On 13 and 14 October, about 680 volunteers and staff from secondary and tertiary institutions, hospitals and healthcare organisations offered free comprehensive health screening and education for residents in Jurong as part of the Public Health Service (PHS), which was initiated by a dedicated group of students from NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine (NUS Medicine). Now in its 13th year, PHS saw an expansion of its reach to Singaporeans of all ages and included new initiatives such as complete functional screening as well as a one-day fitness carnival.
PHS aims to promote good community health through preventive measures and educate members of the public about the need for, and ways of, taking care of one’s health. The undertaking has grown in scope over the years and has benefitted more than 18,000 residents in Toa Payoh, Clementi and Jurong.
Professor Lim Pin, NUS University Professor and former NUS Vice Chancellor graced the opening ceremony on 13 October as Guest-of-Honour. “As a teacher of medicine in NUS, I am particularly proud and very happy to note our students’ enthusiastic outreach to serve the community. I strongly believe this is indeed an important component and integral part of the students’ medical training and education, aimed at producing well-rounded socially conscious and deeply humane doctors,” he said.
This year’s edition of PHS saw a number of firsts, among them a collaboration with the Health Promotion Board and Agency for Integrated Care to provide a complete spectrum of functional screening, comprising visual acuity screening, oral health screening and hearing screening for seniors aged 60 and above. A stronger emphasis was also placed on health education this year, with PHS student volunteers going on an expanded door-to-door outreach encompassing more than 30,000 households in Yuhua, Jurong Central and Bukit Batok, informing residents of the annual screening event as well as educating them on healthy living.
The event also saw the inaugural Health Carnival, helmed by junior college and secondary students who had been mentored by PHS as part of its Young Health Ambassadors’ Programme. The carnival featured interactive booths for screening participants and members of the public and pledge boards for them to share their thoughts and resolutions.
This year’s edition included robust follow-up for participants suffering from urinary incontinence as well — a first in the history of PHS.
“This year, PHS is increasing our focus on disease prevention in an effort to help our participants and the general public make simple lifestyle modifications to reduce their risk of chronic diseases,” said Ryan Lim, PHS 2018 Co-Director and Year 3 NUS Medicine student.
Associate Professor Lau Tang Ching, Vice-Dean for Education at NUS Medicine said that PHS is an excellent student-led community health screening, education and service experiential learning initiative. “I am glad to see strong inter-professional collaboration and learning among students from various healthcare professions during the planning and execution of the event. The greater emphasis on patient education and empowerment with the involvement of the Young Health Ambassadors’ Programme is also a strategic move, as prevention and early detection of chronic illness, coupled with good follow-up care and healthy lifestyle changes are the three keys to moving beyond healthcare to health,” he added.