With over 900 people infected, the first 2 deaths, and the Malaysian government announcing Movement Restriction order from 18 – 31 March 2020 due to Covid-19, MERCY Malaysia has launched the COVID-19 Pandemic Fund today to support the severely strained healthcare system. The fund will also go towards supporting medical services and essential needs of marginalised groups.
Since the news of Covid-19 broke early this year, the organisation has been communicating closely with the relevant authorities to offer assistance where required. The situation heightened when the World Health Organisation declared Covid-19 as a pandemic on 11 March 2020 after cases of the viral infection reached every continent except Antartica.
Ir. Amran Mahzan, Executive Director of MERCY Malaysia explains,
“We have been reinforcing preventive measures such as hand-washing, eating well-cooked foods and correct use of face masks at our mobile clinics for refugees and migrants since last month. These marginalised communities cannot be left out of the pandemic containment plan as they can potentially be hot spots for the virus to spread rapidly,”
As healthcare services are included in the list of essential services under the government’s Movement Restriction, MERCY Malaysia’s Klinik QFFD for refugees and migrants will continue their services during the next two weeks. However, all healthcare professionals and patients will first undergo screening before entry into the clinic premises.
“Our clinic in Ampang supports the District Health Office to refer refugees in Ampang and Klang Valley who suspect they have Covid-19 to relevant hospitals. Patients who are tested positive will not be charged by KKM, but those tested negative will actually be charged RM40. However, MERCY Malaysia will support the cost of RM40,” adds Ir. Amran.
The organisation has also been providing support services for temperature screenings, with a medical team stationed at the Sime Darby Convention Centre on 20 February during the 20 Top CNY TVCs Award ceremony. At Menara Oval Damansara where their HQ is located, MERCY Malaysia helped to purchase thermometers and face masks, train the security guards and management team on how to conduct screening, and provide advice on what to do if someone is detected to have temperature above 380 C.
“We have also donated masks, sanitisers and PPE to other organisations including NADMA to help supplement the dipping supplies in the market. In Myanmar, we also collaborated with the Malaysian Embassy in Yangon to contribute 25,000 surgical face masks, 100 bottles of clinical hand sanitizers and 100 boxes of surgical gloves to the Ministry of Health and Sports, Union of Myanmar for countrywide response and preparedness to Covid19 in Myanmar,” says Ir. Amran.
In the following weeks, MERCY Malaysia’s medical volunteers will be deployed to assist the Ministry of Health’s screening and sampling of potential patients in key areas such as KLIA & District Health Offices.
“Lastly but equally important is mental health and psychosocial support during this trying time,” says Ir Amran. “The change in routines, uncertainties and scary news in the media have caused much distress and alarm among Malaysians. We have launched our Keep Calm series on social media, and will be assisting to manage public panic through educational media interviews. We all need to work together to keep Covid-19 in check.”
To support MERCY Malaysia’s initiatives, you may donate through www.mercy.org.my or direct to MERCY Humanitarian Fund (5621 7950 4126) or MERCY Malaysia (CIMB 8000-7929-08). All donations are tax-exempted.