From A Doctor’s Perspective: Impact of CovidFund.my

By John Bong, Chong Saow Ching, Mak Iyan Han & Wong Kit Ei (BAC Apprentices) 

 

On 29th September 2021, a few of us under the BAC Apprenticeship Programme, spoke to Dr. Ita, a senior Emergency Physician at the Emergency and Trauma Department in one of the full COVID-19 hospitals in Selangor. Dr. Ita shared valuable insights and knowledge on COVID-19, her experiences during the pandemic and about CovidFund.my.  

The questions asked during the interview covered several aspects including her experience throughout the COVID-19 pandemic as a senior medical frontliner, the impact of CovidFund.my, and her suggestions for a better Malaysian healthcare system.  

 

Share with us your experience throughout the COVID-19 pandemic  

On 25th January 2020, Malaysia, like other countries, lost its defence and detected its first COVID-19 case. Since then, we medical frontliners have been working tirelessly to save the lives of countless COVID-19 patients. It has never been an effortless task, not to mention PPEs were significantly insufficient and vaccines were still undergoing clinical trials during that period. We, medical frontliners were gripped with fear and anxiety. Nevertheless, we diligently performed our duties, and upheld our medical oath. The worst part of our job is witnessing COVID-19 patients breathe their last.  

As time went by, we started managing our anxiety levels, we began seeing signs of improvement with the introduction of vaccines. Kind-hearted Malaysians who believed in the spirit of #KitaJagaKita came forward to donate funds to procure PPEs, and we had prisoners significantly contributing too, by sewing PPEs to meet the high demands.  

Thankfully, COVID-19 cases in Malaysia are reducing steadily. In fact, our medical frontliners are now handling more non-COVID-19 related cases. However, our battle against COVID-19 is far from over, hence you could lend a helping hand – one way is by donating to CovidFund.my.  

 

From your professional perspective, how has CovidFund.my impacted our healthcare system? 

We are truly grateful that CovidFund.my has voluntarily approached government hospitals and donated various medical equipment and supplies to us. As of today, we have received Boussignac CPAP along with M&H, CPAP Emergency Kits, Vital Signs Monitor-5 parameters, Suction Toothbrushes and Swabs, among others, and as we speak, each item is currently being utilised on a day-to-day basis at the hospitals. 

I cannot emphasize enough the significant role played by the CPAP devices in our daily duties to rescue COVID-19 patients in acute situations. These devices are non-invasive and improves oxygenation rapidly. The CPAP devices are relatively cheaper and more user-friendly as compared to other medical devices. Most importantly, these devices are not designed specifically for COVID-19 cases; they can be utilised in other medical condition, particularly fluid overload by heart or renal cause.   

Another paramount piece of equipment we received is the Vital Signs Monitor 5-parameters. This equipment allows us to continuously monitor the blood pressure, oxygen saturation level, and heart rate of severe COVID-19 patients in the resuscitation room (red zone). Like the CPAP devices, its function is not confined to COVID-19 cases. In fact, we frequently use it to monitor patients suffering from acute asthma, trauma, and even severe road traffic accidents. 

In certain clinical situations, intubation is the best therapy in saving COVID-19 patients. This, in turn, requires us to maintain their oral hygiene by using suction toothbrushes and swabs. By doing so, we help the patients to avoid ventilator-associated pneumonia. Undoubtedly, intubation is not limited to COVID-19 cases. Therefore, suction toothbrushes and swabs will still be required even when we have won the battle against COVID-19. 

 

CPAP kits delivered to the hospital

 

Toothbrushes & Swabs

Vital Signs Monitor-5 Parameters

 

What are your suggestions for a better Malaysian healthcare system? 

We, as Malaysians, are blessed to have a healthcare system that is always up to par. A broad spectrum of training has been offered to us – doctors, nurses, and paramedics – to constantly improve our healthcare system. In fact, we have continuously attended the local and International Continuing Medical Education (CME) and conferences to strengthen our knowledge and expertise. Most importantly, our healthcare system is relatively affordable, thereby upholding the principle of equal access of health care for everyone.  

From my perspective, there are some careers which the younger generation could consider to significantly enhance our Malaysian healthcare system. These include biomedicine and bioengineering in medicine which would equip them with the necessary knowledge to invent our very own Malaysia-produced medical equipment. Consequently, their new inventions could help save the cost spent by our country in purchasing imported/oversea designed medical equipment and boost our economy by marketing them to other countries. On the other hand, the younger generation who prefers physics and art couldconsider becoming architects who play a pivotal role in our healthcare system with their creative design of the hospitals. For instance, they can consider the possibility of hospitals being overcrowded with patients when emergencies happen, and thereby design our carparks as such that can be transformed into the extension of emergency wards. 

Lastly, I, on behalf of all healthcare personnel, would like to thank everyone who has donated to CovidFund.my. Rest assured that the equipment donated will be fully utilised and put to beneficial use, even when the COVID-19 battle is over. CovidFund.my has definitely made some significant changes to hospitals in the sense that we, the medical frontliners have more equipment and supplies to save more lives! 

 

Dr. Ita in a vest called ‘Carbon Cool’, which carries ice pads to cool down the body while wearing PPE. She is currently serving at Hospital Kepala Batas, Penang under MOH Malaysia COVID-19 workforce mobilisation team.

 

Dr. Ita is just one of the many in the medical profession, who have been working effortlessly since the outbreak of the pandemic last year. We want to thank all our medical frontliners for their time and sacrifices, and we hope that the power of community continues to shine through CovidFund.my. 

 

*Disclaimer: Answers given by Dr. Ita during the interview has been paraphrased for the purpose of this article 

(Header image source: malaysiacentral.com)