KUALA LUMPUR, May 23 — The Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) is capable of setting up two more field hospitals to accommodate the increasing number of COVID-19 patients, said Senior Minister (Security) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
He said this was based on the existing number of MAF healthcare personnel.
“Although the MAF currently has three field hospitals, namely in Tawau, Sabah; Kapit, Sarawak; and Kepala Batas, Penang; we are capable of setting up two more field hospitals.
“Actually, the MAF can set up more field hospitals, but to do that, we will require additional staff, namely 30 doctors and 100 paramedics,” he said at a virtual media conference after a working visit to Pharmaniaga LifeScience in Puchong, here, today.
Ismail Sabri said that with the additional personnel, the MAF would be able to construct more field hospitals as well as add other health equipment and supplies for the management of COVID-19.
“I have requested this (additional doctors and paramedics) from the government for consideration… let’s wait for a decision from the government,” he said.
Meanwhile, in PENANG, the field hospital in Kepala Batas is expected to start taking in patients on Tuesday (May 25) after completing a dry run tomorrow.
Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, who visited the hospital today, said there were many applications to set up more field hospitals nationwide, among them being Negeri Sembilan and Kelantan.
“We will look at the needs before we add. We will use existing space to be turned into intensive care units (ICU) for categories 4 and 5 COVID-19 patients.https://www.youtube.com/embed/U8tCSNn8cjY?rel=0&showinfo=0
“What we are doing is adding the number of ICU beds, but it is not a solution because we expect the cases to increase in the next two weeks,” he said, while advising the public to practise self-discipline by staying at home.
Also present were MAF Headquarters Chief of Staff Lt Gen Datuk Mohd Zakaria Yadi; MAF Health Services Division director-general Lt Gen Datuk (Dr) Zulkeffeli Mat Jusoh; 2nd Division Commander Maj Gen Datuk Arman Rumaizi Ahmad; and Penang Health director Datuk Dr Asmayani Khalib.
Mohd Zakaria told reporters that the MAF was committed to helping to curb the spread of COVID-19 through MAF Health Services (PKAT).
“Among them are implementing screening tests in red zones, airports as well as entry points into the country and the MAF is currently coordinating the movement of the field ICU to the Kepala Batas Hospital, which can accommodate 24 critical COVID-19 patients,” he said.
Work to set up the field hospital began on May 18, with the assistance of technical advisory services from the health branch of the Second Infantry Division Headquarters.
The movement coordination involved three officers and 30 personnel of various ranks from two Medical Battalions, two anaesthetists from the Tuanku Mizan Armed Forces Hospital and two field hospital technical operations specialists.
The medical equipment and supplies, meanwhile, involved three ICU modules, one X-Ray module, three TM 54 Utilis tents, seven TM 26 Utilis tents, medical assets and general logistics.