Three-week supply left for frontline medical clinic
STRIPS of paper held together with rubber bands may be the only thing protecting frontline medical staff in Sarina if the national face masks shortage continues.
Awal Medical Centre practice manager Yogita Awal said she was asking staff to bring in supplies from home so the clinic could make its own protective equipment.
The clinic has started making its own hand sanitisers and may soon be forced to make its own face masks, Mrs Awal said.
The experienced nurse estimated the clinic would run out of supplies in three weeks.
Two weeks ago Mrs Awal converted a separated area of the clinic into a designated fever clinic to screen patients.
Initially medical staff were treating 20 to 30 patients a day, Mrs Awal said.
"We are looking after the patients who are coming from the clinics and hospitals," she said.
While most presentations were flu cases, Mrs Awal said there were a few cases they had to refer to Sarina Hospital or Mackay Base Hospital for further testing.
The pace of patients ate through the clinic's protective equipment at a rate Mrs Awal said she did not expect.
"We need to protect our staff, our doctors and nurses and of course our patients," she said.
In a desperate plea Mrs Awal turned to social media, calling for beauticians, hairdressers, vets, nail technicians, tattoo artists and food handlers to share their disposable gloves and face masks.
Since posting on Friday Mrs Awal said she was "overwhelmed" by the response.
"I'm so amazed with the community. There's a lot of people who are trying to help," Mrs Awal said.
"Some have walked in with boxes of gloves."