14 August 2020, Singapore - As of 11th August 2020, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has successfully cleared all dormitories nationwide. To continue ensuring that the dormitories remain well supported with medical services to prevent and manage any future outbreaks, ASPRI’s Government Advocacy Work Group worked together with the Ministry of Health (MOH) and MOM to organise a Zoom webinar to share on MOH’s medium-term medical support plans for migrant workers. The session was attended by around 90 members.
Mr Melvin Tan, Vice-President of ASPRI’s 13th Executive Council and Lead of ASPRI’s Government Advocacy Work Group highlighted the importance of preparedness in his opening address. He said that the nation, collectively, should always be ready in case of another wave of outbreak, emphasising the importance of medical support for workers that are currently residing in dormitories.
Dr Lam Meng Chon, Director (Medical) of MOM, began his presentation by explaining the need for a transitionary medical support plan. It is to ensure workers continue to get necessary medical support and press on with active public health surveillance to detect and manage new or potential COVID-19 clusters as early as possible.
In his sharing, Dr Lam revealed that the medical support plan consists of two facets – one that is funded by the Government and one that is not. The Government-funded aspect consists of a three-pronged medical initiative. Firstly, workers would receive baseline and after-hours telemedicine support in the form of the FWMOMCare mobile app. Next, medical centres would be introduced in dormitories. For a start, an onsite medical centre would be integrated in each of the five largest Purpose-Built Dormitories (PBDs) to provide medical care for workers. Lastly, mobile clinical teams would be activated by the Government in the event of emerging clusters, as part of the response against public health threats.
The non-Government-funded aspect of the plan pertains to medical treatments. Employers would be allowed to bring their employers who are residing in the community to General Practitioner (GP) clinics, Public Health Preparedness Clinics (PHPCs) or Polyclinics for medical attention, at their own expense. Dr Lam added that the Government is deliberating to allow employers whose workers reside in dormitories in Eastern Singapore to also bring their workers to designated GP clinics. This would be confirmed in the near future. Dr Lam commented on the importance for workers to seek medical attention at GP clinics or PHPCs, as alternatives to Government-funded channels. This is to press on with active public health surveillance.
Following Dr Lam’s presentation, members got the opportunity to clarify their doubts and seek the insights of an industry expert regarding COVID-19. The engaging Q&A segment saw over 20 questions addressed by Dr Lam. The webinar then came to a close with a cheery photo-taking session with everyone smiling radiantly.
For clarification, members can refer to the Frequently Asked Questions derived from the webinar.