Govt clinic dentist turns frontliner in Covid-19 battle

It’s her first job as a dentist at a government clinic. But Dr Yong Meei Yeng, 26, didn’t hesitate one bit when the opportunity arose to volunteer and serve on the frontline in the battle against Covid-19.

She has downed her dentistry tools since Monday, suited up in personal protective equipment, and taken on her new role in a calm and collected manner.

Instead of attending to patients with tooth problems, Dr Yong has been conducting swab tests on those living in Menara City One, Malayan Mansion, Selangor Mansion and Masjid India. The residential areas are under the Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO).

The Miss Universe Malaysia 2020 finalist, who is now based at the Lembah Pantai health office, remains cool like it’s just another day at work.

“There is no fear. I know the risks and I know we are protected. If I didn’t go out (to help), I wouldn’t feel good about myself.

“It’s been all right, a new experience. From dental to something really new,” Dr Yong said.

“It’s really nice to see everyone, fellow dentists, doctors, nurses and even those from private practice from all over the country coming together for this.”

Dr Yong started serving on the frontline since Monday.

But it’s no walk in the park for Dr Yong and her comrades. They have to deal with several challenges – from the sweltering heat to language barriers with the residents.

“When we are at the site, the (PPE) suit warms you up, man!” she said in jest.

“You’d have a surgical mask, plastic apron, and the suit and your sweat will be condensed inside the plastic layer. And mind you, those are the breathable ones. The others can get even hotter.”

She added it was quite difficult warming up to some of the residents due to the language barrier. She would, however, try to have small talk with them in a bid to cheer them up.

She said it was obvious, having been cooped up indoors for weeks, some of the residents were uneasy and didn’t quite understand what was going on.

Dr Yong added the Covid-19 pandemic has brought forth the warmth and unity among Malaysians.

“Our PPE and face shield, for example, were contributed by various people. It’s really nice and warm to see Malaysians playing their part in this fight.”

So what does her family think about her stint?

“They are obviously concerned, especially my dad (Yong Tick Kian) and mom (Lim Choon Lan) … but I think deep down, they are proud of what I’m doing.

“I’m staying on my own. In the past, I used to think it was so quiet but now I’m glad I’m staying alone as I don’t want to expose anyone to anything.”

It’s going to be a long journey but Dr Yong has no regrets signing up for the challenge.

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