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COVID-19 Took Severe Toll on Medical Frontliners' Health

“14.2 peratus petugas kesihatan alami gangguan mental akibat COVID-19” reads a headline in Berita Harian, the article detailing that 700,000 medical frontliners, or 14.2 percent, is facing severe mental disorders, stated that a study by Institut Perubahan Tingkah Laku Kesihatan (IPTK) found that medical frontliners faced this problem since the outbreak in 2020.

The conditions rose from stress-related situations, ranging from Post-Traumatic Syndrome Disorder (PTSD), depression, confusion and anxiety from having to deal with the impact Covid-19 patient care, to coping with their own livelihood.

According to Berita Harian, a major contributor to this situation is lack of a childcare support system. Medical frontliners especially are working overtime, in shifts that can extend to days at work, and the quarantine that they themselves have to endure when coming into contact with Covid-19 patients.

The exhaustion, worry and stress to ensure that their families and especially their children are well taken care of while they are away for long periods of time, took a toll of their own health, particularly mental health.

I remembered when Kiddocare collaborated with the NGO, POWR project (Projek Wawasan Rakyat) to provide subsidized childcare to frontliners when the MCO started in 2020, it it received generous support from the public and was received well by frontliners. It provided some support to frontliners as they struggle to fight COVID on our behalf. Providing them much needed backup childcare support as they performed their duties during the pandemic.

We had raised enough funds to subsidized frontliner on-demand childcare for a while, but other issues like food security took precedence. Kiddocare was proud and glad that we can help do our bit to help the frontliners as they keep us safe. We would be happy to do so again if we can find partners both government and corporate to continue such services to assist our frontliners.

In any case, on the bigger picture, perhaps it is time the government adopt similar solutions to provide a on-demand or backup childcare support system for frontliners. Who knows what might occur as COVID becomes endemic state. They may be a sudden rise of cases, school closure, rising deaths, further job loss or worse.

Mental health, like childcare is an important national issue, and Kiddocare is keen on helping provide some solution to this conundrum. As a platform for childcare we hope to be able to help, before this problem becomes out of hand.