Speech by Ms Anita Fam, SIF Governor, at the SIF-SingHealth Memorandum of Understanding Signing Ceremony

Professor Ivy Ng, Group CEO, SingHealth,
Associate Professor Chua Yeow Leng, Group Director, International Collaboration Office, SingHealth,
Distinguished guests and friends,

Thank you for being here today to witness the next chapter in the partnership between the Singapore International Foundation (SIF) and SingHealth. Both organisations have enjoyed a longstanding partnership of trust and mutual cooperation towards a common vision of building a better world through healthcare training in Asia. Today, we are taking this partnership to an even higher level – something which is truly cause for celebration.

SingHealth has always been a valued partner of SIF - you have been actively sending and supporting your doctors, nurses and allied health professionals who volunteer with our specialist projects. In just the last six years, more than 200 SingHealth medical professionals have participated in 19 SIF projects spanning seven countries. To-date, your professionals have made 600 working visits to train their counterparts so that their capabilities can be enhanced. A wide spectrum of healthcare disciplines has been covered and these include maternal & child healthcare, emergency care and allied health services, just to name a few. Through your efforts, thousands of lives in developing communities have been uplifted.

The collective impact of our partnership has been encouraging. In a research project conducted in 2012, we found that following our Paediatric Emergency project in Cambodia, the infant mortality rate at the National Paediatric Hospital there fell from 57 to 30 percent. In our Traumatology project in Indonesia, we contributed to the setup of new regional guidelines on Treatment Ethics in Hospital Emergency Departments. And, through our Palliative Care project in Vietnam, we contributed to a national policy change in morphine use.

One of our longest serving volunteers, Associate Professor Celia Tan, Group Director, Allied Health, SingHealth Services, has been leading teams of medical and allied health professionals in training projects in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam over the past 10 years. Her effort to enhance the standards of professional training of physical rehabilitation practitioners in these countries is indeed inspiring.

Her dedication led to the development of a credible framework of education for Cambodian physiotherapists and basic level physiotherapy programmes in Laos. We were delighted to celebrate Dr Tan’s achievements at our Partner Appreciation Dinner last October, where she received an award of appreciation from SIF’s Patron, President Tony Tan Keng Yam. These examples are but a few of the many projects that the SIF and SingHealth have worked on, together with our neighbours, to effect positive change.

Such a longstanding partnership would not be possible if we were not united in a common cause - to raise the standards of medical care in the region. Training healthcare professionals in local communities and having them train their peers - ensuring that the impact continues and is sustained long after each project’s conclusion.

Moving forward with this MOU, we will explore furthering our collaboration in sharing medical expertise in the areas of Mother & Child Care, Emergency Care and Trauma & Orthopaedic Care, in neighbouring countries.

In closing, I would like to thank SingHealth for all your support of our Singapore International Volunteers programmes over the years - support which has been crucial to the success of these programmes. I would specially like to thank Professor Ivy Ng, Professor Tay Boon Keng and Associate Professor Chua Yeow Leng who have worked closely with SIF to make this possible. Today’s ceremony affirms an already strong partnership. I look forward to SIF and SingHealth working together to continue building a better world. Thank you.



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