How Does a 6ME Improve the Well-Being of Your Female Foreign Domestic Worker?

doctor speaking with a female patient

In Singapore, foreign domestic workers (FDWs) play an essential role in many households, providing invaluable support in managing daily chores and caring for family members. Ensuring their health and well-being is crucial not only for their own benefit but also for the households they serve. 

One of the key measures in place to safeguard the health of FDWs is the 6 monthly medical examination (6ME). This article explores how the 6ME improves the well-being of female foreign domestic workers and the broader implications for employers and the community.

Understanding the 6 Monthly Medical Examination (6ME)

The 6 monthly medical examination (6ME) is a mandatory health screening conducted every six months for foreign domestic workers in Singapore. This requirement is stipulated by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) to ensure that FDWs remain healthy and free from infectious diseases that could pose a risk to themselves and the families they work for.

Key Components of the 6ME

The 6ME includes several crucial health checks:

  • Tuberculosis Screening: Through chest X-rays to detect any signs of active tuberculosis.
  • Pregnancy Test: A urine test to confirm the FDW is not pregnant.
  • Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) Screening: Blood tests to check for infections like syphilis and HIV.

In addition, the six-monthly medical examination (6ME) for migrant domestic workers (MDWs) in Singapore has been improved to better detect signs of abuse. These improvements include recording the MDW’s height, weight, and BMI to track significant weight changes, checking for unexplained injuries, conducting examinations without the employer present, and mandating the submission of all examination forms to the Ministry of Manpower. These steps aim to enhance safety and support for MDWs.

Improving Health and Well-Being

Early Detection of Health Issues

One of the primary benefits of the 6ME is the early detection of health issues. Tuberculosis, STIs, and other infectious diseases can significantly impact an individual’s health if left untreated. Regular health checks ensure that any potential issues are identified promptly, allowing for early intervention and treatment. This proactive approach helps in managing and mitigating health risks effectively.

Promoting a Healthy Work Environment

A healthy FDW is more likely to be productive and efficient in her duties. Regular medical examinations ensure that any health issues are addressed before they escalate, thereby minimizing absenteeism and improving overall job performance. This, in turn, creates a healthier and more positive work environment for both the FDW and the employer.

Ensuring Peace of Mind for Employers

For employers, knowing that their FDW undergoes regular health screenings provides peace of mind. They can be assured that their household is not at risk from infectious diseases and that their FDW is fit to perform her duties. This reduces the stress and uncertainty associated with potential health problems.

Enhancements to the 6ME Programme

Recent enhancements to the 6ME programme have further improved its effectiveness. The MOM has introduced additional health screenings and more stringent follow-up procedures to ensure comprehensive health monitoring. These enhancements are designed to provide better protection for FDWs and their employers.

Legal and Social Implications

Compliance with Regulations

Compliance with the 6ME requirements is mandatory for all employers of FDWs in Singapore. Failure to comply can result in penalties, including fines and the possible revocation of the FDW’s work permit. Regular health screenings ensure that employers meet their legal obligations and avoid any potential legal issues.

Social Responsibility

Beyond legal compliance, ensuring the health and well-being of FDWs is a matter of social responsibility. FDWs often leave their families and homes to work in Singapore, contributing significantly to the local economy and the well-being of many households. Providing them with regular health checks is a way of showing respect and care for their contributions.

Building Trust and Respect

Regular health checks through the 6ME programme also help in building trust and respect between employers and their FDWs. When employers take active steps to ensure the health of their workers, it fosters a sense of care and concern, which can improve the employer-employee relationship. This positive dynamic can lead to better cooperation and a more harmonious household environment.

Challenges and Considerations

Accessibility and Convenience

One of the challenges associated with the 6ME is ensuring that the medical examinations are accessible and convenient for FDWs. Employers need to schedule the examinations in a manner that does not disrupt the FDW’s work schedule excessively. Ensuring that FDWs can easily access healthcare facilities is also crucial.

Cost Implications

While the costs of the 6ME are generally manageable, they can add up over time. Employers must be prepared for these recurring expenses and view them as an investment in the health and well-being of their FDWs. In the long run, maintaining a healthy workforce can save costs related to medical treatments and potential disruptions due to health issues.

Cultural Sensitivity

It is also important to approach the 6ME with cultural sensitivity. FDWs come from diverse backgrounds, and their cultural beliefs and practices should be respected during the medical examination process. Clear communication and understanding can help in addressing any concerns or apprehensions FDWs may have about the screenings.

Conclusion

The 6 monthly medical examination (6ME) plays a crucial role in maintaining the health and well-being of female foreign domestic workers in Singapore. By facilitating early detection and treatment of health issues, promoting a healthy work environment, and ensuring compliance with legal requirements, the 6ME programme benefits both FDWs and their employers.

Employers who prioritize the health of their FDWs demonstrate social responsibility and foster a positive and respectful working relationship. As Singapore continues to rely on the invaluable contributions of FDWs, the 6ME remains an essential component of the nation’s approach to preventive healthcare.

Take Action for Healthier Work Environment

Ensuring the well-being of your foreign domestic worker is a vital responsibility. At Keystone Clinic & Surgery, we offer comprehensive 6 monthly medical examinations to meet the requirements set by the Ministry of Manpower. Our dedicated medical team ensures a smooth, respectful, and efficient process, providing the necessary care and attention your FDW deserves. 

Schedule an appointment with us today and take the first step towards a healthier and more productive work environment. Your commitment to your FDW’s health is a commitment to excellence and care in your household.

References

Asean.org. 2006. Your Guide to Employing a Foreign Domestic Worker. https://asean.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/S3_Your-Guide-to-Employing-a-Foreign-Domestic-Worker-2006.pdf

Mom.gov.sg. Work Permit Online for Employers of FDWs. https://www.mom.gov.sg/eservices/services/wp-online-for-employers-of-fdws

Sma.org.sg. Maids Employment Medical Examination. https://www.sma.org.sg/UploadedImg/PositionAdvisories/6062021_92225_PM_Maids%20Employment%20Medical%20Examination.pdf

Life.gov.sg. Employing a Live-In Domestic Helper. https://www.life.gov.sg/guides/domestic-helper

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