“Just 3 months after starting work with us, my nanny had to leave because she was pregnant and rather was lying that she was just getting fatter”.
These are some of the conversations that people might have about the true health status of their domestic staff. These are people that you have hired to work in your homes or with you in close proximity and you owe it to yourself and your family to know their health status. Knowing doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t work for you but you should at least know what you are getting into.
Knowing their health status also gives you the ability to get them medical care as required, or at the least let them know their health status as many of them do not know.
Some of the health checks that domestic staff should be screened for before they are hired include –
- Hepatitis – experts feel that the hepatitis virus is more dangerous than HIV. Hepatitis B can be transmitted through body fluids like saliva and blood (source: doctor.dtv)
There are some agencies that do these tests and send the staff to you with a clean bill of slate, however based on personal experience, I would recommend that you run your own checks. I had one situation where a nanny whom I hired through an agency showed up with Medical results that said negative to all the things you would screen a nanny for. I carried out my own tests a few weeks after she started the job only to find out that she had full blown HIV. Once again this is not to discriminate, but this is someone who is taking care of children and who did not know she was HIV positive nor on any drugs.
It is advisable to carry out basic blood work and health checks at least every six months. Medically it is possible for some coniditions not to show up for a couple of months though the initial test was negative.
Do you carry out any Health checks after they start working with you? Remember that they go off and you are not able to control where they go or what they do. I know there is the real concern of Human Rights and not discriminating. I say nannies are hired to be around your baby or your child, touching and preparing food, giving baths, doing laundry and playing quite closely with your child. You would not willing expose your most prized possession, your child, to known danger.
One other recommendation more employers need to consider is Health Insurance for your domestic staff, these are not that expensive when compared with the amount you spend on salaries and upkeep of your domestic staff. The insurance takes care of the costs of health care and as such your staff is more likely to go to a proper hospital or clinic when they are ill. How many people know of a staff who has gone to a cheaper quack doctor only to still be treating malaria 2 months from the first symptom?
So get your domestic staff screened prior to hiring them and regularly after they start work with you. There are several clinics and centers that carry out Domestic Staff screening and tests, for example Crestview Radiology has a Drivers Screening package.
If you can, get a Doctor to carry out a general assessment of your Nanny and other Domestic Staff. This is based on my personal experience where a nanny I hired was actually on Anti-Depressants and we didn’t know until the day she was behaving very strange and then it all came tumbling out. Only after I asked her to leave did the other nanny decide to tell me that she always thought something was weird because she would just see her standing in one position, holding a knife and staring into space! Scary!
We need to keep praying, be vigilant and trust our instincts as we hire and keep domestic staff in our homes.