Speech By Mr Jaryll Chan, SIF Director Of Programmes Division, At The Leaders’ Dialogue Of The Enhancing Maternal And Child Health Services Project In Chennai, India

Dr K Kolandaiswamy, Director, Directorate of Public Health and Preventive Medicine (DPH),
Dr Darez Ahamed, Mission Director, National Health Mission,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good afternoon and thank you for joining us at the Leaders’ Dialogue of the SIF’s Enhancing Maternal and Child Health Services (EMCH) Programme in Tamil Nadu.

We are honoured by the presence of the Tamil Nadu Minister of Health, Dr C Vijaya Baskar, and notable VIPs (TBD). We are also grateful to the Tamil Nadu Government Multi Super Specialty Hospital for hosting today’s ceremony. We are gathered here today to share the collective experiences and learnings gained from our three-year multidisciplinary healthcare collaboration between the Singapore International Foundation, the Department of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Tamil Nadu, Temasek Foundation International, and Singapore Health Services.

Taking stock, the Enhancing Maternal and Child Health Services (EMCH) Programme has enabled the sharing and exchange of expertise, knowledge and skills between both Singapore and India healthcare professionals in our collective effort to improve care for pregnant mothers and newborn babies. Over the past three years, healthcare professionals from Singapore have worked with their counterparts in three districts in Tamil Nadu – Tiruchirappalli, Kanchipuram, and Pudukkottai – to train more than 1,000 healthcare professionals in government healthcare institutions in Tamil Nadu. 

The knowledge sharing and capacity building has been made possible by our team of Singapore International Volunteers (SIVs) from the leading children’s and women’s hospital in Singapore  Kedang Kerbau Women’s and Children’s Hospital. Through the training workshops, the SIVs worked with their Indian counterparts to better identify and manage high-risk pregnancies. On top of that, the programme has also equipped a select group from the Indian cohorts with the pedagogical skills to transfer the knowledge they had gained to their peers in the healthcare sector. This approach has helped cascade the project’s impact and sustainability, and in the process benefitted more than 100,000 pregnant mothers.

The SIF is proud to have brought together so many Indian and Singaporean professionals and organisations committed to collaborating and sharing to address common societal issues and challenges. This two-way cross-cultural exchange of professional expertise has also provided opportunities to learn and adapt good Maternal and Child Health practices through activities such as this leaders’ dialogue, and study visits to promote professional sharing. We are heartened that the Enhancing Maternal and Child Health Services (EMCH) Programme has played a part in augmenting the government’s efforts to tackle preventable causes of both infant and maternal deaths and ensure safer pregnancies for more women.

An undertaking of this scale would not be possible without the support of many parties. Our heartfelt thanks goes to our partners – the Government of Tamil Nadu, the Department of Health & Family Welfare, SingHealth, Temasek Foundation International, and KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital – who have provided talent or treasure to enable the programme. Thank you for helping make this world a better place.

The SIF seeks to build a better world by bringing global communities together to promote greater international understanding and development. Our friendship with India is a longstanding one – 23 years to be exact. From the states of Maharashtra to New Delhi to Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, the SIF has worked with institutional and individual partners from the government, corporate and non-government sectors. Our work, be it in education, healthcare, arts, environment or livelihood, have connected communities and enable collaborations to effect positive change.

This event might mark the closure of three years of collaboration between our healthcare professionals in both our countries, but the connections that have been forged will continue to flourish. We look forward to an enduring friendship between our people, institutions, and countries for a better world.



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