Speech by SIF Governor Mr David Chong at the Launch of the “Enhancing Palliative Care In Yunnan, China” Project

Qi Xin Jie, Division Chief, National Health Commission, Elderly Health Services,
Yong Meng Kun, Division Chief, Yunnan Health Commission, International Relations,
Li Jin, Division Chief, Kunming Health and Family Planning Commission, International Relations,
Li Wu Hui, Division Chief, Kunming Health and Family Planning Commission, Science and Education,
Wang Jia Xin, Division Chief, General Affairs, Yunnan Provincial Office for the Elderly,
Yang Jun, Party Secretary cum Chairman, Yunnan Kun Hua Hospital Investment Management Co., Ltd. (New Kun Hua Hospital),
Tang Jian Zhong, President, Yunnan New Kun Hua Hospital,
Song Yun Zhu, Vice-President, Yunnan New Kun Hua Hospital,
Ma Ke, Head, Palliative Care, Yunnan New Kun Hua Hospital,
Zhang Kai Ning, Director of Experts Panel, Yunnan Health and Development Research Association,
Chua Teng Hoe, Consul-General, Consulate-General of the Republic of Singapore in Guangzhou,

Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good morning. It is wonderful to be here, on the first Monday of a brand, new year. So, allow me to wish all of you good health and happiness in 2019. Thank you for joining us today as we mark the start of another healthcare cooperation project between China and Singapore with the launch of the Singapore International Foundation’s (SIF) Enhancing Palliative Care Project in Yunnan.

With a rapidly ageing population and rise in the number of patients with terminal illness in Yunnan, there has been a corresponding increase in demand for end-of-life care. This is a daunting challenge faced by both Singapore and China – a challenge we can come together to address.  The Chinese have a saying, 集思广益,群策群力The SIF strongly believes that when friends come together to discuss, collaborate and collectively solve common societal issues, the possibilities are endless.

This joint Enhancing Palliative Care Project will promote learning and exchange between Singaporean and Chinese healthcare communities in providing quality care for terminal patients in Yunnan. Over the next three years, the SIF, together with the Yunnan New Kunhua Hospital (NKH), the Yunnan Health and Development Research Association (YHDRA), as well as Singapore’s Tan Tock Seng hospital (TTSH) will collectively work towards uplifting standards of palliative care education and clinical practice in Yunnan.

The project will be led by a team of Singapore medical volunteers from the TTSH, who will upskill a core group of 50 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. Through this training-of-trainers approach, Chinese master trainers will be equipped with the technical expertise and teaching skills to cascade their newly gained knowledge and learnings to their local peers and colleagues. This will in turn build up the professional capacity of the wider healthcare community in Yunnan, ensuring the project’s sustainability.

With so many Chinese and Singaporean professionals and organisations here today ready and willing to share their expertise, the SIF is hopeful that in three years, this project will benefit an estimated 36,000 patients and caregivers.

Singapore and China have enjoyed long-standing and warm bilateral relations for almost 30 years. Since 1993, the SIF is humbled and honoured to have contributed to this at the people-to-people level, through business exchanges with working professionals; volunteer cooperation projects in healthcare in Xiamen and Yunnan; and through collaborations in the arts.  Such international cooperation projects have allowed our communities to work together to address shared challenges, while fostering greater inter-cultural understanding.

The Enhancing Palliative Care Project rides on the success of the SIF’s first volunteer cooperation programme in China that recently concluded in June 2018 – the Enhancing Healthcare Services for an Ageing Population Project in Yunnan. I believe that today’s launch will pave the way for even more collaborations between Singapore and China, fostering stronger ties between our people. The SIF’s work, be it in healthcare, business, or the arts, seeks to bring people together to share ideas, skills and resources to uplift lives and effect positive change.

For their strong and enduring support, I must thank the NKH and the YHDRA. It is a privilege to find like-minded partners who share the same passion to collaborate and achieve common goals, contributing to a better world. I would also like to extend my heartfelt appreciation to our dedicated Singapore specialist volunteers from the TTSH. To the Chinese master trainers, I urge you to help us sustain the good work beyond this programme.

In closing, we are glad to usher in the new year with such an important project, and we look forward to the many more positive changes and friendships that will spring from this partnership between our two countries.  Thank you and have a successful symposium ahead.



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