SIBU (April 20): Sibu Divisional Disaster Management Committee (SDDMC) coordinator Dr Annuar Rapaee is dissatisfied with the Ministry of Health’s (MoH) explanation on why ventilators sent to Sarawak last week were inoperable.
The Local Government and Housing assistant minister demanded further explanation from the ministry and insisted that stern disciplinary action be taken against the person responsible for the delivery of the unusable units.
Describing this as a serious issue, Dr Annuar wanted MoH to ensure that no stone be left unturned on this matter.
“MoH should make known why obsolete, or non-functioning ventilators were sent to Sarawak. If the higher-ups in the ministry do not know why then the person responsible for sending them should be reprimanded and a show cause letter be issued.
“To me, this is an insult to the people of Sarawak and personally, an insult to my profession as a medical practitioner. They don’t have any respect at all for us,” Dr Annuar, who is a cardiologist, told The Borneo Post.
For the freshest news, join Borneo Post Online’s Telegram Channel
Reacting to claims by Bukit Assek assemblywoman Irene Chang that eight of the 10 ventilators sent to Sarawak last week were inoperable, the ministry had said in a statement that after an investigation, the machines could have been damaged when it was transported to the designated facilities in the state.
It said that the machines, which had been used in Sungai Buloh Hospital, had been tested before it was delivered and they were in good condition. Five of the ventilators were given to Sibu Hospital, three to Bintulu Hospital, and two to Sarikei Hospital.
“This (the damage) is likely because the oxygen sensors and main circuit boards are very sensitive to vibration, temperature and humidity during transportation,” it said, adding that they were sent to Sarawak via a Malaysia Airlines flight on April 12.
The ministry also said it would be sending 11 new machines to Sarawak
Pointing out that the state government had contributed three units of high-end ventilators to Sibu Hospital in February this year after he had approached the chief minister, Dr Anuar recalled that the federal government had then also promised several units of ventilators for Sibu Hospital.
“Now is April, there is still no sign of these ventilators. Therefore, I demand that the new units of ventilators and not second-hand ones, be sent to Sibu immediately.
“The state government had already delivered three units of high-end ventilators. So, why can’t the federal government on their part also deliver, when health is under their purview.
“If they can’t deliver what has been promised then, they should just give up the responsibility and let Sarawak handle the management of the health system,” Dr Annuar stressed.
Dr Annuar reiterated that the Health Ministry must be firm with the person who was responsible for sending the faulty units to Sarawak.
“I take this seriously as I am from Sibu and more so, with increasing number of Covid-19 cases recorded here.”
He said he had also checked with Sibu Hospital director Dr Nanthakumar Thirunavukkarasu, who is in the midst of preparing a technical report to the State Health Department.