Singapore and China Join Hands to Address Shared Challenge in Palliative Care

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

The partnership kicked off at the NKH with a province-wide symposium that brought together key players in the healthcare sector from China and Singapore to discuss the way forward on palliative care.

Worldwide, only about 14% of people in need of palliative care currently receive treatment. This number is expected to grow as a result of the rising burden of noncommunicable diseases and ageing populations, according to the World Health Organization.

Recognising this shared challenge, Singapore and China have come together to launch the Enhancing Palliative Care in Yunnan, China Project on 7 January 2019.

Led by the Singapore International Foundation (SIF), the cross-border healthcare training programme is strongly supported by the Yunnan New Kunhua Hospital (NKH), the Yunnan Health and Development Research Association (YHDRA), as well as Singapore’s Tan Tock Seng hospital (TTSH).

Over the next three years, the Singaporean and Chinese teams will collectively work towards uplifting standards of palliative care education and clinical practice in Yunnan through a training-of-trainers approach, to benefit an estimated 36,000 end-of-life patients and caregivers in the province.

This new partnership rides on the success of the SIF’s first volunteer cooperation programme in China that concluded in June 2018 – the Enhancing Healthcare Services for an Ageing Population Project in Yunnan.

Shared YHDRA’s Director of Experts Panel, Professor Zhang Kai Ning, a key driver of both collaborations, “In addition to enhancing patient care, our last programme provided a platform for Chinese and Singapore healthcare communities to strengthen ties, both professionally and personally. I’m heartened to see another group of dedicated Singaporean specialist volunteers stepping forward to share their best practices with our Chinese healthcare professionals, and look forward to another fruitful partnership.”

YHDRA’s Director of Experts Panel, Professor Zhang Kai Ning (left) exchanges insights with Dr Wu Huei Yaw, SIV Team Leader and Senior Consultant at the Department of Palliative Medicine, TTSH.

Dr Wu Huei Yaw, Singapore International Volunteer (SIV) Team Leader and Senior Consultant at the Department of Palliative Medicine, TTSH, added, “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.”

From 2019 to 2021, the project will facilitate the exchange of knowledge and resources between both countries and communities through a series of training workshops, province-wide symposiums and a study visit to Singapore.

SIV from TTSH (in orange) shares practical tips with Chinese master trainers during a workshop.

Singapore and China have enjoyed long-standing and warm bilateral relations for almost 30 years. The Enhancing Palliative Care in Yunnan, China project is another initiative that builds upon the many co-operative projects in areas of common interest and importance for both countries.

“Indeed, when friends come together to collaborate and collectively solve common societal issues, the possibilities are endless,” shared SIF Governor Mr David Chong.

“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.”

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