The world of medicine can often be seen as overwhelming to the community outside the medical profession, especially children.
They will throw tantrums, burst into tears, squirm and fight during their visits to the doctor, and this can be a traumatic experience for the children as well as parents.
For the second year, a group of university students decided to organise a community-based programme, Toyspital!
Inspired by a programme in Ireland where kids get to play doctors with teddy bears, Toyspital! aims to alleviate the fear of visiting doctors among children, particularly those ranging from 3 to 7 years old.
It is a collective effort of a team, whose members come from various educational backgrounds, such as medicine, dentistry, architecture and law. They are either studying in Malaysia, Ireland, the United Kingdom or Canada.
“We want to bridge the gap between healthcare professionals and children through fun and interactive activities,” said Toyspital! director Muhammad Amri Alias, a Universiti Kuala Lumpur Royal College of Medicine Perak student.
The activities are engaging as children role play and become “doctors” for the day to treat their teddy bear “patients”.
Think tank committee member Adlina Abdul Rahim, a medical student at National University of Ireland, Galway, said there were new additions to the programme’s activities this year.
“The whole event will be a race with seven checkpoints, where the children will receive clues before proceeding to the next station. At each station, there will be medical props for them to experiment with. We want to provide them with hands-on activities rather than just being an observer.
“One of the activities is Super Surgeons, which is a simulation in an operation theatre. The children will perform an operation on their teddy bears. There will be organs inside the teddy bears so that they can learn the basic functions of the organs.
“We try to make the learning process as fun as possible as the objective of this programme is to make the hospital a place where children can trust the doctors and healthcare workers.”
The programme, aimed at educating the public about health awareness, is not just for children, but parents too.
“There are activities for parents like cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and first-aid chocking demonstrations, health talks and free medical check-ups while they wait for their children,” said Adlina.
“The public should be able to perform basic skills, like CPR and first aid for chocking, during emergencies,” she added.
Organised by MediAid, Malaysian Medics International, Sunway Medical Centre and insurance company Etiqa, the programme aims to reach a bigger crowd this year.
Toyspital! previously received great response with 340 participants and positive feedbacks from the parents in 2017. This year, it will be held at Sunway Medical Centre on July 22, with four sessions placing 125 children in each session.