PETALING JAYA: The Health Ministry is planning to employ “professionally trained and accredited spiritual guidance officers” to provide spiritual support to patients.
Its minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said the Malaysia Health Ministry Training Institute (ILKKM) was in the process of formulating the curriculum for “spiritual guidance” degree courses together with Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) and International Islamic University Malaysia.
“We want to look into the spiritual needs of patients apart from providing medical care,” he said.
Dr Dzulkefly said the United Kingdom provided “chaplain” services while the United States offered pastoral services in hospitals.
“In the West, only trained and accredited professionals can provide such a service.
“Similarly, we want to ensure spiritual guidance officers here are professionally trained,” he said after opening a seminar on spiritual management in medical and healthcare at ILKKM Sungai Buloh here on Wednesday (March 27).
ILKKM also offers a three-day training programme for existing healthcare personnel to provide spiritual guidance.
Some 67 out of 145 hospitals in the country have implemented prayer-friendly programmes since its inception in 2014.
“Those struggling against terminal illnesses or debilitating ailments need spiritual guidance more to maintain their relationship with God,” he said.
On the 4,873 unemployed ILKKM gradutes, Dr Dzulkefly said they were looking into offering contract jobs to some, while absorbing others for permanent employment in stages.
“Of the 5,454 students who graduated in 2017, 3,033 have yet to be employed. We have offered contract jobs to 733 graduates effective March 18.
“We are going to offer 1,200 permanent jobs to nurses, while 1,100 others would be employed on a two-year contract,” he said.