We refer to the statement released by the Malaysian Paediatric Association (MPA) on May 23 (“Segregating the children of frontliners sends the wrong message”, The Star). The Academy of Medicine of Malaysia stands with the MPA in urging the government to revise the standard operating procedures (SOP) for childcare centres set by the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry dated May 22.
It is deeply regrettable that the children of healthcare workers are encouraged to stay home when daycare centres and nurseries reopen. Childcare for healthcare workers should be prioritised, as reflected in the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. The CDC states that if childcare centres cannot fulfil necessary physical distancing measures for all children, childcare centres should “consider serving only the children of healthcare workers and first responders”. This is in stark contrast to the SOP by the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry which states that the best arrangement for children of healthcare workers is at-home care.