SINGAPORE - The world's largest health-care training facility housing laboratories and conference facilities under one roof has opened officially in Singapore.
Academia, a 13-storey, $360 million building with a total floor area of 75,000 sq m, is based at the Singapore General Hospital's campus in Outram.
It houses laboratories, mock wards, conference facilities and offices. Among its fields of research will be how to prevent a dengue infection from taking a turn for the worse and killing hospital superbugs before they develop resistance.
President Tony Tan Keng, who unveiled the facility, observed that the building was initially conceived as a new home for the hospital's Department of Pathology.
"Today it has evolved to become a hub for diagnostic, education and research endeavours, and to serve as an incubator for biomedical breakthroughs and care innovations," he said.
Professor Ivy Ng, group chief executive officer of SingHealth, said Academia's unique design promotes closer collaboration between different quarters, resulting in more benefits for patients.
"The close proximity of research facilities to the clinical care areas has been shown to significantly improve the output of clinically impactful projects," she said.
One of Academia's twin towers will house pathology laboratories, which will be twice the size of previous ones. Last year, its laboratories carried out more than 11 million investigations into patients' ailments in cramped conditions.
The extra space will allow blood samples to be sent to the lab for testing within minutes so that potentially lifesaving diagnoses can be made earlier. The other tower will house educational and research facilities over 10 floors.
The new building has already attracted international attention.
Saturday's opening ceremony was held in conjunction with the 19th Asian Congress of Surgery. This is the first time that its lectures, symposiums and surgical training workshops have been held in the same place.
With live-streaming technology, those in the conference hall can be kept in the loop of what is happening in the training laboratories or mock operating theatres.
Prof Ng said: "Such facilities will place us in a stronger position to bring better outcomes and higher standards of care to our patients."
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