MOM Too Lax In Allowing Foreigners Wth Infectious Disease To Work Here?

A NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) nurse from the Philippines who is a
chronic Hepatitis B virus (Hepatitis B reactive, but HBeAg Non-Reactive)
carrier is dreaming of having greener pastures abroad so as to increase her
earning potential.

She is currently applying to work overseas, but realises that the Kingdom of
Saudi Arabia (KSA) is very strict in granting work visa to foreigners with
her medical condition to serve as nurses in the Kingdom, so she decides to
target Singapore and is seeking advice from her Kababayans here (See URLs

Hepatitis refers to the inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis can be caused by
viral infections, chemicals, drug abuse, some medications and immune
disorders. There are various forms of Viral Hepatitis including Hepatitis A,
B and C, which are caused by Hepatitis A, B, and C viruses, respectively.

Hepatitis B Infection is the most common infection of the liver. The majority
of infected individuals recover from Acute Hepatitis B infections and become
immune to it.

However some people can develop a long-term Hepatitis B infection, which may
lead to serious complications including chronic hepatitis, liver failure,
liver cancer and liver cirrhosis.

Hepatitis B virus is mainly found in the blood, and it can also be found in
semen and vaginal secretions.

Hepatitis B can be acquired through:
• Infected expecting mothers transmitting the infection to their newborn
during childbirth (Perinatal)
• Contact with an infected person (Horizontal)
• Sharing contaminated injections among users
• Unsafe sexual contact with an infected person
• Blood-to-blood exposure to blood or other infected fluids (Parenteral)

Subject to the outcome of their medical examinations, all foreigners seeking
works in Singapore are screened for only 4 types of infectious disease
(tuberculosis, HIV, syphilis and malaria) before they are certified fit to
work here. However, no medical examination is needed for foreigners on Work
Holiday Pass, Malaysian confinement nannies, Training Work Permit,
Miscellaneous Work Pass).

Anecdotal evidence suggest that foreigners with Hepatitis B Infection have no
problems getting various work passes from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) (See
URL below).

The World Health Organization has a list of groups of people who are at risk
of contracting Hepatitis B including health care workers, patients and employees in
haemodialysis centres, people sharing unsterile medical or dental equipment

Migrant workers in other countries are subject to Hepatitis testing before
the governments will grant them work passes.

For instance, Malaysia has a more stringent medical screening process
compared to Singapore (See URL below).…

In Qatar, pre-arrival Hepatitis testing are compulsory for all foreign
workers (See URL below).…

However, according to our Ministry Of Health, there is no need to ban
foreigners working in Singapore who are hepatitis B carriers (See URL below).…

Foreigners who wish to work in Singapore may get a medical examination done
through an established clinic/hospital here. Most clinics in Singapore
provide medical examination and report within a day. Completed medical
examination forms or health declaration forms (For Employment Pass, Training
Employment Pass, EntrePass, Dependent’s Pass, Long Term Visit Pass only)
will be attached with the candidates’ in-principle approval letters to the
Ministry of Manpower for their work pass issuance.

Should Singaporeans be concerned with the current medical examination
procedures with physical examination like blood pressure, chest and abdominal
examination, blood test, etc. as routine tests and screening for only 4 types
of infectious diseases. i.e. Tuberculosis, HIV, Syphilis and Malaria
(Hepatitis excluded) before work passes are approved?

What do you think?



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