Singapore - Tamil Nadu Collaboration In Maternal And Child Healthcare Has Trained Over 1,000 Healthcare Professionals To Benefit 100,000 Mothers And Newborns

A three-year initiative comes to a fruitful close – with better care for over 100,000 pregnant mothers and newborns across the Indian State

Chennai, India, 23 February 2018 – Healthcare leaders and specialists across Tamil Nadu and Singapore marked the successful conclusion of a three-year collaboration between the two countries on antenatal and child healthcare in Tamil Nadu. To conclude the programme, both sides came together for a Leader’s Dialogue to share their experiences and learnings over the past three years, at the Tamil Nadu Government Multi Super Specialty Hospital.

The Enhancing Maternal and Child Health Services (EMCH) Programme is a three-year specialist programme implemented by the Singapore International Foundation (SIF) in partnership with the Department of Health and Family Welfare (DH&FW), Government of Tamil Nadu, Temasek Foundation International (TFI) and SingHealth.

Since 2015, healthcare professionals from Singapore have worked with their counterparts in three districts in Tamil Nadu – Tiruchirappalli, Kanchipuram, and Pudukkottai – to train local healthcare professionals in government healthcare institutions in Tamil Nadu to reduce infant mortality rates (IMR) and maternity mortality rates (MMR). Tamil Nadu is one of the leading states in India with an IMR of 17 against the national average of 34 and an MMR of 67 per 100,000 births. The EMCH Programme has helped augment the government’s efforts to tackle preventable causes of both infant and maternal deaths, with the aim of attaining a single digit IMR and ensuring safer pregnancies for more women. These efforts also contribute towards achieving the larger UN Sustainable Development Goal 3 of Good Health and Well-Being.

“Having a baby is a significant phase in a woman's life and we are committed to ensure that this is a good and safe experience, which includes regular antenatal care. Through the EMCH Programme, we are able to address gaps in antenatal care thereby providing better services and creating a reliable, sustainable healthcare environment for our citizens. The results have been very gratifying and have validated our efforts,” said Dr C. Vijayabasker, Honourable Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Tamil Nadu.

More than 1,000 doctors, nurses and public health leaders and officials from Tamil Nadu have participated in the three-year EMCH Programme. Through pedagogy workshops, management training, dialogue sessions, symposia and a study visit to Singapore just last week, the participants had the chance to share their knowledge and experience with their counterparts from Singapore, with all parties gaining valuable insights and perspectives from the learning exchange. Among the trained pool of healthcare practitioners, 50 Master Trainers were identified and received additional training on how to cascade their knowledge to their peers in the industry.    

As part of the EMCH Programme, a multi-disciplinary team of 26 healthcare professionals, including obstetricians, gynaecologists, midwives, emergency paediatricians, neonatologists and allied healthcare professionals from KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH) in Singapore, shared their expertise on CORE (Combined Obstetric Resuscitations and Emergencies Training) for better management of high risk pregnancies arising from postpartum hemorrhage, eclampsia and sepsis.

Mr Jaryll Chan, SIF’s Director of Programmes said, “At the SIF, we believe in leveraging our strengths and learning from one another to enhance the effectiveness of our programmes that enrich lives and effect positive change. I am heartened that this collaboration between the Singapore and Tamil Nadu medical communities has contributed to safer pregnancies for women and healthier babies, setting the stage for stronger friendships to grow not just between governments, but between our institutions and our people.”

Mr Benedict Cheong, TFI’s Chief Executive, said, “Good health care is an essential pillar of the economic and social development of any community. We are pleased to know that this capability-building programme has facilitated a good learning exchange between healthcare professionals from Singapore and Tamil Nadu, leading to good outcomes such as improved nursing processes and practices in the area of antenatal and postnatal care. In the long run, we hope that this will bring about better health care support for the community and enhance the networks of cooperation between Tamil Nadu and Singapore.”

Professor Ivy Ng, SingHealth’s Group Chief Executive Officer, said: “SingHealth is privileged to have partnered the DH&FW, Government of Tamil Nadu to share expertise in the management of high-risk pregnancies, obstetric and neonatal emergencies. This mutually beneficial collaboration has enabled both organisations to nurture a strong and sustainable pipeline of healthcare professionals to provide quality antenatal and maternal care.”

Dr Shephali Tagore, Director, O&G International Medical Programme, and Senior Consultant, Department of Maternal Fetal Medicine, KKH, who is also SIF Specialist Team Leader in the EMCH Programme said, “The past three years have been a great opportunity for us as healthcare providers to share our experiences – through these shared resources and expertise, we believe that we have helped play a small part in enabling safer pregnancies and deliveries in Tamil Nadu.  Learning happens both ways – we too have definitely taken away insights and learnings from our Indian counterparts on their approach to maternity care and how they overcome challenges”

The EMCH Programme is yet another collaborative project in India in healthcare – one of the key focus areas of the SIF’s work – and joins the ranks of similar maternity and child health programmes in Tamil Nadu (2009 – 2013) and Karnataka (2015 – present). It also marks another milestone in the 23-year friendship between the SIF and India to uplift lives and build enduring friendships between our peoples.



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