The Health Ministry had sent over 10 ventilator machines to hospitals in Sarawak on April 13 in conjunction with Health Minister Dr Adham Baba’s official visit to the state, according to a post on the ministry’s Facebook page.
The health minister was in Sabah to discuss the Covid-19 pandemic situation there with state authorities and determine the assistance needed.
However, barely a week after the ventilators arrived and distributed to three hospitals outside Kuching, a Sarawak state assemblyperson has claimed that eight of the machines are no longer functioning.
According to Bukit Assek assemblyperson Irene Mary Chang Oi Ling, the remaining two ventilators were also not working as they should.
“Five of these ventilators were given to Sibu Hospital, three to Bintulu Hospital and two to Sarikei Hospital. The units sent to Sibu and Bintulu are totally non-functioning and have to be sent for repairs.
“For the two units sent to Sarikei Hospital, even though they are functioning, they need to be constantly rebooted as the screen keeps jamming up after a short time of usage.
“This is a serious threat to the life of any patient who needs to use any of these ventilators,” she said in a statement today.
Malaysiakini has reached the Health Ministry for comments. As of the time of writing, the ministry has not responded to the claims made by Chang.
The DAP state assemblyperson added that the model of ventilators sent to Sarawak was also the type that does not have built-in air compressors.
This would require the using hospital to have wall compressors to connect to the machines.
“The ventilators are much needed in our Covid stricken state at this moment. It may be a matter of life and death for our patients, especially if our doctors may be forced to choose which life to save by giving one of the patients the available unit while sacrificing others.
“The federal Ministry of Health needs to clarify if such an act is a reflection of how the federal government has been perceiving the healthcare of Sarawakians as of less importance so much so that they have the audacity to send these obsolete machines to the state in critical times like now.
“The state Ministry of Health, too, needs to take responsibility for how they could allow the people of Sarawak to be treated with such disdain without even a whimper of protest,” she said. – Malaysiakini