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Kudos to those who have helped, but others should chip in too

26 Oct 2020 / 13:17 H.

THE war against Covid-19 is a costly affair that puts enormous financial pressure and logistic demands on the government as well as non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that are doing their bit to help.

Most private enterprises are more forthcoming with their support during normal times. Nevertheless, those who are still in a financial position to contribute continue to channel some funds to this end.

But due to the economic uncertainty, many donors are dialling back on their contributions.

With the Covid-19 crisis taking a turn for the worse, especially in Sabah, there have been reports of medical experts and facilities taxed to the maximum.

According to the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA), bed occupancy is reaching full capacity in most hospitals in Sabah. In some areas, less severe cases of Covid-19 have to be isolated and home treatment instituted. This raises deeper concerns of higher infection risks.

More healthcare workers are urgently needed and the government is urged to consider engaging more help from public healthcare facilities from other states with low Covid-19 cases to be deployed to Sabah.

This is despite the Health Ministry having mobilised nearly 800 medical and public officers to Sabah and NGOs sending assistance there.

Among the NGOs that stepped up is Taiwan Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation Malaysia (Tzu Chi), which was approached directly by the heads of the Tawau, Keningau and Tuaran hospitals for extra beds, mattresses, bedsheets, tents, PPE, test kits, gloves and face masks.

Meanwhile, the Community Empowerment Initiative Sabah (CEIS) has urged the state government to increase its engagement with NGOs to expedite aid distribution. What gives?

“What is glaringly lacking in Sabah is transparency and effective communication between the government and the people, and coordination between the Health Ministry, State Health Department and the local hospitals,” CEIS said.

The Malaysian Relief Agency too is shoring up support for Sabahans. Among those that have answered its call for help are PPB Group Bhd, MMC Corporation and MrDIY Bhd.

Mercy Malaysia sent its first team of medical volunteers from Peninsular Malaysia last week, who were joined by a team of eight volunteers based at Kota Kinabalu. Another team of three will leave this week.

At a time like this, we need to ask what can we do to help in tackling a pandemic that threatens our lives and livelihoods.

Sadly, there appears to be no sense of sacrifice from many quarters as we witness a third wave of infections threatening to take our fight against the virus back to square one

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