AS frontliners in the battle against Covid 19 put their lives on the line, voices of concern over the depleting personal protective equipment (PPE) putting further lives at risk are now heightened by the first Hospital Acquired Infection (HAI) death and discoveries of some shady, questionable dealings.
We discover more details in following up to yesterday’s report about an alleged RM24 million shipment of face masks rejected by the Health Ministry after failing fit tests and deemed only suitable for use as surgical masks in non-Covid 19 medical services.
This could have been a vital shipment protective equipment for frontliners in the nation’s battle against Covid 19, especially when Malaysia recorded its first HAI death yesterday.
The victim, a 32-year old nurse from Muar, and attached to the Muar hospital for the past 12 years, died at 12.36am at the Kluang Hospital, a designated Covid 19 hospital, where she had been treated after being infected through contact with patient 3662 of the Muar Covid 19 cluster. She was patient 3871.
Federation of Islamic Medical Associations (FIMA) advisory council chairman Dr Musa Nordin wrote on his posting today: “I feared this very dreadful COVID-19 day. Our first COVID-19 Hospital Acquired Infection (HAI) death.
“She is hardly 32 years old, as old as my 3rd daughter. She is the Kak Long (eldest) in a family of 5 siblings, who are all still studying.
The youngest is 14 years old. She is the sole breadwinner of the family who lives in Tangkak, Johor,” Dr Musa, who gained noteriety by voicing out concerns over the depleting personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontliners.
“When a dear colleague asked me if my hospital was going to fire me, for making a big fuss about PPEs, I replied: ‘I don’t really give a damn. As long as our sons and daughters on the frontline are alive and safe I am at peace’. Yesterday we failed our dear 32 year old nurse, a front-liner, a daughter, a sister, a bread winner, a colleague and NOT JUST PATIENT NUMBER 3871,” Dr Musa said.
The UMNO Veterans organisation made a call for the Dr Musa to be fired by the KPJ Damansara Medical Centre following his criticism of the Health Ministry over its management of frontliners and the level of transparency in dissemination of vital information.
But he has continued to voice out concerns over the depleting resources, echoing many voices heard on the ground who somehow are not heard by media.
“The nuances from the Health Ministry seems to suggest that our HCW are somewhat immune from Hospital Acquired Covid 19 Infections. With the incessant cry for PPEs from our health care workforce on the ground and the admission of the Health Ministry on depleting supplies of PPEs, it is not inconceivable that breakthrough COVID-19 infections will occur among our HCW,” said Dr Musa today.
We carried a report yesterday, where Parti Negara called for the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) to investigate alleged embezzlement in a Health Ministry procurement of PPEs said to be worth RM20 million, after it was discovered the entire shipment was rejected by the Health Ministry for use in Covid 19 cases following failure of fit tests.
Sources allege the involvement of renowned carpet merchant Deepak Jaikishan as an intermediary on the procurement of the shipment on behalf of government-linked Pharmaniaga Logistics Sdn Bhd, from a manufacturer in China.
Below is the Health Ministry circular notifying hospital of the fit test failure, of a shipment which was then removed from the N95 category, not to be used for Covid 19 cases and only suitable to be used as surgical masks for normal medical services.
However, Parti Negara protem vice chairman S. Gobi Krishnan in a statement yesterday revealed they had discovered through complaints and contacts within the health services that these KN95 face masks were still being issued for use by Covid 19 frontliners despite being deemed unfit.
Apart from calling for the MACC to step in, Gobi Krishnan also called for Health Minister Adham Baba and Senior Minister (economic affairs) Azmin Ali to explain the procurement as they are alleged to be the decisive figures in the deal.
The Health Ministry had, on March 31 issued a circular to all state Health Departments, notifying them of the ministry’s central procurement of essential equipment, including PPEs, including the list of companies involved in supplying them. See letters and list below