Students' Take: Community Health Screening for Singapore completed for 2019

LKCares continues to fulfil its mission of emphasising health over healthcare in the district of Whampoa. 

by Brjan Kaiji Betzler, Class of 2023, Director, LKCares Health Screening Committee 2019

LKCares Health Screening was initiated in 2017 by a small committee of like-minded medical students. In collaboration with the National Healthcare Group (NHG), and People’s Association (Community Clubs), it aims to provide a pivotal avenue of preventive medicine to the general public. This initiative also aims to cement the reputation of LKCMedicine as a dynamic and caring medical institution, emphasising health over healthcare among our fellow Singaporeans. 

The Whampoa Health Screening is the 4th edition by LKCares – the second screening of 2019, after the Ci Yuan Health Screening, which was held in March this year. Residents started queueing before the Health Screening opened its doors at 8am. We are proud to announce that in total, an estimated 450 residents were screened for chronic and functional illnesses in 2019.

As a fledging health-screening project, LKCares seeks to provide a holistic health screening for Singaporeans above 40 years of age. Throughout all four of our past editions, we have witnessed a large proportion of elderly in our screening populace. Many reside in government-subsidised one-room HDB flats, and may not have access to or the convenience of heading to clinic-run health screenings. More than 100 volunteers, including students from LKCMedicine and clinicians from NHG, descended upon Whampoa Community Club (CC) to provide functional, physical and mental health screening to the residents. 

After registering with us, residents had their blood pressure (BP) and Body Mass Index (BMI) taken. Year 2 volunteers, who have been trained in these clinical procedures, were in charge of these stations. Next, their blood samples were taken by senior nursing staff from Khoo Teck Puat Hospital. 

Residents were then treated to a round of refreshments, provided by Whampoa CC. They then proceeded with more elderly-centric screenings introduced by LKCMedicine students. This comprised: fall-risk assessment; incontinence questionnaires; Snellen Eye Test; Amsler Grid for Macular Degeneration; free colorectal cancer screening kits; pre-registration for subsidised pap smear and mammogram, sponsored by the Singapore Cancer Society; and the EBAS depression questionnaire to detect possible mood disturbances.

Post-screening, residents received limited edition LKCares goodie bags containing healthy food items, to encourage them to continue leading an active and healthy lifestyle. Residents who screened positive for any test were provided with a sealed envelope containing their screening results. They were then advised to bring the envelope to their primary care physician for follow-up. Those who had their blood drawn would be able to collect their results at partner clinics. In collaboration with these clinics, their first consultation fee would also be waived!

Future Plans
At LKCares, we pride ourselves on having a heart for each and every resident we serve. Since we started in 2017, we have made advances in our services – establishing our screening modalities while targeting an all-rounded coverage, partnering established health organisations and clinics for a more holistic follow-up, and laying foundations for our upcoming health education programmes and exhibitions.

Moving forward, LKCares aspires to partner healthcare professionals and students in the nursing and allied health sectors, bringing their expertise closer to the residents of Singapore. Volunteers from partner organisations will enable an expansion of our screening modalities, in order to better serve the holistic well-being of our participants.

Furthermore, the LKCares committee is looking to develop a more robust follow-up programme. We are also eager to forge closer ties with established healthcare organisations, to further improve our residents’ experiences through enhanced post-screening follow-up procedures.

LKCares Health Screening Committee would like to thank our project mentors Vice-Dean for Clinical Affairs Professor Pang Weng Sun and Assistant Dean for Year 4 Associate Professor Wong Teck Yee for their continuous guidance, support, and patience. We would also like to thank our partners from the National Healthcare Group, Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, and Singapore Cancer Society for their collaboration with us in bringing healthcare to the greater community. Last but definitely not least, our screening, education and follow-up efforts are made possible by fellow student volunteers. We hope to continue providing a platform for service in line with our School’s mission: To train the doctors you and I would like to have caring for us.