PEKAN: Finding the right childcare centre has become a major concern for parents, especially those working on shift or having to be on standby.
However employees of Pekan Hospital can consider themselves lucky because the best childcare centre for their children is in their workplace premises and operating round the clock.
Pahang Health Director Dr Sha'ari Ngadiman said the centre called 'Taska Ezati' is currently looking after 28 children, aged between three months and four years.
"The nursery was established on Oct 1 2009 to ease parents' burden. We are aware that it is not easy to find a suitable childcare centre for employees working odd hours.
"We have been overwhelmed with positive feedback from the parents. Doctors, nurses and the support staff have been serving others and this is how we can repay them," he told Bernama when met here, recently.
According to Dr Sha'ari the same facility has been established at the Tengku Ampuan Afzan Hospital (HTAA) in Kuantan and Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Hospital in Temerloh, while a childcare centre at the Rompin Hospital operates during office hours.
He added that his wish was to see all hospitals in Pahang equipped with childcare centre because it would give the staff, especially mothers, a clear state of mind while working.
"In Pekan, we charge RM250 per child for those below two years, while toddlers below the age of three are charged RM230 per head. I believe the price is much cheaper than other childcare centres.
"We subsidise RM180 for our employees whose household income is below RM5000 a month," he said.
Dr Sha'ari added that the selection of the childcare operator was through a tender process made every three years and only those registered with Social Welfare Department (JKM) could bid for the tender.
The operators, he added, must be willing to follow the rules set by JKM and the hospital, including ensuring that their staff are well-trained and the cook submits the meal-plan to the nutritionist.
"To ensure the staff-to-child ratio requirement is met, the parents are required to share their roster with the supervisor at the centre to enable the latter to work out her workers' schedule," he added.
Dr Sha'ari noted that parents were kept informed through a WhatsApp group and the hospital had established a special committee to monitor the nursery and conduct ad-hoc visits.
Meanwhile, nurse Nurul Akmal Ramli, 29, admitted that the childcare centre had been a great help especially when her navy husband, Izzuddin Muhammad Khiral, 30, is away on duty for days or months.
"With this hassle-free resolution I do not have to travel to different babysitters to take care of my only son, Muhammad Firas, two. It is also convenient for me to breastfeed him at the nursery.
"I just have to get permission from the head nurse. But what I like the most is we are kept updated on our children activities through WhatsApp," she said.
For Habibah Abu Bakar, 39, she is pleased to see her youngest child Puteri Eryna Khadli, four, showing great progress since she was sent to Taska Ezati in January, after her transfer to Pekan Hospital from Maran.
Habibah who is with the administration department added that Puteri Eryna could now read the alphabets, differentiate colours and shapes, all thanks to activities conducted by the childcare operator.