Keith Koh, AD/IV, sharing our best practices in carrying out successful medical volunteer missions at the ICHMM

Sharing Knowledge to Promote Volunteer-driven Healthcare Development

The Singapore International Foundation (SIF) participated in the inaugural International Conference on Humanitarian Medical Missions “Volunteers Beyond Borders”, sharing best practices in medical volunteerism projects.

SIF’s longstanding partner, Singapore General Hospital (SGH), organised the first International Conference on Humanitarian Medical Missions (ICHMM) from 30th October to 1st November 2014, bringing together 300 local, regional and international partners to share their experience in organising, managing and implementing humanitarian missions.

The aim of the conference was to share insights to better guide budding volunteer teams to carry out successful medical missions.

As a pioneer in specialist volunteer programmes and a key partner of SGH in various medical projects to improve healthcare in Asia, SIF was invited to share our experience in this area. We participated in a panel discussion on the future of international humanitarian medical missions, sharing our experience in conducting capacity-building healthcare projects in Asia by leveraging on the strengths of volunteer medical professions. Since 1991, more than 100 medical professionals from Singapore have worked with developing communities through SIF’s healthcare skills training projects in 10 countries across Asia.

Using the “train-the-trainers” model, SIF works with Singapore International Volunteers (SIVs) who share their specialist expertise with their overseas counterparts, so that they in turn will be able to impart these skills to others within the community. We also shared the results of a research study which analysed the impact of SIF’s volunteering stints in healthcare capacity building projects in Indonesia and Vietnam. The results not only showed the sustainable impact of SIF’s work in these communities, but also revealed how the friendships and professional connections fostered between Singaporeans and overseas partners had facilitated mutual sharing and empowered the trainees to become change agents themselves.

The conference ended on a positive note with volunteers and organisations from all over the world exchanging insights and learning from one another, with renewed confidence to continue their work in building a better world.

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