Malaysian Healthcare Workers Forced To Use Plastic Bags In Place Of Personal Protective Equipment

As the battle against Covid-19 drags on each day, frontline workers are being hard-pressed to keep others and themselves safe and healthy.

Malaysian healthcare workers, in particular, are facing difficulties as supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) are reportedly running low.

With depleting supplies, many of them have to resort to re-using their PPE, or even going without them completely.

These Malaysian healthcare workers have ingeniously — yet piteously — come up with a solution to their predicament.

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They have made their own PPE from plastic bags and cling wrap.

A viral video in both senses of the word

A video demonstrating their ingenuity garnered over 43,000 shares since its posting on Sunday (22 Mar).

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The caption in Malay translates to:

It is as if they’re entering a battlefield without weapons. How strong are the KKM healthcare staff as they cover themselves with plastic. No complaints, no disagreements, just acceptance. Dear Malaysians, they sacrifice like this, and yet you’re blind and ignorant?

Appealing to the compassion and humanity of viewers, the video hopes to move Malaysians to comply with government advisories.

Healthcare workers turn plastic bags into PPE

In the video, a healthcare worker can be seen cutting a hole in a plastic bag, before slipping it over her colleague’s head.

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Other videos showed nurses wrapping a colleague up with what looks like cling wrap — another alternative to PPE.

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Makeshift PPE doesn’t offer much protection

PPE is crucial to healthcare workers as it shields them from any particles and viruses that may cause them to be infected as they work.

Unfortunately, makeshift PPE don’t offer much protection, and puts these healthcare workers at risk of infection.

According to a report by The Malay Mail, many doctors in Malaysia “have no choice” but to use the home-made PPE, as there simply aren’t enough suits to go around, but patients keep on coming in.

Healthcare workers can go through 4 to 5 suits of PPE daily — one suit for each infected patient, they told The Malay Mail.

Senior doctors appeal to National Security Council for more supplies

As the situation is grave, 2 senior doctors have written letters to Malaysia’s National Security Council calling for more supplies as soon as possible.

The doctors said that larger hospitals may have sufficient supplies, but smaller hospitals — including private hospitals — may not, and the shortage needs to be addressed immediately.

Agents, distributors, allegedly queueing at PPE manufacturing plants

One of the doctors also told The Malay Mail that “long queues of trucks of agents and distributors” have been seen at the PPE manufacturing plants, trying to buy supplies.

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The Malay Mail quoted him as saying:

Why have we not heard from these companies? Are they expecting to increase their price at a time of national crisis or are they ‘stockpiling’ to force the demand and reap from a supply shortage? Presumably, the middlemen, agents and distributors are similarly cashing in on the Covid-19 pandemic.

The doctors say that the authorities should bulk buy the supplies, eliminating the middlemen to ensure fair pricing.

The newspaper also quoted them as saying:

…they must distribute equitably to all Covid-19 designated hospitals and not just in the Klang Valley. They must also keep reserve supplies to secure surge capacity. It is high time for the government to demand the PPE manufacturers to step up without fanfare and ramp up production, accept reduced profit margins and supply the critically needed PPEs to our healthcare workers.

Healthcare workers doing their best despite reduced circumstances

Even with the lack of PPE, these healthcare workers have found ways to overcome their circumstances to do their work to the best of their ability.

As many speculate that Malaysia’s Covid-19 infection numbers will continue to rise as more get tested, our hearts go out to all those on the frontlines of the Covid-19 battle for their truly great sacrifice.

MS News hopes all healthcare workers remain safe and healthy.

Featured image adapted from Facebook