Children, The Family and Health: What it Takes to Give Children Long Life
The Singapore Workshop: Malaysia - Children, the Family & Health
I. The Malaysian Situation
Malaysia is a developing country. Recognising the fact that children are a country’s biggest asset, the Government of Malaysia has placed Education and Healthcare at the top of its priority list and among other things embarked on basic healthcare packages for children as follows:
a. Child survival strategies implemented by the Ministry of Health in the 1980s and are still currently enforced such as epidemic preventive immunizations, oral rehydration sale and breastfeeding campaigns etc.
b. Comprehensive Primary Healthcare accessible to almost all population in Peninsular Malaysia as well as Sabah and Sarawak.
c. Basic care of the health of school children through special school health programmes.
d. Rancangan Makanan Tambahan (RMC) Food Supplementary Plan which normally takes the form of a hot breakfast taken between 7:00 and 7:30am before class. The menu varies from ‘nasi lemak’ (a rice dish) to porridge, noodles and bread. Local fruit such as watermelons, bananas, and papayas are served as dessert. Milk is given once a week. The Food Supplementary Plan is administered in both the rural and urban areas to ensure that no child starts class on an empty stomach.
II. The Existing State of Health
a. General Health – It appears that ill health among children 10 years and below is no longer a problem in Malaysia. Mobile clinics in the rural areas are a thing of the past as there are cinics in the villages which are quite often very near the schools.
b. Dental care – As far as dental health is concerned “dental teams” from the hospitals visit the schools especially in the rural areas at least once a year and may stay and provide dental services at any particular school for even as long as a month each time if their services are required.
c. Infant Mortality Rate – Because of the better healthcare in the country as a whole infant mortality rate is down to a minimum.
d. Malnutrition – What may constitute a worry to the authorities in Malaysia is Malnutrition in the urban as well as the rural areas due to the following factors:
1. Working mothers do not have time to prepare a proper balanced diet for their children.
2. A lot of mothers are ignorant of what constitutes a balanced diet.
3. The availability of commercially prepared food and fast food.
e. Social Problems – The onset of social problems especially in the urban areas because of the availability of home videos etc. though not serious is a cause for worry.
The ten years and below group of children needs a lot of care and attention both medically and psychologically. Mothers must arm themselves with information on how to feed them and what to feed them with to ensure that they are equipped with a healthy physical foundation to begin their lives. Food for the soul is also very important. It is in this area that teachers and parents must work together to help the children develop healthy minds and healthy bodies to create healthy citizens of the future.
Last Modified: June 05, 2010