Bukit Batok East residents warm up to health drive

Bukit Batok East residents warm up to health drive
Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob at the Mega Community Health Carnival held at the Bukit Batok East Community Club yesterday.

RESIDENTS in Bukit Batok East are paying more attention to their health after a programme was launched in April featuring regular health checks and talks for the public.

The constituency is now looking at expanding the Healthy For Life programme to help more residents stay active and well, said Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob, who is a grassroots adviser in Bukit Batok East.

Attendance at community health talks has shot up from an average of fewer than 20 people to about 60, and the sessions are now being held monthly rather than quarterly, said Madam Halimah.

The talks are also attracting more elderly people with sessions in Mandarin and Malay, she added. About one in three residents out of the 62,000 residents there is over the age of 50.

Bukit Batok East is one of the five divisions under the Jurong GRC.

"We find that when we organise the talks in their language, we see the numbers go up," Madam Halimah said.

She was speaking to reporters yesterday at the Mega Community Health Carnival held at the Bukit Batok East Community Club. It was organised by Bukit Batok East grassroots organisations in conjunction with JurongHealth, which runs hospitals in the Jurong area.

Plans are in the works to make the carnival a yearly affair, said Madam Halimah. Community partners such as JurongHealth, Thye Hua Kwan, the Singapore Association for Mental Health and Sun Love Home have indicated a five-year commitment to programmes in Bukit Batok East.

To ensure that residents keep up the habits of healthy living, the constituency will work with Jurong- Health to develop a tracking system to survey residents' lifestyles.

The constituency also wants to work with the 700-bed Ng Teng Fong General Hospital when it opens next year, so that volunteers and community organisations can monitor the recovery of elderly Bukit Batok East residents after they are discharged.

Those who need to return for tests and follow-ups can be actively encouraged to do so. "The most important thing is that this is not just a one-off," Madam Halimah said.

Among the 1,000 residents who attended the carnival yesterday were housewife Hoe Geok Huay, 71, and her lorry-driver husband Tan Hai Choi, 77. Madam Hoe said she welcomed the health fair as a full checkup would otherwise cost too much.

"I've been exercising more regularly these few months as there are now more activities being organised," said Madam Hoe, who joins Sunday brisk walks and aerobic and taiji classes organised by the residents' committee.

"After visiting friends in hospital and seeing how much pain they suffer, I want to stay as healthy as I can," she added.

yanliang@sph.com.sg


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