Singapore, 11 October 2021 – The Singapore International Foundation (SIF), together with its partner SingHealth, won the inaugural ‘City of Good Award’ at the President’s Volunteerism & Philanthropy Awards (PVPA) 2021 in Singapore on Monday, 11 October 2021.
The PVPA represent the highest honours for giving in the community by individuals and groups. The awards are organised by the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC), with support from Singapore’s Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth1.
This year, the PVPA introduced the City of Good category as the pinnacle award for cross-sector partnerships that yield significant and sustainable impact and effectiveness, resulting in lasting contributions to society.
The award was presented to the SIF and SingHealth2 by Singapore’s President Halimah Yacob at the Istana. Nominated for the award by the East Java Provincial Government (EJPG), the SIF’s Paediatric Emergency and Neonatal Care Project was a three-way collaboration with Surabaya Haji General Hospital (SHGH). With the support of the EJPG, the cross-border project sought to reduce the incidence of infant and under-5 mortality rates in the East Java Province3. Mrs Khofifah Indar Parawansa, Governor, East Java, on EJPG’s nomination: “It is with great pleasure for EJPG to nominate the SIF and SingHealth for the City of Good Award. We are grateful for the professional collaboration by our Singaporean partners on this meaningful project, as well as the warm friendship extended to the people of Indonesia. The positive outcomes achieved demonstrate that our strengthened ties transcend cross-border challenges, especially those posed by the global pandemic.”
Over four years (July 2018 to March 2021), a specialist team of Singapore International Volunteers (SIVs), comprising doctors and nurses from KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH) under SingHealth, worked alongside their Indonesian counterparts to enhance the provision of paediatric emergency and neonatal services in public health institutions in East Java. The collaborative project included clinical training workshops, leadership dialogues, symposia, and community outreach efforts. Through the sharing of knowledge and skills with their Indonesian counterparts, the SIVs trained a core team of 24 Indonesian master trainers and together they trained a total of 280 Indonesian healthcare practitioners at seven hospitals in managing time-sensitive paediatric and infant emergencies. The project is expected to benefit 50,000 young patients annually, in line with Indonesia’s national goal of reducing the mortality rate of infants and children under the age of five.
Since its implementation, the PENC project has shown significant positive results. SHGH reported an encouraging reduction of approximately 70 percent in its infant mortality rate, from 40 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2017 to 12 in 2020.
Dr Sasongko, Paediatrician, SHGH, said: “On behalf of the paediatric team at SHGH, I want to convey our deep appreciation to the SIF, SingHealth, and KKH for their partnership and efforts in making the Paediatric Emergency and Neonatal Care Project a success.”
He added: “Through the valuable training and knowledge sharing between the Singapore and Indonesia communities, our healthcare services have improved, and public trust and patient satisfaction have increased. We hope that the positive impact of this cross-border project will be sustained for a long time to come and will continue to contribute to improving the quality of healthcare services in East Java, especially in reducing the infant mortality rate.”
The City of Good Award marks another milestone in the longstanding friendship between the SIF and Indonesia. Since 1992, the SIF has brought Singaporeans and Indonesians together to work on more than 100 initiatives in healthcare, education, and more recently, in the arts and social entrepreneurship.
On another level, the award is testament to SIF’s efforts to contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal 17, that recognises the importance of strong global partnerships for sustainable development.
Ms Jean Tan, SIF Executive Director, said: “Over the last 30 years, SIF has helped build deeper people-to-people relations by creating opportunities for others and ourselves to come together to share knowledge, skills, and resources, and work on projects that are mutually beneficial. Collectively, our work has impacted more than 15 million lives in 28 countries. Strong partnerships with like-minded parties have been key to achieving these goals, as we leverage the expertise and resources of public, private, and people sectors for sustainable development.”
She added: “A good example is the SIF’s collaboration with SingHealth, the EJPG, and SHGH to reduce the infant and child mortality rates in East Java. We are grateful to our Singapore volunteers and Indonesian partners who worked hard to not only raise standards of critical care for infants but also played a critical role in strengthening people-to-people ties. I believe our efforts bring us closer to becoming a nation of responsible global citizens, in a city of good.”
Professor Ivy Ng, Group CEO, SingHealth, said: “SingHealth and the SIF have a long-standing partnership to empower healthcare professionals in the region through training and education to address the growing healthcare needs. We are heartened that our Paediatric Emergency and Neonatal Care Project has been a success, having equipped the healthcare professionals in Surabaya with the critical skills to better respond to medical emergencies in new-borns and children.”
She added: “We are gratified to be part of this life-saving project. The tremendous efforts of our medical volunteers from KKH as well as our international collaboration teams to improve the lives of the Surabaya communities are inspiring and play an important role to strengthen healthcare capabilities in the region.”
Ms Melissa Kwee, CEO, NVPC, said: “This year’s President’s Volunteerism and Philanthropy Awards (PVPA) winners reflect the quiet and selfless determination of our people to do good even in uncertain and challenging times. Together they paint a picture of Singapore as the City of Good. The record number of nominations this year fuels our hope that the City of Good grows stronger under trial and fire. We will overcome if we do not give up.”
1More about the PVPA.
2SIF and SingHealth first signed an MOU in 2014 with the intention of implementing sustainable capacity building projects to address the growing healthcare needs in the region. Among the focus areas for collaboration outlined in the MOU was Mother and Child Care.
3In 2015, East Java Province reported the 3rd highest infant mortality rate (IMR) in Indonesia, at 11% or 16,141 deaths. Needs assessments were carried out between SIF, SingHealth, representatives from EJPG and staff of SHGH to ascertain gaps in paediatric and neonatal care within its hospitals and identify key areas for collaboration.