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31/03/2020 10:17 AM

By Sakini Mohd Said

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) – Working in a battlefield. This is probably the most fitting description of the situation the nation’s healthcare workers are in right now.

While many of us are staying at home watching television with our families or working from the comfort of our homes, these frontliners are foregoing sleep and working tirelessly to contain the COVID-19 contagion and providing the best possible treatment to the hundreds of people who have contracted COVID-19.

Not only are they saving other people’s lives but fighting to save their own lives too. They face a very high risk of getting infected by the virus as they are in direct contact with COVID-19 positive patients for sometimes up to 18 hours a day.

Lately, social media has been inundated with photographs of exhausted doctors and nurses sleeping on chairs and hospital floors. It is such a pitiful sight.

Very recently, a 4.34-second video circulating on Facebook – made and posted by a group called Serantau Muslim – showed images of weary healthcare staff working tirelessly at hospitals.

The video also carried the voice-over of a woman who made a heartfelt appeal to the public to cooperate by staying at home throughout the Movement Control Order (MCO) period.

The video touched the hearts of netizens. As at 12.32 pm on March 24, it was shared by 165,000 social media users.

 

With so many new COVID-19 cases being reported daily, our overworked frontliners are on the verge of suffering from burnout. They need all the moral support and motivation they can get to help them to navigate through this critical period.

The dedication and hard work put in by our frontliners are invaluable. But they are humans too and are appalled at the selfish attitude of some patients who do not disclose to the medical staff that they have been in contact with a person or persons with COVID-19. 

Apparently, there was a pregnant nurse who cried after she learned she was in direct contact with a COVID-19 patient. But this patient had earlier claimed his fever was due to normal causes and that he had no contact with any COVID-19 carrier. 

 

The sacrifices of our healthcare workers are not going unnoticed. Some people are expressing their gratitude to them by cooking for them while others are donating the necessary equipment to hospitals.

The plight of the hospital staff also gained the attention of the Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah, who has been serving them with food she herself had cooked.

So far, the staff at Hospital Kuala Lumpur, Hospital Sungai Buloh and National Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre at the Ministry of Health in Putrajaya have had the pleasure of eating the dishes cooked by the Queen.

“The least I could do… for the government servants sacrificing their lives..I salute them,” the Raja Permaisuri Agong posted on her Instagram account.

Various non-governmental organisations and food operators and members of the public have also started to contribute food packages to healthcare workers.

RM5 Everyday Lunch, a food delivery service operated by Rozaidah Zainal Abidin, is among the food contributors.

“After I posted on Facebook about a food delivery I made to a doctor handling COVID-19 cases at Hospital Sungai Buloh, I received positive feedback from the public who wished to contribute as well,” she said in her social media status.

With cash contributions from social media users, Rozaidah has been delivering free food packets to some hospital staff.

 

Popular preacher Ustaz Ebit Lew is also doing his part for the nation’s frontliners through Pertubuhan Kasih Umat Malaysia, a charity organisation he heads. So far, it has donated a few portable air conditioners, masks and food to the staff of Hospital Ampang, Hospital Kuala Lumpur, Hospital Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Klang and Hospital Shah Alam.

There are other kind-hearted Malaysians too like Kamal Ismail, 50, an Islamic education teacher at Sekolah Kebangsaan Pantai, Seremban, who offered to look after the children of hospital workers who have to work long hours.

He expressed his willingness to look after any child regardless of his/her race and religion and said he would provide them with a place to stay and food and drinks.

Yayasan Petronas – the corporate social responsibility wing of Petronas – has contributed medical equipment and supplies worth RM20 million to hospitals.

Even refugees from Syria, Palestine, Yemen and Iraq who are currently staying in Malaysia are helping to cook and prepare food for 20 Hospital Ampang staff. According to a newspaper report, this initiative is a collaboration between Al-Hasan Volunteer Network and Beyond Borders Malaysia.

 

 (This article reflects the personal views of the writer.)

 

Translated by Rema Nambiar

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