PETALING JAYA: Almost 1,300 families of paediatric patients nationwide have made use of the Ronald McDonald temporary house since its opening in 1999.
The home, located at Hospital Canselor Tuanku Muhriz Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, accommodates the families of patients undergoing long-term treatment at the hospital. It is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.
About RM2 million in donations from the public and various corporations, received through direct sponsorships and coin boxes in McDonald’s restaurants nationwide, went into its construction and two renovations in 2004 and 2014.
“HCTM-UKM receives more than 20,000 paediatric patients annually.
“The hospital receives 800,000 patients a year and the home has reached 90% occupancy,” said Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) president Azmir Jaafar.
Speaking to reporters, Azmir said RMHC was looking into building another home in the city centre by the end of this year.
“It will also serve as a temporary home for families from out of state sending their children here for treatment. We want to help families from other regions, including Sabah and Sarawak,” he said.
The home houses families from the B40 low-income group, and only charges them RM5 per night.
Azmir said there were families which had visited the hospital monthly for over 15 years for their children’s treatment.
“Homes like these are very helpful.
“Even simple hotels in Kuala Lumpur cost at least RM100 a night,” he said.
The event was launched by Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, who said she hoped more corporations would help poor families in need.
“I am thankful to donors who act to help the unfortunate. I am proud of efforts by RMHC and HCTM-UKM to help families stay close while their children are being treated,” she said.
The home in HCTM-UKM is the first of its kind in the Asean region, and is one of RMHC Malaysia’s four main programmes for children, which include back-to-school packs and a sensory room for children.
Another RMHC home is located at Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia to serve families in Kelantan and those from the east coast.