily COVID-19 update today, 14 April.
While waiting for the government to procure a steadier supply, a group of frontliners themselves have started an initiative called 'Donate A Mask'
The group of doctors, nurses, a physiotherapist, and some medical students from Seremban have started a donation drive to make it easier for people to donate face masks and other PPE directly to frontliners.
One of their driving forces, Dr Naren Selva is a senior government doctor attached to Klinik Kesihatan Lukut in Port Dickson. He is also one of the frontliners taking samples from Persons Under Investigation (PUIs) on a daily basis.
He told SAYS in an interview that the process for MOH to obtain masks for hospitals will be long, and in the meantime, healthcare workers will be at risk.
"The amount of masks and PPEs we have is really limited. However, rather than complain about the lack of PPEs, we, some MOH staff, have started this initiative to help our frontliners," Dr Naren told SAYS.
The 'Donate A Mask' initiative involves a group of volunteers driving to donors' houses personally to collect the donations
Dr Naren explained that since the initiative is run by a group of healthcare workers, they all have special permission to drive around to collect these donations during the Movement Control Order (MCO).
"Our team [is made up of] mainly healthcare workers who already work average 8am to 6pm as frontliners. The volunteering for 'Donate A Mask' is done after working hours and on the weekends," he said.
"Tiring, but truly needed in times such as this."
He stressed that they are not raising funds or accepting cash in donations, as they need the readily available items and equipment instead.
They have already collected close to 15,000 masks, even though the initiative is only two weeks old
"Our rakyat are wonderful people and many truly want to join the war against COVID-19. They truly want to donate and help, but they themselves cannot be driving around due to the MCO," said Dr Naren.
"Let us healthcare practitioners with special permission do so instead."
They have already distributed some equipment to healthcare facilities at red zone areas such as Tuanku Ja'afar Hospital in Seremban, Petaling District Health Office, and Seremban District Health Office.
While they are currently based mostly in Seremban, Selangor, and Kuala Lumpur, people from other states who wish to donate are still encouraged to reach out
Dr Naren said that they are recruiting more volunteers and 'road warriors' to the initiative to expand their work.
"Donate any amount of masks and other PPE, no amount is too small," the group urged on Facebook.
They are accepting donations of face masks, face shields, hand sanitisers, gloves, goggles, gowns, aprons, head covers, and shoe covers.
Visit their Facebook page here for more information on how to help our frontliners.
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