‘Jab inequity impacts children’

PUTRAJAYA: While the ramifications of prolonged school closures due to the Covid-19 pandemic will not be fully understood until the effects are seen in years to come, schools must no longer be shut, says Khairy Jamaluddin.

The Health Minister said school closures during the pandemic had greatly impacted children and had a significant effect on their mental health.

“This is compounded by the effects of social media on shaping our children’s thoughts, feelings and behaviours.

“We must ensure schools will no longer be shut. That is why Malaysia would like to once again call for the equitable distribution of Covid-19 vaccines for children when they get regulatory approval.

“This will protect all our children to learn safely at their schools. Please do not repeat the inequitable delivery commitments we are seeing for vaccines to date,” he said in his intervention during a session on school health at the 72nd World Health Organisation regional committee meeting for the Western Pacific, in Himeji, Japan, yesterday.

Khairy said it was imperative for schoolchildren to be given adequate mental support, adding that in this regard, Malaysia would place more resources and efforts in providing the necessary interventions for students who needed assistance, especially with the use of technology tools that might be more familiar for a digitally-native generation.

Future generation: Khairy stresses that it is important that children return to school, with adequate mental health support made available.Future generation: Khairy stresses that it is important that children return to school, with adequate mental health support made available.

“Malaysia acknowledges the importance of nurturing healthy and resilient future generations through schools and education.

“Malaysia continues to remain concerned about the double burden of malnutrition in children. We have set up a bipartisan, whole-of-government taskforce to address the issue of stunting among some children in Malaysia,” he added.

Khairy also raised the campaign on tobacco control issue, particularly on electronic nicotine delivery systems, adding that Malaysia will soon be joining some member states in regulating the systems.

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