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SCM Insider: 2 Co-ops collaborate to organise S'pore’s Silver Population and Healthier SG Conference
2024-07-08 01:51:00

SCM Insider: 2 Co-ops collaborate to organise S'pore’s Silver Population and Healthier SG Conference

SCM Insider spotlights stories of the collaborative efforts of Singaporean co-operatives. Here’s a special between Silver Caregivers Co-operative and GP+ Co-operative. 

Silver Caregivers Co-operative, GP+ Co-operative, Mr Eric Chua

Prof Kalyani Mehta, Mr Eric Chua, Dr Lee Yik Voon, Dr Rinkoo Ghosh and Dr Lee Kheng Hock (from left to right) taking a group photo after the plenary session. Image credit: SCCL.

On January 13, GP+ Co-operative and Silver Caregivers Co-operative organised the inaugural cross-co-operative conference targeted at caregivers and healthcare practitioners. Themed Charting the Path to Wellness, the conference featured professionals talking about pertinent topics in the healthcare community relating to caregiving and the Healthier SG national initiative by the Ministry of Health (MOH).

Professor Kalyani Mehta, Chairperson of Silver Caregivers Co-operative, emphasised the integral relationship needed between health and social sectors so that quality care can be provided to seniors. “The well-being of seniors is very closely connected with the well-being of their respective caregivers. So, in the process of implementing Healthier SG, family caregivers must be involved actively,” she added, acknowledging how family physicians play an even more important role today.

Chairperson for GP+ Co-operative Dr Lee Yik Voon highlighted how social prescribing can be used to streamline healthcare between patients, especially seniors. Social prescribing is an approach that connects vulnerable and at-risk individuals to local community support. Caregivers, general practitioners and family physicians will thus have to play an even more collaborative role to do so.

He said: “As we explore how activities, community engagement, and social connections can be integral components of healthcare, we aim to lay the foundation for a healthier and more compassionate society.”

Mr Eric Chua, Guest of Honour, speaking at the Silver Population and Healthier SG Conference 

Senior Parliament Secretary for Family and Social Development Eric Chua, who was present, shared how the multisectoral and multidisciplinary nature of the conference brought together diverse stakeholders to understand challenges and develop solutions for supporting seniors in Singapore. The importance of tackling these multi-dimensional issues faced by ageing families, he posited, will require the support of different stakeholders, who will further complement the efforts and commitment doled out by the government, including Age Well SG and caregiving grants.

Dr. Leong Choon Kit, Advisor to GP+ Co-operative and the Chairman of Primary Care Network (PCN) Council, initiated the plenary session by speaking about and emphasising the significance of Singapore’s Healthier SG initiative. He highlighted the transformative impact of this initiative on the healthcare system, being “the beginning of the end of the public vs private healthcare divide” and how it improved the “seamlessness between primary, secondary and tertiary care with a focus on immediate and long-term care.” Additionally, he underscored the vital role of social support outside of traditional medical contexts, tying neatly with Healthier SG’s emphasis on active aging and integrated healthcare approaches.

In closing, the conference emphasised the importance of fostering collaboration among multidisciplinary professionals and the public to address complex healthcare challenges facing Singapore. The conference also would not have been possible without the generosity of sponsors, some of whom are fellow co-operators lending their support like Seacare Co-operative and Singapore Teachers’ Co-operative Society. Such conferences serve as a platform for open dialogue and knowledge exchange, paving the way for future discussions between co-ops and aimed at community centred challenges. 

By Tanya Ee, Edited by Sng Ler Jun

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SNCF is the apex body of Singapore’s Co-operative Movement, and secretariat of the Central Co-operative Fund (CCF). Formed in 1980 with the aim of championing Singapore’s Co-operative Movement, the apex body represents majority of co-operative members in Singapore through its affiliated co-operatives.