In the past few months, I have noticed many new moms from Canada & the States bringing up their concerns on social media about how their healthcare system is failing them. Their healthcare focuses almost exclusively on the baby to the point that postpartum health for moms are being neglected.
Some of my friends in Malaysia reposted these posts and quite frankly I was shocked. I want you guys to please stop doing so because this is not the case for the Malaysian healthcare system, at all.
So I’m here to share my pregnancy & postpartum experience with you in regards to the healthcare I received from the local government clinic in Putrajaya (Klinik Kesihatan/ KK).
When I first found out I was pregnant, I checked into the KK in Precinct 18 which was just a minute away from my moms house (where I was living then). Every month after that I was given an appointment for my antenatal health check-up.
At the KK, I was offered antenatal & breastfeeding classes, I was given little pregnancy health booklets and I was provided almost everything else pregnancy & birth related. They also provided me with antenatal supplements and they were all free! I paid no single cent.
I missed an appointment once because I was swamped with work, and I received two calls from the clinic asking me where I was. The nurse immediately had me rescheduled for another appointment and encouraged me not to miss it. They were so efficient and so caring that it took my by surprise. I had no idea they were that good.
Before I continue, I should probably tell you that the KK in Putrajaya caters only to Putrajaya residents for antenatal care. Every two or three precincts would have one clinic where the residents can go to. If you aren’t a Putrajaya resident and would like to have your antenatal check-ups in Putrajaya, you would have to do so at the main Hospital. This effectively controls the crowd that goes to any one clinic making it quick and efficient for moms like myself to be served.
Even though I eventually decided to give birth at a private hospital, the nurses at the KK made sure I went for my monthly appointments and that I was stocked up on my vitamins. I was also asked to give them a call once I had given birth and I did.
My postpartum care was even more surprising than my antenatal care.
After I told the KK I had already given birth at a private hospital, I received another call from them a few hours later to let me know that they will be making home visitations to check on me and my baby. I had to ask them to repeat themselves because I thought I heard them wrong. They were really going to come to my house? That's such a VIP treatment. It caught my mom by surprise too and she told everyone about it. Apparently they have been doing this since forever.
Two days after giving birth, two nurses from the KK came by. They measured my baby’s weight, my baby’s overall health, they took my blood pressure, checked on my c-section scar, and made sure all my questions on being a new mom were answered before they left. There was a lot of guidance and support offered for newborn care.
Four days after giving birth, the same two nurses from the KK came by again. They carried out the same procedure, made sure I was eating well, and made me feel so cared for. They also noticed that my baby might be having jaundice and urged me to immediately take him to the KK to see the doctor. They followed up with me on this the day after, two days after, and three days after.
We were eventually admitted to the hospital for jaundice. The service was fast and efficient and my baby was discharged after less than 24 hours. We only had to pay RM1.50 for the entire treatment - yeah...this one is a story to be told and repeated forever. We were left speechless. When Tim told me he paid “one fifty” I thought he meant a hundred and fifty, and I thought that was reasonable - and then I saw the bill. They should seriously be paid more.
A week after giving birth, a nurse from the private hospital (Andorra Women & Children Hospital) came to visit me in my home. The same procedure was carried out - she checked on my baby and then on me, she made sure I was OK, sold me a pair of silicone breast pumps, taught me how to breastfeed properly, and we talked about immediate postpartum care and more.
So far, two home visits from the KK and one from the private hospital.
I thought I was done with the postpartum care services after the home visits, but it didn't stop there.
I was made to go for TEN more weekly visits to the KK for a 'mom & baby' check-up.
At every visit, the nurses would take Jacob’s weight, check his overall health, take my blood pressure, ask me if I’m getting enough rest, we talked about caring for a newborn, they gave me a diet plan, and made sure I was doing OK both physically and emotionally. They totally understood what a fragile and delicate time it is for me and my baby, and made me feel really supported and cared for.
Weeks following childbirth was a time where I felt most vulnerable and I felt like I had the most on my plate like never before. I can only imagine new moms who are going through postpartum without the support of a good healthcare system, and a system that claims it is “not their job to support you through your own postpartum healing”.
I can't be more proud of my government. Thank you for making sure all mothers in Malaysia are well taken care of.