COVID-19: Salute and praises for mothers at the frontline


WHEN Malaysia began grappling with COVID-19 early in the year and subsequently implemented the Movement Control Order (MCO) to check the pandemic, many working mothers experienced a drastic change in their daily routines overnight.

In conjunction with Mother’s Day, salute and praises should go to those mothers, especially the frontliners battling the COVID-19 menace. Their sacrifices were innumerable, as they worked day and night in hospitals and infection hotspots, away from their loved ones and putting their own lives at risk of infection.

For senior assistant environmental health officer Nordayana Musa, 40, her task after the country was hit by the deadly coronavirus was certainly a far cry from what it was before, when she was required to work 12 hours a day regardless of the time and had to sacrifice her weekends.

Nordayana, who is attached to the Inspectorate and Legal Unit at the Titiwangsa Health Office here, however, said throwing in the towel never crossed her mind since it was an invaluable experience with her counterparts in helping the country deal with the outbreak.

“During the COVID-19 outbreak, time with my family was limited because I was working without regard for the hours. Thank God, to a certain extent, my husband helped to ease the household chores.

“As a mother and at the same time a frontliner, with this limited time, I make a point of having a conversation daily with my family and ensuring that the children complete the assignments given by their class teachers throughout the MCO,” the mother of two told Bernama.

Asked about her plans for celebrating Mother’s Day, Nordayana said she used to mark the occasion by eating out with her family but this might not be possible this year as no arrangement has been made.

But if given the opportunity, the Parit Buntar-born Nordayana would like to spend time with her family and celebrate it moderately as a commemorative date.

Police officer Zawiyah Zakaria, 41, told Bernama she did not have the opportunity yet to spend time with her children, especially after she was assigned as a supervisor in the Masjid India area here, which was placed under the Enhanced MCO (EMCO).

Zawiyah, who has five children aged between three and 17 years, said since the MCO was implemented on March 18, she could spend only two or three hours a day with her children.

“Indeed, my children are grumbling because we are not always there. Everything now depends on the eldest sister, because I sometimes return home late or not at all. Fortunately, my youngest is used to her sisters,” said Zawiyah, who works at the Kuala Lumpur police headquarters Integrity and Compliance Department.

Having served the police force for 23 years, Zawiyah described the experience of being on duty during the pandemic as mentally and emotionally very challenging.

Therefore, she hoped the COVID-19 chain of infection could be broken and the MCO lifted so that every family could savour their time together again.

“For that reason, I salute the frontliner mothers who can wisely divide their time due to their responsibility to the country. Our work is high risk, and exposed to danger. So if we go home, what about the kids later?” she said in a choked voice.

Meanwhile, a nurse at the Sungai Buloh Hospital Emergency and Trauma Unit, Anis Sabrina Shaharim, 29, said in the current situation, time with the family was very limited as she was mostly at work.

However, the mother of two is grateful that she can return home and be with her children and husband at home compared to those who were forced to stay far away from their families during this difficult time.

“But sometimes, it’s sad when our children or family members become sick because we can’t take leave, so we have to gird ourselves, think carefully and deal with it. We have to make sacrifices to care for the patients who need us too,” she said.

Sharing the atmosphere at her work place, she said the situation had changed dramatically since the hospital was turned into a dedicated treatment centre for infectious disease control.

She added that the challenges of work were also increasing as they had to deal with patients with unconfirmed screening results, thus requiring the use of complete personal protective equipment (PPE) all the time.

“To go home you have to really take care of your personal hygiene before meeting your family. Sometimes, we become unsure of ourselves because we can’t see the viruses and germs. I surrender and leave everything to God alone and for the virus to disappear from the face of this earth,” she added.