Zika outbreak

MPs take steps to educate, support pregnant mums

MacPherson MP Tin Pei Ling speaking to Ms Sulaiha Ngatiman at her home yesterday. The Aljunied Crescent resident, who is seven months pregnant, says she uses mosquito coils and applies insect repellent but is still worried about her baby. Ms Tin visi
MacPherson MP Tin Pei Ling speaking to Ms Sulaiha Ngatiman at her home yesterday. The Aljunied Crescent resident, who is seven months pregnant, says she uses mosquito coils and applies insect repellent but is still worried about her baby. Ms Tin visited five pregnant women in the area yesterday and gave them information on Zika.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

They make house visits, set up website, distribute pamphlets

Members of Parliament from various constituencies have stepped up their fight against Zika, by educating pregnant women about the disease and providing support.

Mr Alex Yam, an MP for Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC, said that this weekend, residents and volunteers will hand out pamphlets to inform residents how they can protect themselves from the virus.

His team has also set up a Mummy Safe Singapore website which contains information on microcephaly - a condition which causes babies to have small heads - and insect repellents which are safe for expectant mothers to use.

"Zika is very frightening to people right now because it is associated with images of microcephaly," said Mr Yam, who has received e-mail from worried mothers-to-be.

He hopes that the website will reassure them that the chance of their babies getting microcephaly is quite small. Studies have shown that between 1 and 10 per cent of expectant mothers who are infected during pregnancy will give birth to babies with microcephaly.

CURBING MOSQUITO BREEDING

We will continue our efforts to work with agencies very closely to curb breeding of mosquitoes and to drive down as much as possible the potential spread of the disease - whether it's Zika or dengue.

MACPHERSON MP TIN PEI LING, on tackling mosquito-borne diseases.

"Whether we like it or not, we have to accept that Zika will very much become a fact of life," added Mr Yam. "I don't think there's any way to say that we can eradicate it tomorrow."

Yesterday, MacPherson MP Tin Pei Ling visited five pregnant women living in Aljunied Crescent and gave them a letter with information on Zika.

Her grassroots team also visited 20 other pregnant women in the MacPherson area yesterday.

She also plans to pay house visits to pregnant mothers living in the new affected area of Paya Lebar Way "as soon as possible".

As of press time, there were four mothers-to-be on the list. In addition, Ms Tin created a special e-mail account for these women to contact her about Zika-related matters.

Ms Tin, who gave birth to her first child last year, explained that she wanted to "connect everyone" and "make sure we have a channel to share information and updates".

She added: "We will continue our efforts to work with agencies very closely to curb breeding of mosquitoes and to drive down as much as possible the potential spread of the disease - whether it's Zika or dengue."

One concerned mother-to-be living on the second floor of Block 103, Aljunied Crescent has been taking precautions since the first case of Zika was reported there last Saturday.

"I'm quite worried about the baby for these next two months... My husband and I use mosquito coils in the home and spray mosquito repellent on ourselves," said Ms Sulaiha Ngatiman, 30, who is seven months pregnant with her fifth child. She has four sons aged three, seven, nine and 10.

"We also try to avoid other affected areas when we go out."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 31, 2016, with the headline 'MPs take steps to educate, support pregnant mums '. Print Edition | Subscribe