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20
Jan
2022

'It's a miracle': Boy treated with $3m drug donated by public can now walk with support

The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission

​Two-year-old Devdan Devaraj who has spinal muscular atrophy can now stand and walk with support thanks to the almost $3 million donated by the public, which allowed him to seek treatment at NUH. Devdan was treated with Zolgensma, a one-time gene therapy treatment in September 2021.

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19
Jan
2022

Rising obesity levels in Singapore and the associated health issues

Mediacorp News

​Dr Kurumbian Chandran, Head of Division and Senior Consultant, Division of Endocrinology, Department of Medicine, Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, stressed that uncontrolled diabetes could adversely affect many body parts. To prevent complications, individuals should maintain a healthy diet and moderate carbohydrate intake, and take their medications on time.

Dr Gopi Krishnan Kamalakkannan, Senior Resident Physician, Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, shared that there has been a rise in younger persons aged 30 to 35 years old with hypertension. He advised persons with family history to get checked from the age of 35 and for the general population to undergo yearly checks from age 40.

Dr S. Venkatesh Karthik, Senior Consultant, Division of Paediatric Gastroenterology, Nutrition, Hepatology and Liver Transplantation, Khoo Teck Puat-National University Children's Medical Institute, National University Hospital, explained that many lifestyle associated diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis and fatty liver are linked to body weight. He advised individuals who have issues with body weight and obesity from a young age to take steps to manage their health.

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18
Jan
2022

Antigen rapid tests can now be virtually supervised over video

The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission

A/Prof Sophia Archuleta, Head and Senior Consultant, Division of Infectious Diseases, National University Hospital, said that the last two years of the pandemic have accelerated the adoption of telemedicine and the model can be expanded should the need arise with the healthcare system under stress with Omicron. This shift is another step towards living with COVID-19 and avoiding the unnecessary medicalisation of a simple test that can be performed at home.

A/Prof Jeremy Lim, NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, shared that remote supervision is much cheaper and more convenient compared with the hassle of doing so in person. There is also the additional benefit of safety as it avoids persons congregating in confined spaces and increasing the risk of COVID-19 infection, particularly with Omicron which is more infectious.

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17
Jan
2022

Singaporeans polled expect current virus curbs to last till end of year

The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission

Prof Dale Fisher, Senior Consultant, Division of Infectious Diseases, National University Hospital said it would be reasonable to ease border measures once the spread of Omicron in Singapore reaches levels seen overseas.  He added that Singapore will reach a point where its community measures will no longer provide a benefit.

Asst Prof Hannah Clapham, NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health hopes restrictions on migrant workers living in dormitories will be eased.  She added that living with COVID-19 would mean fewer COVID-19 measures, and considerably less impact on people’s lives. A/Prof Natasha Howard, NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health said living with COVID-19 would mean not routinely wearing mask, getting tested, or using TraceTogether for contact tracing, among other things. 

Asked what might happen if Singapore adopts an endemic approach before the global Omicron situation stabilised, Prof Teo Yik Ying, Dean, NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health said the cost would be “very low” given the country’s strong vaccination response, its resilient and prepared healthcare sector.  

A/Prof Alex Cook, Vice Dean of Research, NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health shared it would be overly risk averse to maintain a pandemic posture after primary school pupils are vaccinated and adults have taken their boosters.  He added that once Singapore is confident, it can ride out the Omicron wave.

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17
Jan
2022

Life in S'pore will never go back to the way it was before Covid-19, say experts

The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission

​A/Prof Natasha Howard and Asst Prof Hannah Clapham from NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health echoed the view that life would not return to pre-pandemic norms.  A/Prof Howard added that the normalisation of flexible and remote working, education and healthcare increases access for those who might otherwise be excluded due to caring responsibilities and so on.   

Prof Dale Fisher, Senior Consultant, Division of Infectious Diseases, National University Hospital believes most of the pre-pandemic norms will resume, including not wearing masks and gathering in large groups.

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17
Jan
2022

MOH conducting pilot for virtually supervised Covid-19 antigen rapid tests

The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission

​A/Prof Sophia Archuleta, Head and Senior Consultant, Division of Infectious Diseases, National University Hospital , said that the last two years of the pandemic have accelerated the adoption of telemedicine and the model can be expanded should the need arise with the healthcare system under stress with Omicron. This shift is another step towards living with COVID-19 and avoiding the unnecessary medicalisation of a simple test that can be performed at home.

A/Prof Jeremy Lim, NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, shared that remote supervision is much cheaper and more convenient compared with the hassle of doing so in person. There is also the additional benefit of safety as it avoids persons congregating in confined spaces and increasing the risk of COVID-19 infection, particularly with Omicron which is more infectious.

