Speech by President Halimah Yacob at Stroke Support Station (S3) Charity Gala Dinner

Mrs Teo Poh Yim,

Chairman of Stroke Support Station (S3)

Mr Heng Swee Keat,

Minister of Finance

Mr Ng Chee Meng,

Minster in the Prime Minister’s Office

Mr Desmond Lee,

Minister for Social & Family Development and Second Minister for National Development

Dr Lam Pin Min,

Senior Minister of State for Transport and Health

Mr Chee Hong Tat,

Senior Minister of State for Trade & Industry and Education

Distinguished guests

I am happy to be here this evening to support stroke survivors and caregivers in the S3 fund raising event.

Singapore sees about 8,000 cases of stroke each year. As our population ages, this number is likely to increase. Over the years, through my interactions with stroke survivors and their caregivers, I have a better understanding of the challenges they face. It is always very trying for family members when their loved ones suffer a stroke. Overwhelmed from the sudden changes in lifestyle, it is important that these family members receive both moral and physical support, as they help their loved ones regain their functions, boost their self-confidence and re-integrate back to their daily lives and with the community.

After two years of operation, the S3 programme is well-received by stroke survivors and their caregivers. S3 provides survivors and caregivers with holistic support including socio-emotional and psychological support through counselling sessions, as well as caregivers’ wellness programmes. Social events are also 2

regularly organised to build up a strong support network within the community of S3 members, caregivers and volunteers.

With our ageing population, it is also important to strengthen community care of stroke survivors. In this regard, I am happy to see that S3 has taken the initiative to pilot new solutions for post-stroke care, bringing healthcare services into the community and making it closer to home. I am also glad that S3 plans to expand and increase the number of wellness centres across Singapore, to spread affordable and accessible services to more residents in the heartlands.

While the healthcare system and organisations like S3 continue to deliver quality stroke care and rehabilitation, all of us can do our part by learning more about stroke and the measures to help ourselves and those around us. Since 2016, the Ministry of Health has held campaigns to educate the public on the symptoms of a stroke, using the four reminders of Facial drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulties and Timely Action, or F.A.S.T for short. As a result of heightened awareness of stroke symptoms, there has been an increase in the number of patients heading to the hospital early enough for time-sensitive stroke treatments.

In addition to acting F.A.S.T, we can reduce our risk of stroke by leading a healthier lifestyle. For instance, we can choose healthier food options, opt for a balanced diet with moderate salt intake, and exercise regularly. We can start with small steps such as using less oil, sugar and salt when cooking meals at home and choosing healthier food options at hawker centres and restaurants. To stay physically active, we can choose to take the stairs instead of the lift.

In closing, I would like thank the many donors and supporters here tonight. Your kindness and generosity have enabled stroke survivors to have a better quality of life and brought comfort and relief to the caregivers. I hope you will continue to support this worthwhile cause.

I wish everyone a pleasant evening. Thank you.