Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, it is not a surprise that Malaysians were trying their best to remain safe but some went as far as stocking up on face masks, gloves, cleaning gels, soaps and even hand sanitizers. The situation was aggravated soon after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a pandemic in late January 2020, creating a shortage of most personal protective equipment (PPE), especially face masks and hand sanitizers which resulted in a shortage of supply and a visible ‘out-of-stock’ sign in most shops.
Driven by the shortage of hand sanitizers, a few lecturers from Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), Pahang campus took the initiative to prepare and distribute hand sanitisers to the frontliners at the UiTM health clinic and students who were returning to their hometowns. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Megat Ahmad Kamal Megat Hanafiah, a lecturer from the Faculty of Applied Sciences led a team of four other faculty members and laboratory staff, namely Dr. Shaari Daud, Dr. Zul Adlan Mohd Hir, Dr. Agustono Wibowo, Dr. Norshahidatul Akmar Mohd Shohaimi, Hj. Nik Mohd Zamani Nik Ismail and two postgraduate students, Muhammad Amirrul Hakim and Noraini Safar to produce their own hand sanitizers.
The hand sanitizer, formulated by mixing a proportion of isopropyl alcohol, glycerin, aloe vera, deionized water and essential oil was packed into 50 bottles of 100 ml each. They were distributed on March 17, 2020 a day before the Malaysian Movement Control Order (MCO) was announced.
During the distribution, the team also shared some knowledge on the ingredients used to make the sanitizer and advised everyone to stay safe in order to control the spread of the outbreak. Currently, some of the materials are still out of stock and hence, only a small amount of sanitizers could be produced. Nonetheless, the team aspires to contribute more during this pandemic season as soon as they get the necessary resources, so that it will not only benefit the university but also the local community in Jengka, Pahang, Malaysia. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Megat and his team are very grateful to the Rector of UiTM, Pahang campus, Prof. Ts. Dr. Mohd Ilham Adenan and Head of School of Science Studies, Dr. Muzamil Mustaffa for the support and for allowing the lecturers to use the university facilities to produce the hand sanitizers.
UiTM’s Social Responsibility Towards Fighting COVID-19