By Low Wei Yang, Class of 2022, Chairperson of LKCares Health Screening committee 2018
Seventy-eight-year-old Mdm Chen chuckled as she handed in her registration form and hobbled away, a gleaming kaya bun in one hand and a canvas bag full of groceries in another. As a resident staying in the vicinity, she was among the over 330 Singaporeans who turned up for the Teck Ghee Health Screening, a two-day event held at Teck Ghee Community Club (CC) on 6 – 7 October.
Initiated in 2017, the LKCares Health Screening is a local health screening project by LKCMedicine students, National Healthcare Group (NHG), and People’s Association (Community Clubs). In line with the Health Promotion Board’s “Screen for Life” programme, the LKCares Health Screening aims to provide a pivotal avenue of preventive medicine to the general public. Residents started queueing before the Health Screening opened its doors at 8am.
Residents started queueing before the start time of 8am
The Teck Ghee Health Screening is the second edition by LKCares – the first was at Pek Kio Community Centre in March this year, where an estimated 300 residents were screened for chronic illnesses. This initiative aims to cement the reputation of LKCMedicine as a dynamic and caring institution, and through this initiative, emphasising health over healthcare among the general public.
LKCares managed to screen many elderly, who may not have access to or the convenience of heading to clinic-run health screenings. A proportion of them stay in government subsidised one-room HDB flats. More than 140 volunteers, including grassroots activists, students from LKCMedicine and clinicians from NHG, helped out in the weekend event, which provides functional, physical and mental health screening. Having sought advice from project mentors, LKCares also included new screening modalities such as the Snellen Eye Test and the Amsler Grid for Macular Degeneration. Student volunteers had underwent special training by optometrists from Khoo Teck Puat Hospital’s Eye Clinic.
Under the guidance of Prof Pang Wen Sun, the Snellen Eye Test and the Amsler Grid for Macular Degeneration were added to this LKCares Health Screening
During the screening, residents had their blood pressure, height and weight taken. Their fasting blood was taken by senior nursing staff from Khoo Teck Puat Hospital. They were provided refreshments by the CC, before proceeding with more elderly-centric screenings introduced by LKCMedicine students. This comprised fall risk assessment, where the elderly were assessed on their speed and stability for walking a distance; incontinence questionnaire to detect issues with urination; 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 depression questionnaire to detect possible mood disturbances
Chim Jia Xin, a Year 2 medical student who managed the pap smear and mammogram station, said, “It was heartwarming to talk to the elderly and gain new perspectives from them, understanding why they would be deterred from undergoing checkups.” Ng Jing Chun, another Year 2 medical student who was the student in-charge of mental health was proud of the student volunteers. “Over the two days, we discovered nine at-risk cases and five were referred to Ang Mo Kio Family Service Centre for counselling. The volunteers worked really hard, helping manage their health better.”
Student volunteers helped to take the blood pressure of residents with electronic BP machines
Participants who screened positive were given a sealed envelope with screening results, which they were advised to bring to their primary care physician for follow-up. Post-screening, participants received limited edition LKCares goodie bags containing healthy food items to encourage them to continue leading an active lifestyle.
As screening results are collated and demographics analysed, LKCares plans to expand its outreach and increase the efficacy of screening modalities. This will be done by working closely with mentors and partner organisations, in our strive towards a comprehensive and beneficial screening for Singaporeans.
There are numerous possibilities for LKCares in the foreseeable future. Undoubtedly, opportunities for growth and development will be explored by subsequent committees of LKCMedicine students who take over the project. The current committee plans to expand our reach to more communities across Singapore. In the long run, we will also follow-up on communities to ensure longstanding support for the residents.
Participants were given a limited edition LKCares goodie bag upon completion of the screening, to encourage them to eat healthily and lead an active lifestyle. Items within the goodie bag included: BRAND’S Chicken Essence, Mr Bean vouchers, ‘Healthier Choice’ unpolished rice, and NuFresh antibacterial wet wipes
The LKCares committee would like to thank our project mentors Professor Pang Weng Sun and Associate Professor Wong Teck Yee for providing us with guidance and support throughout the planning phases of our project. We would also like to thank staff from the National Healthcare Group, Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, Singapore Cancer Society and the Institute of Mental Health for equipping us with relevant skills and materials in this community service – one of the many experiences which will shape us and train us, along the path to become better doctors.
Group photo taken on Day 1 of screening. A/Prof Wong Teck Yee provided supervision and guidance for our volunteers