Report on non-functioning ventilators sent to ministry

Dr Chin speaking at the press conference as state Disaster Management Committee advisor Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian looks on. Photo: JaPen

KUCHING: Not all the portable ventilators sent by the Ministry of Health (MOH) to Sarawak are functioning, said state health director Dr Chin Zin Hing.

He said testing and commissioning of the ventilators had been completed and the department had prepared a report and submitted it to the ministry for further action.

“For the time being, we will also be receiving 13 more new ventilators. The money to purchase the ventilators was allocated by the ministry and will be sent this Friday to Sarawak,” he said during the daily Covid-19 update press conference at the Old State Legislative Assembly (DUN) Building today.

He said as soon as they arrived, the new ventilators would be distributed to hospitals, especially in Sibu, Sarikei and Bintulu and those that needed them.

Asked whether there were sufficient ventilators in Sarawak hospitals, Dr Chin said, “Thee state still requires more.”

“There are always people who need to be supported by oxygen. I won’t say we have enough.

“But we will try to manage with whatever we have and we try our best to get more of this resources because we never know when the (Covid-19) cases will spike,” said Dr Chin.

Meanwhile, Bukit Assek assemblywoman Irene Chang, in a statement today, urged the Ministry of Health to explain to Sarawak why eight out of the ten ventilators which were given to Sarawak on April 13 were not in working and functioning order.

She said five ventilators were given to Sibu Hospital, three to Bintulu Hospital and two to Sarikei Hospital.

The units sent to Sibu and Bintulu were totally non-functioning and had to be sent for repairs, she said.

She also revealed that even though the two ventilators which were sent to Sarikei Hospital were functioning, they had to be constantly rebooted as the screens kept jamming up after being used for a while.

“These are serious threats to the lives of patients who need to use these ventilators.

“In fact, I understand that the ventilators are 2004 models and they do not even have any built-in air compressors,” said Chang.