Singapore and China Healthcare Professionals Collaborate to Raise Palliative Care Standards in Yunnan

Three-year cross-border healthcare training programme brings Singaporean and Chinese healthcare professionals together to collectively improve standards of medical and care services for end-of-life patients in Yunnan.

Kunming, Yunnan, China, 7 Jan 2019 – Riding on the success of its first healthcare cooperation project in Yunnan, the Singapore International Foundation (SIF) today launched the Enhancing Palliative Care in Yunnan, China project in partnership with the Yunnan New Kun Hua Hospital (NKH), the Yunnan Health and Development Research Association (YHDRA), as well as Singapore’s Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH). Supported by the Health Commission of Yunnan Province and Health Commission of Kunming, the three-year collaboration kicked off today at the NKH with a province-wide symposium that brought together healthcare professionals from Singapore and China to discuss the way forward on palliative care.

Singapore and China have in recent years placed increasing importance on palliative care given rapidly ageing populations and increases in non-communicable, life-threatening medical conditions. Hence, the joint Enhancing Palliative Care in Yunnan, China project seeks to upgrade the capacity of healthcare professionals providing palliative care services to the terminally ill in Yunnan province. The project by the SIF will support the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 3 on the development and training of the healthcare workforce to provide access to quality medical services and medicines.

Over the next three years, a team of Singaporean specialist volunteers from TTSH will train a core group of 50 Chinese master trainers comprising doctors and nurses from the palliative, oncology and geriatric departments of NKH, and other palliative care facilities in Kunming and surrounding counties.  The curriculum will focus on key topics in palliative care including pain management, symptom management and psycho-social care conducted via a series of province-wide symposiums, training workshops and study visits to Singapore. The 50 master trainers will also be equipped with the technical expertise and teaching skills to in turn cascade their newly gained knowledge and learnings to their local peers and colleagues. This training-of-trainers approach is meant to build up the professional capacity of the wider healthcare community in Yunnan, ensuring the project’s sustainability.

The training programme is expected to benefit an estimated 36,000 patients and caregivers in Yunnan by end-2021.  At the same time, it will also enable cross-cultural learning, enhancing mutual understanding and friendships between the people of Singapore and China.

Shared Tang Jianzhong, Head of NKH, “Yunnan New Kun Hua Hospital is pleased to embark on this partnership with the Singapore International Foundation that will bring together 50 healthcare professionals and leaders from Yunnan and other provinces to exchange knowledge and expertise with Singapore. We strongly believe that this training programme will uplift the standards of palliative care education and clinical practice in Yunnan to benefit both our patients and the wider healthcare community.”

Professor Zhang Kai Ning, Director of Experts Panel, YHDRA, added, “Today marks the beginning of a second partnership between Yunnan and Singapore organisations to collectively uplift healthcare standards in Yunnan. We are excited to see our Chinese and Singaporean healthcare professionals come together again to share best practices with each other and look forward to another successful partnership with the Singapore International Foundation.”

Dr Wu Huei Yaw, Singapore International Volunteer (SIV) Team Leader and Senior Consultant at the Department of Palliative Medicine, TTSH, said, “All of us in the Singapore International Volunteer team are honoured to be given this opportunity to contribute to the palliative care sector in Yunnan, China. The multidisciplinary team from TTSH is committed to sharing our knowledge and expertise with, and learning from our Chinese friends, as we work towards a common goal of delivering better care for patients at the end of life.”

Said SIF Governor Mr David Chong, “When friends come together to collaborate and collectively solve common societal issues, the possibilities are endless. We are grateful for our partners’ trust and the opportunity to work together again to address a daunting challenge shared by both our communities. It is our hope that such international cooperation efforts by the SIF between Chinese and Singaporeans will foster greater cross-cultural learning and understanding and over time, forge a strong network of key healthcare players in China, connected to and collaborating with Singaporeans to build a better world.”

Singapore and China have enjoyed long-standing and warm bilateral relations for almost 30 years. Since 1993, the SIF has brought Singaporeans and their Chinese counterparts together to work on common societal issues at the people-to-people level, through volunteer cooperation projects in healthcare in Xiamen and Yunnan; business exchanges with working professionals; and collaborations in the arts.



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