Medical social work (MSW) services in Malaysia has grown in parallel with the rapid development of the country. The medical social work services have become a necessity in the community health care to cater the demand of life-changing events and challenges in everyday life. The MSW involvement in community work has started at first in the hospital services. There are now clinics that perform specific MSW community work in the health services which began in November 2010.
The definition of community work as a method in social work that emphasizes active community participation, the use of existing resources in the community, participation in planning, decision making and action and the results which ultimately will make a difference to the lives of the community.
The MSW needs to have the skills of community work to help people transform their lives through active participation in the programs that are implemented in the community. Among ten skills that can be practiced by the MSW are: active listening and understanding the needs of clients, interpreting the information, maintaining professional relationships with clients, observation skills including the verbal and non-verbal behaviors, problem solving skills and building the clients’ trust, skills to handle sensitive and emotional issues, providing innovative solutions, skills to terminate the helping relationships and mediation skills to resolve conflicts.
The Role Of Medical Social Worker In Community Work
In addition to the technical skills, the MSW has an important role in the community work as part of intervention programs. There are several roles of MSW in the community work. First, as an enabler that requires MSW to give advice and help the community to solve their problems. Second, as an advocate to be the voice of the community in gaining access to the resources and to fulfil the rights of community through the application of the law. Third, as a mediator which requires MSW to be knowledgeable on the issues of local community, be the cultural broker between clients and available services that connect the community and service agencies.
The Aims Of Community Work Implementation:
- To encourage and mobilize community participation among the target groups and the general public as prevention of psychosocial problems in health care services.
- Improving the community quality of life through proactive and effective participation in the health care activities as to prevent the identified psychosocial problems.
- Maximizing the use of local resources in creating a self-sufficient community.
The Objectives Of Community Work:
- Promoting health care and preventing psychosocial problems in the community.
- Improve the standard of treatment, rehabilitation, prevention and research in the field of health care and psychosocial problems.
- Supporting programs for patients, spouses, caregivers and communities.
- To increase awareness, knowledge and attitudes about health care in the community.
- To improve skills among caregivers, volunteers, medical personnel and the community in health care.
- To encourage community participation in health activities and the psychosocial issues.
The Services Of Medical Social Worker In Community Work
Health problems are often associated with poverty, and many of poor people are unable to get quality health services. The primary health care and social problems in the community are linked with diseases. Therefore the MSW services in the community are focusing on health care activities and prevention of psychosocial problems.
Services that can be implemented by the MSW in the community are health promotion and education, therapy assistance, practical assistance, social activities, physical supports and welfare. The strategies to deliver community services are as follow:
The provision of comprehensive services include promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative. Activities that can be implemented are:
- promotive: expand community health services to identify the needs of local residents based on population data and screening in health clinics and communities to form support groups to provide health promotion activities such as physical activity, seminar, training of health care for caregivers in the communities and institutions.
- Preventive: early detection activities of health problems and psychosocial problems can also be implemented through health assessment in the health clinics, institutions and communities.
- Curative: home visit and institutional visit such as day care centers, nursing homes and also involvement in domiciliary teams and work with volunteers for the NBOS 7 program.
- Palliative: provide therapeutic support and assistance for palliative patients at homes and in the communities.
Develop and deliver promotional materials and health education including issues of psychosocial in the community through a variety of approaches:
- Provide health promotion and education materials as well as issues of psychosocial problems
- Mass Communication
- Electronic media – radio, television, commercials, video clips, documentaries, websites, billboards
- Print media – newspapers, magazines, booklets, leaflets, posters, stickers, bunting, banners and promotional kit health care
- Involvement in the celebration of Special Day with the community such as the International Day of Older Persons and World AIDS Day.
- Providing and managing interpersonal communication activities such as advisory services to the community, social support and counselling, forums, lectures, seminars / colloquiums, roadshows and quiz games, wheel of fortune and others.
- Networkdevelopment, partnership, and collaboration with governmental agencies, non-governmental agencies and privates sectors.
