New health screening standards for domestic workers

Cai Wenjun
The standards, which come amid tighter regulation of the home-help industry, contain items related to infectious disease, mental health and drug use among ayis.
Cai Wenjun

The city’s first health screening standards for domestic helpers, popularly known as ayis, was released on Monday. Eight local hospitals were also named as designated facilities for carrying out the screenings to ensure the safety and health of ayis and employers.

The standards were issued in light of the city’s first regulation on home-help services passed by the local legislature last month. Tighter and more regular health inspections are now required for management of domestic helpers.

The health screening standards, which were developed by Shanghai Home Service Industry Association and Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center, classify ayis into four occupational categories: ordinary service, family service, elderly people service, and new mother and infant service. The screening items differ based on occupational category. Those serving new mothers and infants should receive the most stringent checks.

Infectious diseases like viral hepatitis, HIV/AIDS and syphilis, mental health, drug use and lung diseases are among the screening items.

Dr Lu Hongzhou from Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center said the city’s standards are much stricter than a national version and include more items related to public health.

“The standard looks at overall health by including evaluations of mental status and urinary drug tests to identify those who are suitable for domestic work,” he said.

Local residents have already embraced the new standards.

"I paid by myself to take new ayis to the hospital for health screenings, because they will take care of my little boy. It will be good that the authority regulates a strict screening process and ensures the health of ayis," said a local woman surnamed Gu.

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