Speech by Mr Lian Wee Cheow, SIF Governor, at the Orthopaedic & Rehabilitation Specialist Project Closing and Calmette Hospital-SIF-Singhealth Tripartite MOU Signing Ceremony

His Excellency Dr Te Kuy Seang, Secretary of State, Cambodia Ministry of Health,
Professor Kong Sonya, Deputy Director General, Calmette Hospital,
Associate Professor Chua Yeow Leng, Group Director, International Collaboration Office, SingHealth,
Mr Edgar Pang, Deputy Chief of Mission & Counsellor, Embassy of the Republic of Singapore in Cambodia,
Distinguished guests and friends,

Thank you for joining us to witness the next chapter in the collaboration between Singaporean and Cambodian healthcare professionals to promote knowledge and skills transfer for the enhancement of thousands of lives in the community.

The SIF has enjoyed longstanding collaborations with Calmette Hospital and SingHealth, partnerships which serve our shared vision of building a better world through healthcare training in Asia. Today, we are celebrating the successful closure of the Orthopaedic & Rehabilitation project and strengthening collective efforts across our three organisations by joining hands in a new tripartite cooperation framework – that will pave the way for Cambodian and Singaporean specialists to exchange knowledge and skills to enhance healthcare in Cambodia.

The SIF’s partnership with Calmette Hospital began with the three-year Orthopaedic & Rehabilitation project which originally aimed to train 50 healthcare professionals…but today has successfully enhanced the physiotherapy practice and training capabilities of 558 Cambodian doctors, nurses and physiotherapists from eight organisations. In addition, two training attachments in Singapore allowed eight Cambodian healthcare professionals the opportunity to consolidate their learnings and experience how orthopaedic and rehabilitation knowledge and skills are applied in Singapore hospitals. All of the trainees indicated that they had learned new skills.

The project has brought healthcare professionals – many for the first time – together to take an integrated approach to caring for patients. Physiotherapists and nurses are now more confident to discuss patients’ issues with the doctors and the doctors are more inclusive in recognising them as part of the medical team that provides integrated and quality patient management service.

SingHealth has been a strong partner to SIF. In the last six years alone, more than 200 SingHealth medical professionals have participated in 19 SIF projects spanning seven countries. A wide spectrum of healthcare disciplines has been covered including maternal & child healthcare, emergency care and allied health services. One example of the kind of impact we have seen is the lowering of the infant mortality rate at the Cambodian National Paediatric Hospital from 57 to 30 percent through our Paediatric Intensive Care project concluding in 2007.

The collective impact of both these partnerships has enhanced the quality of thousands of lives and sparked many friendships across borders. The Cambodian master trainers have formed close bonds with the Singaporean specialist volunteers. SIF, Calmette Hospital and SingHealth alike feel that we should not end our collaboration with the project but continue to form closer collaborations and exchanges of ideas and resources for the coming years ahead, through today’s tripartite MOU. We look forward to more specialist collaborations in three areas – Mother & Child Care, Emergency Care and Trauma & Orthopaedic Care.

I would like to thank Calmette Hospital and SingHealth for being ardent supporters of our Singapore International Volunteers programmes over the years. I would especially like to thank Professor Kong Sonya and Professor Chua who worked closely with SIF to make this possible.

Throughout our years of cooperation, we have seen passionate citizen ambassadors rise to the occasion to serve. Associate Professor Celia Tan, Group Director, Allied Health, SingHealth Services, has been leading training projects in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam over the past 10 years. She has garnered the support of many other SingHealth professionals, some of whom are here today. I would like to convey my thanks to these volunteers. In closing, I’d now like to invite you to watch a few highlights from the Orthopaedic & Rehabilitation training project.

With that, we look forward to Calmette Hospital, SIF and SingHealth working together to continue building a better world for tomorrow. Thank you.



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