Opening Remarks by President Halimah Yacob at the Opening Ceremony of the Muslimin Trust Fund Association (MTFA) Dialysis Centre (MDC)
Dr Abdul Rahim Leyman, President of Muslimin Trust Fund Association (MFTA)
Management Council of MTFA
It gives me great pleasure to be here to officiate at the opening of the MTFA Dialysis Centre.
MTFA currently provides a wide range of services to the community – from supporting students through bursaries, to taking care of orphans, to providing burial services. This time, MTFA is embarking on an initiative to provide community healthcare to all Singaporeans, particularly renal patients in need of financial assistance. I commend MTFA for this effort. The MTFA Dialysis Centre is an excellent example of how a community organisation is marshalling its resources to provide assistance to the underprivileged. With 13 dialysis machines, the centre will be able to serve 78 needy patients.
The leading cause of renal failure is diabetes. Which is why the increasing incidences of Singaporeans developing diabetes is a worrying trend. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has highlighted in last year’s National Day Rally that diabetes is a serious concern. The nation has waged a war against diabetes.
The MTFA has embarked on the initiative to provide community healthcare to Singaporeans. We can do more to raise the awareness of renal failure, such as educating people on diabetic prevention. It is a good opportunity to raise awareness on prevention work. Opening a diabetes clinic or kidney dialysis centre can help to increase the awareness and impart knowledge on its health risks.
Prevention is our best defence against diabetes. At an individual level, we can play our part by paying attention to our food choices and making sure we exercise regularly. Simple steps such as choosing dishes that are “lower in calories”, taking our coffee in the “kosong” form, or taking the stairs instead of the lift, can go a long way in helping us stay healthy. We heard of this many times. The main point is learning how to get started and how to implement it in our lives. That is the biggest challenge. We need to get people to come together to take action, and not just talk about it.
We also need to start listening to our bodies. Going for regular health screening is important as it can help you to detect the onset of chronic conditions like diabetes. From my experience with health clinics, people do go for health screenings, but they do not take follow- up actions after the visit. If the report shows that their sugar is borderline or above border line, they are asked to go to a polyclinic to get further treatment. But the majority do not do so. It is not just a question of going for health screenings, but to go for your follow-up as well. For those who have diabetes, going for follow-up with your regular family doctor as well as making lifestyle changes and taking your medication as advised by your doctor can help to reduce your risk of developing diabetes-related complications.
The government now has a task force that aims to reduce the incidence of diabetes. The task force will continue in their efforts to motivate Singaporeans to take charge of their health, to live their lives free from diabetes. For those with diabetes, the task force will also help them to manage their conditions well. They also require individuals to reduce their risk of diabetes. If you are a diabetes patient, do take action early before it results in a kidney transplant or kidney dialysis. We have to a duty to internalize these messages.
Once again, on behalf of the beneficiaries, let me express appreciation to MTFA for starting this ground-up initiative of setting up the MTFA Dialysis Centre. It is yet another milestone in MTFA’s journey in helping the underprivileged in Singapore.