KUALA LUMPUR, May 26 — The provision of childcare centres for children of frontline staff currently being studied by the Health Ministry (MOH) is in line with standard operating procedures (SOPs) implemented overseas.
Special adviser to the Prime Minister on Public Health Tan Sri Dr Jemilah Mahmood said the SOP was reviewed through best practices implemented by the Centre for Disease Control, in the United States and the United Kingdom.
“Over there the focus is on the children of healthcare workers because they need to work in the frontline and their children need to be well cared for.
“So in preparing childcare centres (nurseries) and so on we need to ensure social distancing, cleanliness and such for all the children. If possible, the provision of a childcare centres for these children of frontliners should also be close to the hospital so that they can work with ease knowing their children are safe,” she said in a Skype interview in the Bernama Bulletin today.
Dr Jemilah was commenting on allegations of discrimination against children of frontliners, particularly those of hospital staff at a childcare centre, where they were placed in a designated space.
Yesterday Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the move was in line with the position of the children as a risk group.
Dr Jemilah, who is also a medical and disaster management specialist, said in terms of the SOP, the Health Ministry had identified several groups considered to be at high risk including tabligh groups, tahfiz students, foreign workers and frontline health workers.
She also said the use of the word discrimination against children of frontliners was also seen as too harsh.
“It is not the right word to be used and I think the SOP (for nurseries) will be fine-tuned and we are looking at how we can protect the children of frontline health workers so they can be better cared for,” she said.
Dr Jemilah added the country’s healthcare system was among the best in the world and the MOH would be able to accommodate patients in the event of a new wave of Covid-19.
“Malaysia’s healthcare services has been hailed among the best in the world. I have worked extensively in epidemic and pandemic areas. I have confidence in the Health Ministry and our health care.
“At the moment, the use of wards in the MOH specially for Covid-19 is below 15 per cent. That means the ministry can meet the demand for more if there is a new wave in the future,” she said.
She also advised Malaysians to work together to assist the government in reducing the risk of Covid-19 virus infection.
“So when we see people in crowds we ought to advise or admonish them to protect our health and that of the people. We’re all grownups and need to know what to do.
“It not only requires efforts from the government and the private sector, but from everyone. So, the people themselves have to accept that our lives are not the same as before. We have to live according to the new normal. We should take preventative measures by distancing ourselves for one metre, and when possible to use face masks in public places,” she said. — Bernama