- Through talks / training / guidance to caregivers and volunteers at homes and institutions.
- Integration into the community programs run by other units, divisions and departments such as the Infectious Diseases Unit, Division of Disease Control, School Unit, Non-Infectious Diseases Unit, KOSPEN, COMBI, PROSTAR, National Drug Agency, LPPKN, Social Welfare Department, District Office, JKKK and non-governmental agencies as well as corporate bodies.
- Advocacy activities like for example health care promotion for senior citizens, children, adolescents, chronic diseases, other agencies such as the Ministry of Women and Family Development, Ministry of Information, Ministry of Education and corporate bodies.
Improve knowledge and skills to handle health related problems and prevention of psychosocial problems in the community.
- Health care and psychosocial problems training in different settings at the clinics, local districts and communities.
- Health care training and prevention of psychosocial issues through Outreach Program:
- Mosque / surau
- Through community leaders
- In Felda and Felcra placements
Grant / Funding Management
- Managing grant applications / funds from various departments / agencies / NGO / corporate bodies
- Providing documentation for grant applications / and for consideration of grant / funding from various agencies
- Monitoring the grants / funding distribution
- Providing report of activities that have been carried out
Health Volunteer Management
- Managing Health Volunteers’ membership
- Developing Health Volunteers database
- Planning, drafting, implementing and monitoring the Health Volunteers management guidelines
- Planning, coordinating and implementing the development programs for volunteers in the community
Community work has become a primary agenda in many developing countries. Various parties especially the governmental agencies and affected communities have taken significant efforts to develop and implement diverse programs to address the health care issues and psychosocial problems in the community.
In conclusion, the MSW perspectives on the community work aim to improve the quality of life and social functioning of the community. The MSW involvement in the community work through various programs should be implemented effectively to reduce the health-related issues and psychosocial problems among people to achieve the Malaysian health care objectives. Therefore, it is anticipated that the government’s efforts to provide the best possible health care for the nation will be achieved by year 2020.
- Haris Abd. Wahab. (2010) Kesejahteraan Sosial dan Pembangunan Komuniti: Pendekatan dan Indikator. Jabatan Pentadbiran dan keadilan Sosial Universiti Malaya. Diambil pada 6 September 2015 dari
- Mohammad Shatar Sabran. (2003). Model Pembangunan Komuniti. UPM Press ISSN 0128-7702 Pertanika J.Soc.Sci. & Hum. 11(2):135-145
- Office of Disease Preventions Health Promotion, United States Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS). (2001). Healthy people in healthy communities planning guide. Rockville, MD: Auther.
- Payne, M.1985. Social Care in the Community Work. Basingstoke: Macmillan.
- Public Health Foundation. (2002). Healthy People 2010 toolkit: A Field guide to planning. Waldorf, MD: Author. Diambil pada 6 Jun 2015. Dari
- Samir Muhazzab Amin & Sara Shakilla Mohd Salim (2012). Pembasmian Kemiskinan di Malaysia: Keperluan Kemahiran Pekerja Komuniti. Akademika 82 (1) 2012:81-89.Diambil pada 6 Jun 2015.
- Shulman,L. 1999. The Skills of Helping Individuals, Families, Group and Communites. 4th Ilinois:Peacock Publisher.
- Social Work in Illness Prevention and Health Promotion. Diambil pada 6 September 2015 dari
- Thomas, D. 1983. The Making of Comminity Work. London: George Allen and Unwin.
- Victoria M. Rizzo & Jessica Seidman. Health promotion & Aging. The role of Social work in promoting Health. Diambil pada 6 September 2015 dari
|Last Reviewed||:||31 January 2017|
|Writer||:||Pn. Mumtaz Jehan Binti Abdul Rashid|
|Translator||:||Pn. Mumtaz Jehan Binti Abdul Rashid|
|Accreditor||:||YM Ku Abdul Halip Bin Hj. Ku Yaakob|