Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. A very good afternoon to everyone present today at our very first virtual Healthcare Scholarship Award Ceremony. Congratulations to all our 120 scholarship recipients for this year. I must say that I enjoyed the video just now and I am very glad that we managed to conduct the induction programme before the circuit breaker kicked in.
Transforming our Healthcare System to Meet Evolving Needs
2. As we all know, COVID-19 has posed many challenges world-wide, not just to our healthcare system, but also to the economy and jobs. Lives and livelihoods have been put at risk. Singapore has not been spared.
3. Singapore, and the world, will eventually overcome COVID-19 or we shall learn to live with it. But there will be other epidemics and pandemics, big and small. Since SARS in 2003, Singapore has faced the threat of Bird Flu, Swine Flu, MERS, Zika virus, Monkey Pox, just to name a few.
4. A strong healthcare system has always been important. It is even more apparent now. Our investments in our healthcare system has paid off, it has allowed us to protect and care for our patients. But any system is only as good as its people. This is where I am very proud of our healthcare professionals and supporting staff. They stepped up to answer and go beyond the call of duty. They put in long hours and worked extra hard in our fight against COVID-19. Their tenacity, sense of duty and professionalism have been exemplary. To all our scholarship recipients, we welcome you to be a part of this incredible healthcare family.
5. Even in the absence of epidemics and pandemics, a career in healthcare has always been fulfilling and meaningful. With an ageing population and rising chronic disease burden, there will be a lot of challenging work ahead particularly in the community care setting. Hence our efforts to invest in the new Community Care Scholarship (CCS) this year. This recognises the important role that Allied Health Professionals play in strengthening the delivery of care services in the community, and the need to nurture the next generation of leaders who can make a difference in community care. This new scholarship adds to the Community Nursing Scholarship which MOH introduced in 2017. I am pleased to share that this year, we are awarding 11 students with the Community Care Scholarship. I look forward to seeing you contribute to the community in the years to come.
2020 Healthcare Scholars
6. Today, we welcome our 2020 healthcare scholars into the wider healthcare family. Each of you have forged your own path to arrive at where you are today, driven by your personal beliefs and passion. I would like to share a few inspiring stories with the rest of you.
7. Jace Ng, from our inaugural batch of Community Care Scholars, had a job shadowing opportunity in a hospital. She was inspired to observe many patients improving by leaps and bounds under the care and guidance of our healthcare professionals. Jace was assigned to conduct walking exercises with a reluctant elderly patient who suffered an injury due to a fall. After becoming acquainted and learning more about his family and his hobby in cooking, Jace motivated him to follow through with his exercises faithfully so that he could return to cook for his family. His recovery and gratitude for Jace’s support and companionship reaffirmed her passion for the healthcare profession.
8. Another scholar, Raikkonen Puan Hong Liang, comes from a humble background. He wants to pursue nursing as he enjoys helping others and the elderly. Ever since the tender age of 12, Raikkonen would travel alone back and forth to Malaysia to help with his grandmother’s tube feeding and care needs. He also worked part-time to help with the family income while studying. I am sure that Raikkonen will make his family proud. He is one of the 10 Integrated Nursing Scholarship recipients this year, ready to make a difference in the lives of patients by serving with care and dedication.
9. Many of you have not only excelled in your studies, but also demonstrated a strong talent in other areas and served the community in your own way. For example, Mr Geraldo Nick K Kanayalal, one of our Healthcare Merit Award recipients, is a multi-talented individual. Beyond academic excellence, Geraldo is also an accomplished sportsman. He represented his secondary school and junior college in rugby and won many championships. Importantly, he also volunteers regularly for community service initiatives like the Willing Hearts Soup Kitchen and the CDC Silver Homes Programme. Geraldo will be pursing physiotherapy. I believe his exposure on various fronts will put him in good stead to be a compassionate healthcare professional and a great team player.
10. We wish Jace, Raikkonen, Geraldo and all of our scholarship recipients, all the best in your studies and future careers. You will join the ranks of our healthcare warriors. Many of you will become healthcare leaders in the years to come. The road ahead will be an exciting and fulfilling one. May you serve with passion and heart. May you inspire more young Singaporeans to join the healthcare family.
11. Once again, I offer my warmest congratulations to our new scholarship recipients in 2020. Thank you.