Tighter screening of maids needed

As a mother with young children at home with a domestic helper, yesterday's news was disturbing ("Maid jailed for sex with employer's teenage son).

The report stated that the maid had a sexually transmitted disease. I wonder why this was not picked up during her regular medical check-up every half a year.

Perhaps the authorities could widen the scope of conditions to be checked during medical check-ups for maids. For example, diseases such as hepatitis B, which is contagious, are not screened as part of the mandatory health check. For my helpers, I had to specifically ask the agents to add in this item for checking.

The health screening packages for maids are very basic and do not pick up any pre-existing conditions or screen for signs of depression or other mental disorders.

The standard medical insurance for maids also does not cover normal medical bills.

When returning maids come back to Singapore to seek new employment, are they screened for any police records, such as if they had previously run away from their employers? This information would be important for prospective new employers.

With more families having both spouses working these days, leaving more vulnerable young and elderly people at home alone with maids, there needs to be tighter screening of maids, to safeguard the welfare of families.

Lim Wan Keng (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 24, 2015, with the headline 'Tighter screening of maids needed'. Print Edition | Subscribe