Covid-19: Health staff screened for mental health problems, says Masidi

Healthcare workers prepare to carry out Covid-19 screening for those with a recent travel history to Sabah at Selcare Clinic in Shah Alam October 4, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Healthcare workers prepare to carry out Covid-19 screening for those with a recent travel history to Sabah at Selcare Clinic in Shah Alam October 4, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KOTA KINABALU, Nov 23 — Health workers in Sabah fighting hard against the Covid-19 pandemic are screened for mental health issues from time to time to ensure their safety, says Sabah Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun.

Masidi, who is also the Sabah State Government’s official spokesman on Covid-19, said any mental health problems detected among the health workers would be referred to the relevant parties including psychologists to ensure the problem is managed and resolved well.

“Various measures have been taken especially by the Sabah State Health Department (JKNS) to detect mental health problems (among health workers) so that it can be overcome and not affect their duties.

“Besides that, health workers can also directly contact the Psychosocial Support Line created by the Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Service (MHPSS) to get help on mental health,” he said in his daily press conference here tonight.

He said this when answering a question on Bernama’s report yesterday regarding the Sabah Medical Services Union’s (SMSU) call to enhance measures and strategies to take care of the mental health of health workers currently facing difficult challenges due the Covid-19 pandemic.

Masidi said the Sabah State Health Department also ensured that all health workers were up for the challenge, among others by providing them briefings on their duties as well as what they were expected to face.

“Before moving to a red zone, the staff will be given a ‘pre-deployment’ briefing, then while on duty they will be given an ‘intra-briefing’ from time to time and after, the ‘post-deployment’ briefing to ensure their mental health is always maintained.

“Besides that, each unit head is also responsible to set the schedule for health staff to ensure that they get adequate rest and are not stressed in carrying out their duties,” he said.

He said if there was a shortage of health workers in an area, especially a red zone, JKNS would mobilise personnel immediately from green or yellow zone areas to ensure the staff were not overburdened.

“When these health workers are ill they need to be treated immediately, therefore this mobilisation is important to ensure that the responsibilities of the sick health workers can be taken over immediately and effectively. With this measure, we ensure that the effectiveness of the fight against Covid-19 is not reduced,” he said.

Responding to the issue of payment of allowances and freezing of health workers’ leave which was feared to affect their motivation, Masidi hoped that it could be resolved at the departmental level, with a win-win situation for all parties involved. — Bernama

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