Hospis Malaysia in sore need of protective gear

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PETALING JAYA: Access to personal protective equipment is the biggest problem faced by volunteers providing care to patients suffering from terminal diseases, according to the CEO of Hospis Malaysia, Dr Ednin Hamzah.

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He told FMT his organisation, which gives free professional palliative care to such patients, was finding it hard not only to find but also to pay for such equipment.

“It’s expensive, especially for a charitable organisation that does not charge for its services,” he said.

Without the equipment, the professionals working with Hospis Malaysia would run the risk of contracting Covid-19 from people who had been exposed to it, he added.

Patient care often requires physical contact, such as when dressing wounds and changing catheters, and face-to-face discussions to ensure emotional and psycho-social well-being.

Ednin also said the movement control order (MCO) had made it difficult for the organisation to carry out many of its functions.

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For example, he said, it was no longer feasible to hold daycare and rehabilitation sessions or conduct training activities and fundraising programmes.

The MCO has also made it impossible for Hospis Malaysia to provide patients with medical beds, oxygen concentrators and other medical equipment.

In its early phase, it affected the volunteers’ ability to travel to see patients in their homes, even with identification stickers provided by the health ministry and other relevant organisations.

“Police at roadblocks did not appreciate that nurses and doctors may not just be working in hospitals to treat their patients,” Ednin said. “This often delayed their ability to see patients.”

Referring to Hospis Malaysia’s financial health, he said a lot of pressure had been put on it by the Covid-19 epidemic and its economic consequences.

“The donations that we require to sustain our activities are significantly affected,” he said.

Those wishing to reach out to Hospis Malaysia can do so through info@hospismalaysia.org or telephone number +603-9133 3936. – FMT

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