SINGAPORE - Minister of Health Gan Kim Yong yesterday paid tribute "to the sweat, the tears and sometimes the blood" that Singapore's pioneer health-care workers had shed.
They worked during a time when clean water, proper sanitation, vaccination against common infectious diseases and good nutrition were the basic needs, he said.
Speaking at a tribute lunch for health-care pioneers, he added: "Many of you may be modest and say, 'No lah, I did not build any hospitals or new nursing homes, I didn't do anything special. I was just doing my job.'
"As we look back over the last five decades, no matter how big or small you think your role has been, the progress and achievement we have today is a result of the dedication and hard work from each one of you."
He was speaking to more than 400 seniors - current and former staff of the Ministry of Health and 10 other agencies - at the Mandarin Orchard event where guests mingled over music and dance performances and a seven-course lunch.
Mr Gan also said that Singapore's health-care system was commended by the president of the World Bank on a recent visit. However, he added that the country is now facing new challenges, such as an ageing population and public health threats like Sars and Ebola.
Mr Gan urged the current generation to be inspired by the pioneers' "dedication, resourcefulness and far-sightedness" and translate that inspiration into action.
"The best way we can thank and honour our pioneers is to do justice to their legacy, to work hard for a future that will be better for our children and their children."
This article was first published on Aug 24, 2014.
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