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The cleaners of a public hospital have cried of being overworked, often taking care of two Covid-19 wards during a day of work, with each ward accommodating more than 30 patients.
They are often exhausted as they need to clean one ward three times a day.
These are among the grouses highlighted in a memorandum sent to Health Minister Dr Adham Baba by the National Union of Workers in Hospital Support and Allied Services (NUWHSAS) this morning.
The union cited how cleaners attached to one particular hospital are burdened with huge workloads. The union, however, did not name the hospital.
"Each Covid-19 ward comprises 30 to 35 beds and approximately 19 toilets. Each cleaner has to work in two Covid-19 wards when the practice is two cleaners in charge of one Covid-19 ward," the memorandum states.
This came as the government-linked contractor, Edgenta UEMS Sdn Bhd, said the company was understaffed.
"They have to clean and sanitise the Covid-19 wards thrice a day, including collecting the rubbish, mopping the floors, wiping the walls and beds, cleaning the mattresses, wiping the windows and cleaning the corridors and toilets.
"And in case a patient dies, the cleaner must clean the patient's bed and sanitise it. They need to mop the floor, sanitise the lifts and the corridors. They need to do this all the way to the mortuary.
"In the case of a patient being tested positive with Covid-19, the cleaner needs to sanitise the normal ward of the patient before returning to the Covid-19 ward.
"They are forced to bathe and change their clothes more than eight times every day, each time a Covid-19 patient gets in and out of the ward," the union said.
NUWHSAS highlighted that the cleaners are not given full personal protective equipment if they work at the normal wards.
Despite all the risks and heavy workload, the union said the workers were yet to be recognised as the frontliners and they are denied all the benefits and incentives the government gives to the healthcare frontliners.
"Such a workload impacts on their health and results in psychological and mental stress," the union said.
Similarly, the union said other cleaners are entrusted to handle fewer locations ever since Edgenta UEMS took over the cleaning service of the public and private hospitals in the northern region from January 2020.
Prior to 2020, each cleaner only took care of one specific location.
In the memorandum, the union demanded that the cleaners should not be burdened with overwork and that they should be stationed at a particular location.
Malaysiakini has contacted the contractor for comment.
The union has also urged the Health Ministry to assist cleaners aged above 60 and have received their termination notice from the contractor.