Neighbourhood Health Service 2015


That warm and fuzzy feeling you get when you feel appreciated for helping someone out. It's incredible. :')

Dilys and I can totally start advertising for NHS. 

Despite leaving the house before the sun was up, trudging around Marine Terrace with heavy bags (containing check up equipment) in tow, and literally getting baked under the scorching sun, the smiles on the residents' faces made everything worthwhile. 

I know it gets cliched whenever people start throwing around phrases like "give back to the community" or "yay for altruism", but honestly, nothing can express it better than first hand experience.

What we are doing may not seem much to an average Singaporean who has easy access to health checkups, but what about financially disadvantaged groups who cannot afford the time or money for a simple checkup or the mobile-compromised elderly? 

Last year, I had the opportunity to participate in Public Health Screening as a volunteer. This year, I decided to give NHS a shot. And I'm glad I did. 

It was a humbling experience. In my opinion, NHS has a more "personal" feel to it, where residents can share with us their life stories while we conduct health check-ups, whereas PHS simply felt like a factory process. Sure, you get to meet ten times the number of people for PHS than NHS, but you don't feel the connection. You won't have the time to pause and understand the residents' concerns. You won't get to learn more about them as a person. 

Door-to-door screenings was the main concept behind NHS. 

My team comprised of amazingly fun and professional nursing and social work students. Dilys crashed our team for our last visit. :)

Before we started on our rounds, we even managed to catch a photo opportunity with ESM Goh Chok Tong as he went around his GE2015 walkabout!

Although we were greeted by some closed doors and outright rejections, every time a resident agrees to our free health checkup, and thank us afterwards, it makes my day. 

Checking height and weight, blood pressure, blood glucose, and taking a basic medical history sound insignificant, but they actually make a difference in the lives of the residents. For example, I managed to detect hyperglycaemia in an elderly gentleman today, and told him to get his blood glucose checked again on his followup visit to his doctor. Based on his displayed symptoms, it's highly likely that he is a diabetic, just that he doesn't know about it. 

We even had free FOBT kits (for colorectal cancer screening) and phlebotomy offered. 

Listening to the residents' talk about the difficulties that they faced and witnessing their living conditions in tiny rental flats made me aware of how privileged and sheltered I am. On the ground, life is so much more real, tough and cold. 

I'm heartened to see their tenacity and optimism in the face of adversity, and I'm glad that I'm helping them, however little the act may seem. Their genuine smiles full of gratitude at the end of each screening made me feel a sense of worth. Finally, I'm not a useless medical student who solely memorises theoretical knowledge! I'm actually doing something tangible to benefit others!

Step with steths.

NHS reminded me of the reasons as to why I decided to pursue Medicine. I'm feeling so much more motivated and ready to tackle M2 life!

Models? Med students? Model students? HAHAHA. 

After so long, Dilys and I finally managed to get a proper counsellor-counsellee photo! :)

What I've learnt from today? NHS is awesome. Go for it!

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