Speed up vaccination for disabled and caregivers, say charities


Joseph says so far 37 Jaro employees have registered for the Covid-19 vaccination.

CHARITY organisations running shelters for people with disabilities (OKU) are hoping that the government will be able to speed up the Covid-19 vaccination programme for those in this category.

According to Johor Baru Handicapped and Mentally Disabled Children Association president S. Murugaiyah, 55 out of its 214 residents have so far been registered with the Welfare Department (JKM).

“Registration was done last month and we are yet to get the vaccination date,” he said.

Murugaiyah said of the 214

residents at the home in Taman Saleng, Indah, Kulai, only 15 were not eligible for vaccination as they were below the age of 18, and the remaining residents would be registered with JKM soon.

“At the same time, only 10 out of the 55 caregivers at our shelter have already got a date for their first dose,’’ he added.

Murugaiyah hopes the department will quickly provide vaccination dates for the other 45 caregivers as they are dealing with high-risk residents and those with morbidity issues.

Ten of the caregivers will be receiving their first dose tomorrow at the shelter, along with 63 residents of VR Melodies Old Folks Home, which is also under the association.

Separately, Murugaiyah said donations to the association had declined by 70% since the movement control order was imposed on March 18 last year.

“When the economy is bad, charities like ours are among the most affected,” he lamented.

The Kulai shelter, he added, needed between RM1.2mil and RM1.9mil a year to take care of 214 residents – 120 males and 94 females aged between six and 50.

Murugaiyah explained that the amount was also needed to pay its 55 full-time staff, as well as for utility bills, quit rent and waste collection.

Apart from Kulai, the association also has shelters for handicapped children in Banting, Selangor; Bukit Baru, Melaka; Kuantan, Pahang; and Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu.

Meanwhile, Johor Area Rehabi-litation Organisation (Jaro) general manager Joseph Roy Arputham said 37 of its employees, aged between 24 to 70, had so far registered with JKM for the vaccination.

“We hope to get all our employees vaccinated within the next six months,” he said, adding that JKM had agreed to conduct the vaccination programme at the complex.

Joseph also said that the MCO since last year had financially impacted charity organisations.

“It is a difficult time not only for charities like us but also for businesses and companies,’’ he said.

Prior to the pandemic and MCO, Jaro was able to make around RM500 daily from the sale of handicrafts created by its residents and displayed at the showroom in the complex.

The organisation’s average monthly income, Joseph said, had been about RM20,000 from the individual sale of handicrafts, bulk orders from companies and cash donations, but that amount has declined significantly now.

“We need funds to operate and despite closing during the first MCO in March last year and the lockdown now, we still have to pay our employees,’’ he added.

Jaro was set up in 1952 for tuberculosis patients, but later became a centre for the disabled.

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