Malaysia's health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah admits that he and many of his colleagues are facing sleepless nights as the country battles the Covid-19 pandemic.
Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham said many Health Ministry staff had suffered from mental and physical exhaustion due to working around the clock, with little or no breaks.
"We have been fighting a war non-stop for ten months. We have not taken holidays. We attend meetings which require action every single day.
"Many of us in the ministry - those on the ground or those behind the scenes - are suffering from a high level of stress. This includes the director-general of health. Some nights we can't sleep.
"We have to think of health activities to organise and come up with solutions for problems. So far, we are hanging on," he said during the ministry's Covid-19 press briefing on Wednesday (Oct 28).
He was asked by reporters about the stress faced by the ministry's workers and frontliners during the pandemic.
Malaysia is currently battling a resurgence of the pandemic. It reported 801 new infections on Wednesday, bringing the national tally to 29,441.
Another eight new deaths have also been reported, bringing the total death toll to 246.
Dr Noor Hisham said despite the severity of the Covid-19 outbreak in Sabah now, the ministry's healthcare workers were able to stay positive.
"I had a video conference this morning with Sabah health experts and we were discussing solutions for problems in the state. Generally, many of them are still in high spirits," said Dr Noor Hisham.
To reduce stress, Dr Noor Hisham said work rotation was important as it allows staff to have time-off and rest.
"We need to be clever in our work schedule and allow rotation so that our workers can have a break.
"Although we still find it difficult sometimes to truly have a rest as we could still be awake at 3am or 4am thinking of how to solve problems!" added Dr Noor Hisham. - The Straits Times