Mobile clinics to roll into opposition wards

Photo: ST

Residents of Aljunied and Hougang constituencies will get to go for health screenings at carparks near their homes.

The People's Association (PA) grassroots bodies in the opposition-held wards have raised about $600,000 to buy two medium-sized Mercedes-Benz buses which will be converted into mobile clinics.

To ply both wards in the next 18 months, the buses will be staffed by volunteer doctors and nurses. The service will roll out from next week.

The mobile service would "bring health education and services to the doorsteps of residents", said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong yesterday, when he launched the service at the Serangoon Community Club.

It is expected to conduct full health checks for 800 seniors, give vaccinations to 2,000 and teach another 10,000 how to take care of their health, Mr Gan added.

Serangoon Citizens' Consultative Committee chairman Chan Hui Yuh said the service would be a throwback to the kampung days, when mobile clinics were used to travel to villages to offer medical services.

Ms Chan, one of the grassroots leaders behind the project, is also chairman of the People's Action Party branch in Serangoon, one of five divisions in Aljunied that fell to the Workers' Party in the 2011 General Election.

Brushing off suggestions that the health service was launched in the opposition-held wards to win over voters, Mr Gan said on the sidelines of the launch: "That was not a consideration. The main consideration was that this is a ground-up initiative. There are many other initiatives at other wards as well."

The Straits Times understands the PAP Community Foundation donated about two-thirds of the $600,000 raised by the PA grassroots leaders to launch the service.

The health screening services will be conducted by volunteer doctors and nurses from healthcare cooperative The Good Life. Its chairman Carol Tan said she had no issues working with the PA grassroots bodies in Aljunied and Hougang.

"(The provision of) health (services) is above political affiliation," she said. "Aljunied raised the money very fast, so they walk the talk."

"We work with anyone who approaches us," said the geriatrician who runs a private practice at Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre. "We started at Marine Parade this year and Dr Amy Khor has also asked me to extend the services to her (Hong Kah North) constituency."

The cooperative charges $99 for a basic health screening package that covers ailments such as knee pain, poor eyesight and hearing.

One of the residents looking forward to the service is retired kitchen worker Teo Kin Nang, 70.

"It is more convenient," said the Serangoon resident. "I don't have any major health problems, but it is always good to undergo health checks regularly."

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