June 15, 2024

New Malaysia Times

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MOH to ensure supply of 59 million PPE a month; new rapid test kit ready

PUTRAJAYA, April 17 — The number of personal protective equipment (PPE) used by healthcare workers under the Health Ministry (MOH) amounts to 59 million units monthly, said Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

He said MOH is in talks with a few agencies especially those in the fashion industry to ensure a continuous supply of PPE.

“We are already talking to the industry, fashion designers, as well as working with other agencies on how we can have a continuous flow from the local industry to produce PPE for us.

“There are 18 items of PPE, so we are monitoring closely to ensure stocks are continuously being procured and delivered to MOH,” he said at a daily briefing on COVID-19 yesterday.

Meanwhile, Dr Noor Hisham said some ministry staff were believed to have contracted COVID-19 because many people gathered in pantries at the same time.

“What we have observed is that when they went to the pantry to rest, many were there in a crowded space; there might have been infection there.

“When the ministry’s healthcare workers worked in the COVID-19 ward or Intensive Care Unit (ICU), they were not infected because they were wearing PPE,” he added.

As such, Dr Noor Hisham the ministry had suggested that pantries be regularly cleaned and sanitised to prevent the spread of infection.

He said 267 workers of the ministry had contracted COVID-19, and 73 per cent of them were infected in the community and not when working in COVID wards.

“We have 50 people or 19 per cent who were infected in hospitals, that is those infected by patients because some patients did not disclose their travel history, or their links to high-risk groups or close contact with COVID-19 positive patients,” he said.

New test kit, no need to send samples to labs

In another news, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has decided to use the antigen rapid test kit from South Korea, COVID-19 test samples will no longer be sent to the 43 MOH laboratories conducting the screening.

Dr Noor Hisham said all that was needed were biosafety cabinets and the test could be done at point of care, in clinics or hospitals.

“The sensitivity (rate) we are looking at (for the rapid test) is 84.4 percent and the specificity rate of 100 percent,” he said.

He said the MOH would proceed to test the population using the antigen rapid test kit and the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) screening in the labs would complement it in case there were any doubts over the results.

Dr Noor Hisham added that MOH expected to use the new test kit by next week.