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TIMA Took Up Coordinating Role in Health Screening

Since 2008, Tzu Chi Singapore has worked together with Yuhua Community Club (CC) in organizing free health screening for the public annually. The aim is to raise health awareness and provide tailored screening in order to prevent occurrence of major illnesses. This is the fifth year of such event at Yuhua CC, and the first time the local Tzu Chi International Medical Association (TIMA) has successfully undertaken major coordinating roles. It turned out to be a record-breaking year in terms of the number of recruited volunteers and participants.

Oral checks at the dental consultation area. (Photo: Khor Kim Seng)

This year the event was held on 8 July 2012, which was also the monthly recycling day of Tzu Chi. Due to foreseen shortage of volunteers, Brother Kenny Khoo, who is the volunteer advisor to TIMA Singapore, encouraged the team to take up the responsibility of organizing the event from the initial planning to the final execution.

Despite being the first time, the team has shown much of its potential. For the six hours of health screening from 10am till 4pm, the TIMA team has mobilized a total of 186 medical personnel, including 12 medical students and 50 opticians and students. Others involved were 49 Tzu Chi volunteers and 26 Yuhua CC volunteers. 

"For most of us TIMA members, it is our first time and brand new experience to take up duties which are non-medically related, such as taking charge of beverages, ushering and crowd control. It was slightly chaotic initially but things became smoother as people start to fit in their own roles," said Wang Xiao Na, a TIMA nurse who was one of the event and logistic coordinators. 

In order to get more residents to come for the health screening, Xiao Na and other volunteers had gone door to door promoting the event a week beforehand. She recalled that some residents would happily respond, "Ah! I know about this health screening. I have participated before! Just about time I go again this year for a follow up." Xiao Na also felt assured that through the years of Tzu Chi's involvement and commitment in the community, the health awareness that Tzu Chi is trying to promote is now evident with residents who have never gone for health check-up expressing interests and patiently listened to the volunteers.

The health services provided this year not only involved eye check, western medicine, traditional Chinese medicine, dental service, but also a newly added dietary consultation service. This is to ensure that residents have a good and healthy dietary habit to keep diseases at bay.

Originally from Shandong Province in China, Mr Chen Zhi Gao had come for his health check-up for the second year. The 73-year-old, who visits Singapore every year to help his daughter look after her children, sighed that it is hard to find service attitude like that of Tzu Chi volunteers in society nowadays. Moreover, the health screening is free of charge and is especially helpful to foreign residents who have no income. 

"Last year, Dr Edwin Lim (medical consultant at Tzu Chi Free Health Screening and Medical Clinic) had specially written me a referral letter to take to the Tzu Chi Free Clinic in Redhill for further examination. It was such a good service!" commended Mr Chen.

Having found out that Mr Chen has lost four kilograms in a year, dietitian Kong Hui Ling carefully examined his dietary history and suggested some dietary modifications for him. The warmth and genuine support at the health screening site had obviously moved the senior deeply as he said with moistened eyes, "Everyone here is being treated impartially regardless of race, nationality, religion, and social status.”

Ms Grace Fu Hai Yien, Senior Minister of State at the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts and the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, who is also a Member of Parliament for Yuhua, had also made an appearance that day. She thanked Tzu Chi's commitment and endurance in organizing this event yearly and at the same time commended the nearby Tzu Chi Free Health Screening and Medical Clinic in providing an integrated free healthcare service for all.

Ms Fu added that Yuhua community consists mainly of the elderly and the annual health event can benefit especially those with mobility problems and financial difficulties. "Over the years, Tzu Chi has provided care to many of our residents here. We truly appreciate it and hope that we will continue to work together to bring more service to more residents," said Ms Fu.

A total of 819 residents have benefitted from this year's service, surpassing the number of last year’s beneficiary – a reflection of the growing influence of Tzu Chi's health screening values in the locality. The event also marked the first successful coordinating “assignments” of TIMA Singapore.

“At the moment, we at TIMA has initiated a monthly get-together and begun encouraging our members to participate in Tzu Chi’s community study club. Hopefully that will inspire more of our medical personnel volunteers to undertake more responsibilities and serving more functions in Tzu Chi in the future,” shared TIMA nurse Wang Xiao Na.

On 3 July, the TIMA members went door to door with the Yuhua Community Club members and Tzu Chi volunteers to inform residents about the upcoming health screening.  (Photo: Pua Poo Toong)

As many as 186 medical professionals were on duty that day to support the health screening and consultation service. (Photo: Liang Kah Hoh)

Dietitians are on hand too to advise residents on proper dietary choices. (Photo: Yang Juan)

Optometry students from Singapore Polytechnic lend their hands in conducting vision screening for the residents. (Photo: Pua Poo Toong)

Mr Chen Zhi Gao, who hails from Shandong, China seeking consultation from Dr Lim Chiao Yuen. (Photo: Yang Juan)

A corner dedicated to educating the young and adult on oral protection.(Photo: Leong Li Ling)

Senior Minister of State Grace Fu touring the health screening site with the company of our CEO Mr Low Swee Seh (in tie), medical consultant Dr Edwin Lim (farthest left) and medical mission cadre Tang Boon Chong (in blue uniform). (Photo: Pua Poo Toong)

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