THE Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) has applauded the Health Ministry’s s decision to include three additional tests in the medical screening for foreign workers entering the country.
According to MMA president Dr Azizan Abdul Aziz, the additional screening for filariasis, methamphetamine and Hepatitis C is necessary amid an increase in communicable diseases and drug abuse detected among foreign workers entering the country.
“The increase in communicable diseases prevalence should not be taken lightly as it poses a dual threat to both public health and the nation’s productivity,” she said in a statement on Tuesday (Jan 30).
“We urge the public to support these necessary precautions taken by the MOH which prioritises the health of the population. Ignoring these safeguards can also result in an increased public healthcare burden.”
Dr Azizan said MMA agrees with MOH’s policy to include three additional screenings in addition to the initial six in Foreign Workers Medical Examination Monitoring Agency Sdn Bhd’s (FOMEMA) medical screening programme for foreign workers.
“We also urge the Human Resources Ministry to remind countries supplying workers of their responsibility to ensure worker medical screening is carried out as required, before allowing them to depart to Malaysia,” she stated.
“All workers are required to test for tuberculosis, Hepatitis B, syphilis, HIV, malaria and leprosy in their country of origin before departure to Malaysia.
“Workers detected with any communicable disease before departure or upon entry to Malaysia must be isolated for the prescribed period until the next course of action is taken by the authorities.”
Dr Azizan lamented that despite the requirement for medical screening of workers before departure to Malaysia, there are still workers testing positive for communicable diseases when they arrive on Malaysian shores.
“This indicates a lack of compliance with the requirements in the processing of applications for work in Malaysia,” she remarked.
“The government should consider the suggestion to allow employers to deal directly with manpower suppliers in the various countries for their human resources needs, as there have been numerous issues arising from the involvement of middlemen.
“Employers should also be given the freedom to choose their medical provider for the pre-departure medical screening of foreign workers.” – Jan 30, 2024