Press Statement By Irene Chang:
The Federal Government and the Ministry of Health have to explain to the people of Sarawak on why are the 8 of the 10 units of ventilators which they have given to Sarawak on 13 th April 2021 not in working and functioning order.
5 of these ventilators were given to Sibu Hospital, 3 to Bintulu Hospital and 2 to Sarikei Hospital. The units sent to Sibu and Bintulu are totally non-functioning and have to be sent for repairs. For the 2 units sent to Sarikei Hospital, even though they are functioning, they need to be constantly rebooted as the screen keeps jamming up after a short time of usage.
This is a serious threat to the life of any patient who needs to use any of these ventilators. In fact, I understand that the ventilators are 2004 models and they don’t even have any built in air compressor. Therefore, to be able to use them would depend on whether the hospitals wards have the wall compressors which they need to be connected to.
It is not a secret that the Hospitals in Sarawak outside Kuching lack the ventilators to deal with the high numbers of Covid19 patients as well as other ICU patients. Over the years, we have been asking for more of these machines to treat our patients and it is appalling that when they came, they turned out to be obsolete non-functioning machines. The Federal Ministry of Health didn’t even have the courtesy to make sure that even though the machines may be outdated, they were at least in good working order.
The ventilators are much needed in our Covid stricken State at this moment. It may be a matter of life and death for our patients, especially if our doctors may be forced to choose which life to save by giving one of the patients the available unit while sacrificing others.
The Federal Ministry of Health needs to clarify if such act is a reflection of how the Federal government has been perceiving the healthcare of Sarawakians as of less important so much so that they have the audacity to send these obsolete machines to the State in critical times like now.
The State Ministry of Health too need to take responsibility on how could they allow the people of Sarawak to be treated with such disdain without even a whimper of protest.
By such acts, the Sarawak State Government should no longer wait to insist in taking back the state autonomy of health and education. The State Government should not allow the health and welfare of our Sarawakians to be trifled with and be insulted in this way.