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Dr Leong Yan Hoi, a member of the SDP’s Healthcare Advisory Panel, made several house calls to families in need of medical and financial assistance last week.
Dr Leong’s visits are part of the Singapore Democrats’ on-going programme conducted by the Community Services Subcommittee to reach out to families starting with the Sembawang GRC. The outreach team of SDP members and volunteers has been visiting areas at the Marsiling estate which house lower-income families.
Among the six households that Dr Leong saw was one with a middle-aged Indian lady, Madam Devi (not her real name), who is staying alone. She is a divorcee with a son and is suffering from polio.
Mdm Devi says that she does not qualify for welfare assistance because the polyclinic doctor she consulted refused to certify that she is suffering from the disease. Without the medical certification she is unable to justify her unemployment status and thus qualify for financial aid.
Mdm Devi tells us that she subsists on $200 a month that her son gives her. His monthly pay itself is a meagre few hundreds. Whenever he can, he buys dinner for her.
Dr Leong examined Mdm Devi and confirmed that she is suffering from childhood polio which has impaired her gait. He wrote a memo to the Community Development Council certifying her medical condition so that she can receive some finacial help. He also recommended a lightweight aluminium walking frame for her. The SDP will look to acquiring the apparatus for Mdm Devi.
Other cases that Dr Leong saw was a Malay lady who is afflicted with osteoarthritis in both knees, bilateral cataracts, and hypertension. She needs financial assistance for a cataract operation. Dr Leong has kindly undertaken to provide her with medication for her hypertension and arthritis.
Another resident suffered from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), hypertension, and anxiety disorder. He is unable to afford the drugs required for his COPD and has stopped taking them after the subsidies were withdrawn.
Another family had the father suffering from mental illness while the son had Down’s syndrome and cerebral palsy (with complication of a hole-in-heart operation performed when he was four-years old) with spastic paralysis of the limbs.
The SDP team is also looking to secure funding for a motorized wheelchair estimated at $3,000 for the boy.
All in all the SDP team led by Dr Leong saw six cases and made various diagnosis and recommendations which the Singapore Democrats will follow up on.
We would like to appeal to our fellow citizens and supporters to help in the effort to bring some relief for these Singaporeans who have been neglected under the present system. Please email us at [email protected].
But even as we help the less fortunate, we will continue to fight on the policy front for a more compassionate and egalitarian system. To this end, our Healthcare Advisory Panel continues to work on an alternative healthcare plan that will present in the near future. The overriding purpose if such a plan is to ease the burden of medical costs on Singaporeans. (See also here, here and here)
We continue to strive to be a party not just of thinkers but also doers.
Read also: Public must speak up against commercialisation of healthcare (by Dr Patrick Kee)