Our struggling frontliners need help, health coalition tells Gov’t

THE Malaysian Health Coalition (MHC) urged the Government to immediately address issues revolving around healthcare providers suffering from fatigue and burnout.

“This trend is unsurprising because they have fought on the frontlines for nearly a year, without proper rest.

“It’s our duty to take care of them now, as they have sacrificed much for us and the nation,” it said, in a statement.

Three days ago, a 32-year-old medical assistant died after falling from the third floor of the Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital (HRPB) building.

The man, who hailed from Chemor, was suffering from health issues but did not disclose the matter to his family as it may burden them.

The deceased left a note saying that he could no longer deal with his health problem and was unable to think clearly. He also apologised to his family and friends.

Just a day earlier, a medical officer, Dr Ali Noor Hassan passed away while on duty, allegedly due to fatigue.

Dr Ali was said to have fallen asleep as he was tired, subsequently fainting and breathed his last.

Calling it a dire situation, MHC urged the Government listen to the pleas by frontliners, especially healthcare providers (HCP), before the situation gets even worse.

“There has been an influx of social media posts and reports from HCPs pleading for better working conditions. We urge the Government to heed their calls for help and establish a safe and healthy working environment for all HCPs on duty.

“What HCPs need now is proper rest, proper nutrition, and adequate safety and protective equipment. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends this five-step plan to keep both HCPs and patients safe. Policymakers must remember that HCP’s safety is also patient’s safety,” it said.

MHC added that the Government should also address mental health issues, especially among HCPs, as the pandemic has taken a massive toll on everyone, especially frontliners who have dealt with its impact, first-hand.

“This support must be strengthened for the immediate term as well as for the long term. Mental and emotional recovery from the pandemic will take time, so this infrastructure must be in place to ensure that HCPs get the support they need for years to come,” MHC added.

On that note, MHC also urged the Government to recognise the sacrifices made frontliners and create more permanent posts for them, on top of contract extension for medical officers (MO) and other staffs.

“The current contract system limits their ability to undergo postgraduate training and specialise. Moreover, many frontline professionals will not have adequate job security after the pandemic.

“Our frontline HCPs deserve to be recognised for their sacrifices and we must do so by securing their careers and consequently, the future of our healthcare system,” MHC remarked. – Jan 24, 2021.

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