The Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM) has deployed five modules of Mobile Operation Theatre Forward Hospitals to the Hospital Sultanah Aminah (HSA) on 31 October to help the hospital in its operations, said ATM Health Services Division director-general Lt Gen Datuk Dr. Abdul Razak Mohammad Yusuff.

The modules that will be operating 24-hours daily, comprise wards, mobile operating theatres and X-ray, dental and decontamination units that will be used as a temporary treatment centre. It is being set up in front of the emergency and trauma department.

When integrated, the five modular units form a field hospital of 244 square metres that is capable of treating 50 to 70 patients and performing at least five to six resuscitative surgeries a day, Dr. Abdul Razak said.

23 years old, but still in good condition

Despite the field hospital being 23 years old, it has a proven track record to perform these tasks and the modular units are still in good condition, he added.

The field hospital was used in Namibia for six years, Somalia for five years and most recently during the flood disaster in Kuala Krai, Kelantan at the end of 2014. During the two-week military exercise with Brunei and Thailand, the field hospital was used with no problems as well.

Since its installation on 29 October, workers have been coordinating and installing the temporary units despite heavy rain. Dr. Abdul Razak and Johor Health Department director Dr. Rooshaimi Merican Rahim Merican were present on site to monitor the progress.

Delayed availability due to ongoing operations

However, despite the promise of the field hospital to be available by 8am yesterday, the availability has been postponed to today, as the hospital administration was still in the midst of setting up the medical equipment and getting the operation centre to be powered with electricity, State Health and Environment Committee chairman Datuk Ayub Rahmat said.

He added that the Fire and Rescue Department was also working with hospital technicians to ensure that the equipment was in working order and safely connected to the hospital's power source.

The mobile hospital will be entirely manned by the HSA staff, including the surgeons and the infection control unit, and whilst the army is lending the mobile hospital to HSA for just two weeks, Datuk Ayub said that they will be requesting for an extension.

ATM is also stationing 20 to 30 personnel and officers to assist HSA doctors in maintaining and securing the premise of the field hospital.

"The Health Ministry have asked us to help operations at HSA, after its operation theatre and emergency unit were temporarily closed, by providing an operation theatre and a support unit for emergency cases," Dr. Abdul Razak said.

"ATM will cooperate with specialists from HSA to provide an appropriate action plan involving treatment and surgery," he added. MIMS

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