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Dr Kalpana, President of Diabetes Singapore

Distinguished Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen

        It is my pleasure to join you this evening under the iconic Singapore Flyer.

2.     2020 has been a tumultuous year, as countries around the world fight to manage the COVID-19 outbreak. This unprecedented crisis has shown us the fragility of life, yet also proved how strong we can be, when we fight together as one nation. 

3.     Tonight, we are highlighting another battle on our hands – our ongoing War on Diabetes, an invisible chronic disease that also requires a strong, concerted and sustained effort. 


4.      Diabetes is a major public health concern, with nearly half a billion people around the world living with the disease. In Singapore, one in three individuals is at risk of developing diabetes in their lifetime. Among those with diabetes, one in three is not aware that they have the disease. If nothing is done, it is estimated that about one million Singaporeans will be living with diabetes by 2050.

5.     The Ministry of Health declared war on Diabetes in 2016 to rally a whole-of-nation effort to tackle diabetes. As part of our strategies, a range of initiatives and activities have been implemented to prevent diabetes through fostering healthy living; encouraging appropriate screening to facilitate early detection and intervention of the condition; and for individuals with diabetes, to enable better disease management. 

6.      To promote healthy living, we have increased the availability and accessibility of healthier options for Singaporeans, as well as provided more support to help Singaporeans adopt a healthy lifestyle. For example, the Health Promotion Board (HPB) works closely with the Ministry of Education and Early Childhood Development Agency to increase the availability of healthier meals in schools to cultivate good healthy eating habits from young. HPB also increased the availability and accessibility of physical activity programmes, such as Sundays at the Park and the Community Physical Activity Programme, to encourage Singaporeans to incorporate physical activity in their lifestyle. 

7.      We have also made screening more affordable and convenient through the Screen for Life programme so that Singaporeans can better monitor and manage their health, and take actions early to seek treatment and prevent the development of further complication. Eligible Singaporeans pay $5 or less for screening of chronic conditions, including diabetes, as well as the first follow-up visit. We are also doing more to support individuals with diabetes in managing their conditions. For instance, MOH is enhancing our primary care capacity and capability to deliver more holistic team-based care to patients with diabetes and other chronic conditions through the Primary Care Networks (PCN). Over 6,000 diabetic patients have benefitted from PCN ancillary services such as diabetic foot and eye screenings since last year. 


8.      We are heartened by the progress that has been achieved so far. This would not have been possible without the help of our stakeholders and community partners such as Diabetes Singapore, who have been engaging our community and raising public awareness of diabetes through initiatives and activities.

9.     I would like to express my thanks to Diabetes Singapore for taking the lead to organise World Diabetes Day events annually. This year’s event is the 30th iteration – a significant milestone that highlights our continuous and dedicated effort to fight against diabetes. I understand that Diabetes Singapore has lined up a series of virtual talks and seminars in the lead up to the World Diabetes Day 2020 event on 15 November, and I strongly encourage everyone, whether you are living with diabetes or know someone with diabetes, to participate to learn more about the disease, how to prevent it and how to support those living with diabetes.

10.     This year, you can also participate in the inaugural edition of the Diabetes Singapore 5K Virtual Run, which will take place between 6 November and 15 November. Organised in conjunction with World Diabetes Day 2020, the virtual run aims to promote physical activity and raise public awareness of the importance of a healthy lifestyle in preventing and controlling diabetes. We hope fellow Singaporeans will take the opportunity to participate and stay active. 


11.     Tonight, the Singapore Flyer will be lit up in a brilliant blue. The blue circle is widely recognised as the global symbol for diabetes awareness and the logo of World Diabetes Day. More importantly, it signifies the unity of the global diabetes community in response to the diabetes epidemic. Against the backdrop of the beautiful Singapore skyline, this blue circle seeks to highlight the importance of diabetes prevention and management, and show support for those living with the disease. To help spread the message on the fight against diabetes, you can also play a part by sharing photos of the Singapore Flyer lit up in blue on social media. 

12.    All of us can contribute to the War on Diabetes. We can encourage one another to make healthier food choices and stay active, and remind our loved ones to go for regular health screening to better monitor their health. As a nation, I believe we can achieve our goal to create a healthier Singapore for all, and to help those with diabetes to manage their condition well.

13.     I wish Diabetes Singapore a successful event. Thank you and I wish everyone good health.

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