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Guidelines to prevent & deal with violence against healthcare employees enhanced in Malaysia

Guidelines to prevent & deal with violence against healthcare employees enhanced in Malaysia

This edition improves on the existing guidelines in terms of definition, scope, handling of cases of violence, and the notification process.

Malaysia's Ministry of Health (also known as Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia, or KKM) held its celebration of the World Day for Safety and Health at Work 2023 at the National Cancer Institute on 10 May 2023. The celebration is an annual programme in line with the International Labor Organization (ILO)'s recommendation, celebrated around the world on 28 April.

Officiated by Deputy Director General of Health (Medicine) Dato' Dr. Asmayani Khalib (pictured above), the celebration this year centred on the theme "a safe and healthy working environment: a fundamental right", which was set by the ILO. 

As a member of the organisation, Malaysia has been marking the event since 2006, as part of the government's efforts towards the Promotional Framework for Occupational safety and Health Convention 2006 (No. 187) which was signed to ensure the protection of the country's workers as they carry out their daily duties at work.

The occasion aims to increase international awareness of safety and health among workers and employers through the implementation of a safe and healthy work culture. It also aims to foster the responsibility of each individual in preventing accidents, the spread of disease, or the fatalities at work, while achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), 8.8, which is a safe and secure work environment for all workers by 2030.

In conjunction with the event, the second edition of the Guidelines for Preventing & Dealing with Violence Against Employees of Malaysia's Ministry of Health (KKM) Facilities was launched. This edition improves on the existing guidelines in terms of definition, scope, handling of cases of violence, and the notification process.

As shared by Director-General of Health, Ministry of Health, Dr Muhammad Radzi Abu Hassan in his statement, violence in the workplace was identified as one of the main challenges in the workplace. "Violence in any form, whether physical, verbal, sexual or written attacks, can disrupt the productivity of KKM employees."

The first edition of the Guidelines for Preventing & Dealing with Violence Against Members at KKM facilities was published on 28 April 2017. The statistics of cases of violence received by KKM since 2017 show an increase from year to year — from a total of 167 cases of violence reported in 2017 after the guidelines were launched, there was a total of 442 reported cases in 2018. Continuing on this trend, there was a total of 494 cases in 2019.

Most recently, there was a total of 321 cases reported in 2020 and 260 cases in 2021 during the pandemic phase.

"Violence against KKM employees has a negative impact on safety and psychological and physical health, further affecting work performance. This can affect the quality of medical care and cause losses from the aspect of spending in the health sector. Therefore, the launch of these guidelines in conjunction with the World Day for Safety & Health at Work 2023 at the national level is very important in the effort to create a safe, prosperous and productive workplace."

Through these latest guidelines, it is hoped that violence against KKM employees (especially by aggressive patients) can be dealt with more effectively, and that the safety and wellbeing of the workplace at all KKM facilities (i.e. healthcare providers across Malaysia) is maintained. 


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Lead image / Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia Facebook

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