Government-Subsidised HDB Home Renovations for the Elderly (EASE)

Falls are common causes of elderly injuries at home. You can install special tools and aids around your Housing and Development Board (HDB) apartment to help prevent falls. Under the Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE) programme, the costs of some of the installations will be subsidised by the Government.

The safety aids will enable senior citizens living in HDB apartments in Singapore to move around freely and safely to enable a more independent life.
The safety aids will enable senior citizens living in HDB apartments in Singapore to move around freely and safely to enable a more independent life.

Changes could be simple adjustments or lifestyle changes, or more complicated like the addition of fittings or structural changes.

Simple adjustments could include:

  • Addition of grab bars
  • Use of non-slip mats or application of non-slip treatments on floors of wet and slippery areas, eg bathroom and toilet
  • Removal of rugs and wires on the floor to prevent falls
  • Changing switches to an accessible level, if your care recipient is wheelchair bound
  • Highlighting steps and stairs with fluorescent tape for better visibility at night
  • Relocating your care recipient to a room on the ground floor (if you stay in a multi-storey house)

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Weekend read: The value of the Doctor-Patient relationship

“Tryng to put a value on the doctor-patient relationship” – by Km Tingley in the New York Times (16 May, 2018).

How does one put a value to the traditional doctor-patient relationship in the pursuit of greater efficiency that decouples a patient from a regular family doctor?
How does one put a value to the traditional doctor-patient relationship in the pursuit of greater efficiency that decouples a patient from a regular family doctor?

This long yet engrossing read offers a heartwarming perspective on how a sustained relationship between the patient and his/her primary care doctor can enhance healthcare for the patient and reduce costs to the overall healthcare system.

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World Family Doctor Day 2018 on 19 May

World Family Doctor Day was first declared by the World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA) in 2010. This year’s theme is: “Family doctors – leading the way to better health”.

World Family Doctor Day is known as “519世界家庭醫師日” in Mandarin.
World Family Doctor Day is known as “519世界家庭醫師日” in Mandarin.

The World Family Doctor Day – on 19 May every year – highlights the role and contribution of family doctors in health care systems around the world.

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World Immunization Week 2018: 24 to 30 April – #VaccinesWork

The last week of April each year is marked by WHO and partners as World Immunization Week. It aims to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease. Immunization saves millions of lives and is widely recognized as one of the world’s most successful and cost-effective health interventions. This year’s theme is: “Protected Together, #VaccinesWork”.

WHO’s overarching message for this year’s World Immunization Week is that “We can ensure vaccines reach the people that need them most. We can be protected together.”
WHO’s overarching message for this year’s World Immunization Week is that “We can ensure vaccines reach the people that need them most. We can be protected together.”

Immunisation saves millions of lives and is widely recognised as one of the world’s most successful and cost-effective health interventions.

Yet, there are more than 19 million unvaccinated or under-vaccinated children in the world, putting them at serious risk of these potentially fatal diseases.

Of these children, 1 out of 10 never receive any vaccinations, and most likely has never been seen by the health system.

Immunisation prevents illness, disability and death from vaccine-preventable diseases including cervical cancer, diphtheria, hepatitis B, measles, mumps, pertussis (whooping cough), pneumonia, polio, rotavirus diarrhoea, rubella and tetanus.

The Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP) – endorsed by 194 Member States of the World Health Assembly in May 2012 – aims to prevent millions of deaths from vaccine-preventable diseases by 2020 through universal access to immunisation.

Despite improvements in individual countries and a strong global rate of new vaccine introduction, all of the GVAP targets for disease elimination—including measles, rubella, and maternal and neonatal tetanus—are behind schedule.

In order for everyone, everywhere to survive and thrive, countries must make more concerted efforts to reach GVAP goals by 2020.

Additionally, those countries that have achieved or made forward progress towards achieving the goals must work to sustain those efforts over time – so that no person goes without life-saving vaccines.

Expanding access to immunisation is crucial to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN..

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World Health Day 2018 – Universal Health Coverage: Everyone, Everywhere

Today is World Health Day. It falls on 7 April every year – the purpose is to draw worldwide attention to a subject of major importance to global health each year. In 2018, it is one of 9 official campaigns marked by the World Health Organization (WHO).

At least half of the world’s people is currently unable to obtain essential health services. Almost 100 million people are being pushed into extreme poverty, forced to survive on just US$1.90 or less a day, because they have to pay for health services out of their own pockets.
At least half of the world’s people is currently unable to obtain essential health services. Almost 100 million people are being pushed into extreme poverty, forced to survive on just US$1.90 or less a day, because they have to pay for health services out of their own pockets.

“Health for All” has been the WHO’s guiding vision for seven decades, since the Organization’s Constitution came into force on 7 April 1948.

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Scientists discover new human organ – Interstitium

The Interstitium is found under our skin and between our organs. It contains 20 percent of the fluid volume in our body and may serve as a shock absorber for our body, amongst other functions yet to be discovered. And it could be the mechanism via which cancer spreads, although this would require further research.

Asterisks denote collagen bundles (top left). An arrow points to a cell (top right). Darker blue shows collagen bundles, and light blue reveals what may be elastin (bottom left). Elastin fibers shown in black run along collagen bundles shown in pink (bottom right). Photograph by Neil Theise and David Carr-Locke, Scientific Reports.
Asterisks denote collagen bundles (top left). An arrow points to a cell (top right). Darker blue shows collagen bundles, and light blue reveals what may be elastin (bottom left). Elastin fibers shown in black run along collagen bundles shown in pink (bottom right). Photograph by Neil Theise and David Carr-Locke, Scientific Reports.

A research team from the School of Medicine in New York University published their study that led to the discovery in the journal Scientific Reports.

“What we saw (was) this open fluid-filled space supported by this collagen bundle latticework,” said pathologist and study author Neil Theise, a professor at NYU’s School of Medicine.

They called the new organ “interstitium” – to me it’s rather apt and sounds like the name of some sci-fi movie.

According to the study, the Interstitium is a network of fluid-filled compartments strung together in a mesh of collagen and flexible protein called elastin.

It exists all over our body, under our skin and between our organs.

Before the discovery, scientists thought the layer was just simple dense connective tissue.

The existence of the interstitium has hitherto eluded scientists because of the way tissue is studied – samples are thinly sliced and treated with chemicals that allow researchers to identify key components more easily, before being placed under a microscope.

This process drains fluid from the sample so the compartments collapse, like “a building with the floors suddenly knocked out, leaving the whole structure to flatten like a pancake”.

The discovery of the interstitium was accidental and happened when scientists first noticed the compartments when looking at a bile duct for signs of cancer.

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World Tuberculosis Day 2018 – 24 March: TB today

Today is World TB Day. It falls on 24 March every year – the purpose is to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social and economic impact of tuberculosis (TB) and urge acceleration of efforts to end the global TB epidemic.

TB was one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide in 2016, ranking above HIV and malaria.
TB was one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide in 2016, ranking above HIV and malaria.

One of the targets of WHO’s Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 is to end the global TB epidemic.

Continue reading “World Tuberculosis Day 2018 – 24 March: TB today”