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Ronald McDonald House in Hospital USM Aims to Ease the Burden of Families in Kelantan

The Ronald McDonald House on the grounds of Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia (Hospital USM) in Kubang Kerian, Kelantan is a result of the contribution from various parties. This temporary accommodation or “home away from home” by Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) aims to fulfil the needs of families of pediatric patients within the state, while helping to alleviate families’ financial burdens by providing affordable lodging at only RM5 per night. 

The Ronald McDonald House in Hospital USM that was officiated by YB Dato' Mohd Amar Bin Abdullah, Timbalan Menteri Besar Kelantan, is the second of its kind in Malaysia. The first Ronald McDonald House was built in 1999 at Hospital Canselor Tuanku Muhriz Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (HCTM-UKM) in Kuala Lumpur, and will be celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. There are currently 370 Ronald McDonald Houses across the globe, providing a place to stay for families with hospitalised children seeking treatment at nearby hospitals and medical facilities.

“The Kelantan state goverment is pleased to have an initiative like this by RMHC. The concept of a temporary accommodation such as the Ronald McDonald House is very unique as it enables families who travel from afar to be close to their children during the extended periods of pediatric medical treatment. This house will definitely benefit those who seek treatment at Hospital USM as well as other nearby hospitals in Kota Bharu,” said Dato’ Mohd Amar.

The Ronald McDonald House on the grounds of Hospital USM, Kubang Kerian seeks to fulfil the high demand for a facility like this, as the hospital receives more than 20,000 pediatric patients each year. Other than benefitting the Kelantan rakyat who make up the majority of those who frequent Hospital USM, this house will also help families who visit the hospital from neighbouring states.

With USM selected to implement the Accelerated Programme for Excellence (APEX), this has elevated Hospital USM’s position as the main referral hospital and community health hub in the East Coast through Phase 2 of APEX (from 2014 to 2025). The Ronald McDonald House here further underscores Hospital USM as a hospital that caters to the needs of patients and their families, especially those in the East Coast region.

Azmir Jaafar, President of RMHC Malaysia as well as Managing Director and Local Operating Partner of McDonald’s Malaysia said, “RMHC Malaysia is committed in providing facilities that benefit the community. We hope that through strategic collaborations with the Ministry of Health, the state government,  and healthcare providers, especially hospitals with high traffic, we will continue to maintain our promise of ‘Keeping Families Close’ through the Ronald McDonald House initiative.”

Azmir also emphasised that the construction of the RM4 million Ronald McDonald House would not have been made possible without the contribution from McDonald’s customers via the RMHC Malaysia coin box at McDonald’s restaurants nationwide, business partners, McDonald’s employees, as well as franchisees.

“We are happy to make available the Ronald McDonald House for the use of many, especially the Kelantan rakyat and those from the East Coast. It is our hope that with this house, parents will be more comfortable and at ease during difficult times when their child is seeking medical treatment,” added Azmir.

YBhg. Professor Datuk Dr Asma Ismail, Universiti Sains Malaysia Vice Chancellor who was also present at the ceremony, said that the house was able to encourage the speedy recovery of pediatric patients due to available physical and emotional support.

“Physical and emotional support from family members are important factors that encourage recovery in pediatric patients. Having their families close to them on hospital grounds will spur them on to be happy and motivated for recovery. We are able to see positive effects exhibited throughout the recovery process,” she said.

"The construction of the Ronald McDonald House here is a catalyst for the university - by way of the hospital underscoring USM’s role as an APEX University - where the core ideals are sustainability and humanity, particularly for the B40 group," she added.

RMHC Malaysia conducts 4 main programmes to help Malaysian children, which are the Ronald McDonald House, Ronald McDonald Sensory Room, Gift of Smile, and Back-to-School packs for primary school children from underprivileged families. These programmes encompass the 3 core pillars of RMHC Malaysia which are Health, Education, and Welfare.

Quick Facts about Ronald McDonald House in Hospital USM, Kelantan
Total bedrooms: 18 (accommodates 18 families at a single time)
Total beds: 72 units
Ronald McDonald Sensory Room: Fitted with multi-sensory equipment to facilitate the development of special needs children
Other available facilities: Dining area, living room, kitchen, laundry room, and games room

Other programmes by RMHC at Hospital USM include Gift of Smile, a full financial aid programme for children born with cleft lip or palate for corrective operation.

Contact the Ronald McDonald House in Hospital Canselor Tuanku Muhriz UKM (HCTM-UKM), Kuala Lumpur at 03-9173 5994 or the RMHC Malaysia headquarters at 03-7843 3388 if you are interested to contribute via cash donations or volunteer for RMHC Malaysia.