Saturday, 05 Dec 2020
21/11/2020 09:10 PM

By Noorazlina Jindeh

PENAMPANG, Nov 21 -- Donning of full personal protective equipment (PPE) can restrict comfort and movement, let alone dancing and singing in it.

However, it’s anything but easy for healthcare workers at a quarantine centre here as they strive to boost the spirit of COVID-19 patients at the Penampang Cultural Centre.

Performing Sumazau dance while singing-along the lyrics of a local song that reads “saya ini original Sabahan, mantad Kampung Nuntunan Apin-Apin” became one of the methods used by healthcare workers from the Sabah State Health Department (JKNS) and the Mesra Bukit Padang Hospital to cheer up low risk COVID-19 patients under their care.

Mesra Bukit Padang Hospital psychiatrist Dr Sivenanthini Purana Visvanathan said it all started early this month when many patients were complaining of boredom and getting stressed while undergoing treatment at the centre.

Apart from zumba and aerobics, the healthcare team decided to do dancing and singing.

Dr Sivenanthini said previously, patients with unstable emotions or depressed would be referred to psychiatrists to undergo counselling session.

“Every individual admitted to a quarantine centre must fill out a stress level assessment form. If a person obtains a high score, psychiatrists will provide assistance to the individual,” she told Bernama.

She said the Mental Health Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) team from the hospital comprising 20 personnel would hold group therapy activities once a week at each quarantine centre in Sabah where every session is held for 30 minutes to an hour.

JKNS MHPSS head Dr Leydra Philip said initially, such activities were only held in the community but due to its effectiveness, they were included as part of leisure activities at quarantine centres.

However, she said the activities would be held in full compliance with the standard operating procedures (SOP) set including observing physical distancing.

Dr Leydra said each district in Sabah has also been required to have its own MHPSS team but the interventions conducted vary according to a patient’s condition, age and needs.

“These are also part of the #endstigmanow campaign carried out for COVID-19 survivors and those in the quarantine centre apart from giving a glimpse of the situation inside the centre to outsiders,” she said.

Meanwhile, assistant medical officer Norbert Andilah who became Internet fame after a video clip of him singing the song titled “Original Sabahan” while wearing full PPE went viral on social media said he was just carrying out his duties as a frontliner to help COVID-19 patients there.

“Although it was hot (wearing PPE) dancing and singing, as a frontliner, it’s my job to assist them because listening to music while exercising can help lower the stress level of a person,” he said.

Based on the JKNS report, there are 28 quarantine centres in the state that house 2,121 COVID-19 patients.



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