PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia's Health Ministry has requested an additional 1,899 contract medical officers to be appointed to the public healthcare system to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Health Minister Adham Baba said the recent surge of infections in Sabah, Kedah and Selangor showed that additional medical officers were required.
"The ministry submitted a request to the Public Services Commission and the Finance Ministry to appoint a total of 1,899 medical officers on contract for the purpose of supporting the healthcare services during the Covid-19 pandemic period," he said in a statement on Monday (Oct 12).
The ministry's director-general, Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, said the battle against Covid-19 for front-liners in Sabah is at a critical moment, as the government tries to manage the increasing number of cases.
Malaysia said last Saturday that 579 of its healthcare workers have been infected since the pandemic began, with eastern Sabah state hit hard in the last two weeks.
Tan Sri Noor Hisham said 85 healthcare workers in Sabah were infected in the first 10 days of this month, compared with 66 for the whole of September.
Malaysia on Sunday recorded 561 new Covid-19 cases, with two new deaths reported, bringing the death toll to 157.
Sabah recorded 488 cases on Sunday, followed by Selangor (25 cases), Kedah (16 cases) and Kuala Lumpur (15 cases).
Meanwhile, Dr Adham said the additional support staff needed included research officers, nurses and laboratory technicians.
He said the request to boost healthcare staff was submitted on Oct 9, in line with government approval under the Prihatin Economic Stimulus Package for the Health Ministry to increase the number of medical officers on a contract basis.
He said that the medical officers will be sent to quarantine centres across the country, in addition to facilities such as hospitals and clinics.
"They will also be deployed at the country's entry points, such as Kuala Lumpur International Airport, to ensure access can be managed more smoothly and efficiently," he said.