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12
Jan
2022

紧急手术量大增造成预约改期 (Appointment rescheduled due to increased emergency surgery load)

联合早报 © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission

​In response to Ms Ang Geok Lan's letter published in Lianhe Zaobao Forum on 7 Jan, Mr Tan Teck Chong, Assistant Chief Operating Officer, National University Heart Centre Singapore explained that before informing Ms Ang's brother about his wound cleaning appointment, the primary care team had reserved an emergency operating theatre to perform the procedure. However, on the day of the patient's appointment, the hospital experienced high emergency surgery load and priority is given to those with more serious and urgent conditions. When the primary care team knew the scheduled procedure could not be done on the day due to other more urgent cases, they provided the patient with his meals immediately and rescheduled his appointment.

In a separate letter to Zaobao Forum, Ms Ang wrote that right after the publication of her forum letter last week, an National University Hospital staff contacted her immediately to follow up on the matter. The primary care team doctor also contacted them to explain the situation. She would like to thank the hospital and the attending doctor for their professional and responsible attitude.

Ms Ang apologises for the confusion and inconvenience caused by the miscommunication and she would like to thank the team of doctors who took care of her brother, especially Dr Ng Jun Jie. Consultant, Department of Cardiac, Thoracic and Vascular Surgery, National University Heart Centre Singapore. She is grateful for his professional treatment, patience and dedicated care.

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10
Jan
2022

S'pore hospitals on standby to activate staff volunteers, workers if COVID-19 cases surge

The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission

Group Chief Human Resource Officer Priscilla Teo was quoted in the report as saying that the healthcare cluster has been participating in many career fairs or talks to support its recruitment needs. "We share and publicise our job or sponsorship opportunities regularly with students and alumni of the various schools and tertiary institutions. For example, there will be open houses this month by Alexandra Hospital, Ng Teng Fong General Hospital and National University Hospital to recruit multiple healthcare roles," she said. "We also continue to leverage on job advertisements, open house, career fairs/talks, Career Conversion and Return-to-Nursing programmes."

National Univeristy Health System is also banking on staff referrals, collaborating with targeted associations and recruitment agencies to attract career switchers, and offering more scholarships, sponsorships and industrial attachment opportunities. The report also added that National University Health System is prepared to convert existing hospital wards for COVID-19 patients if needed, and has staff volunteers on standby to support its front-line staff should there be another surge in cases, a spokesman said. 

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10
Jan
2022

Holographic visor helps surgeons see with ‘X-ray’ vision

The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission

​A team of surgeons from the National University Heart Centre, Singapore led by A/Prof Theodoros Kofidis, Head & Senior Consultant, Department of Cardiac, Thoracic and Vascular Surgery, National University Heart Centre Singapore has recently carried out what was reportedly the world's first holography-guided minimally invasive adult heart operation.

The technology serves mainly as an aid for doctors to better plan surgery and anticipate potential difficulties. A/Prof Kofidis said it is especially useful for patients with unusual anatomy, allowing doctors to get the best operative view and make the smallest cut possible.

The Straits Times added that National University Hospital is the only hospital in Singapore with this technology. It was first used in National University Hospital's neurosurgery department in 2020 to spatially locate brain tumours when operating on patients.

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8
Jan
2022

Vaksin kanak-kanak 5 - 11 tahun, cara ibu bapa persiap anak (How parents can prepare children between five to 11 years for vaccines)

Berita Harian © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission

​Mulai bulan lepas, ibu bapa kepada kanak-kanak yang lebih kecil boleh mendaftarkan mereka untuk mendapatkan vaksin Covid-19, berikutan kelulusan vaksin Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty untuk kanak-kanak berumur lima hingga 11 tahun. Pakar pediatrik berkongsi cadangan cara menyediakan kanak-kanak untuk vaksin.

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7
Jan
2022

Covid-19 boosters: When will your fully vaccinated status expire?

The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission

A/Prof Hsu Li Yang, Vice-Dean of Global Health and Programme Leader of Infectious Diseases, NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health (SSHSPH), noted that a number of studies in several countries including Singapore show that in most vaccinated people, neutralising antibodies start falling after two to three months. It is currently not known how long protection against severe COVID-19 disease and death will endure, although that appears to gradually wane over time as well, especially for the elderly and immunocompromised.

Prof Dale Fisher, Senior Consultant, Division of Infectious Diseases, National University Hospital (NUH), highlighted that clinical data is needed to understand immunity and there is general consensus that a booster at five to six months is recommended for those at risk of developing severe disease.

Lianhe Zaobao cited Prof Teo Yik Ying, Dean of SSHSPH, who commented that people will need to have the booster jabs sooner or later as various vaccines such as influenza and yellow fever have a certain effective period. He opined that similar to the influenza vaccines, four doses or even more of the COVID-19 vaccine may eventually be needed for protection.

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7
Jan
2022

专家:刚打其他种类疫苗 儿童也能安全接种冠病疫苗 (Experts: Children who have just received other types of vaccines can also be safely vaccinated against coronavirus)

联合早报 © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission

​自去年10月15日以来,本地已有超过1万名11岁及以下儿童确诊冠病,而随着社区病例增加,这个人数还将继续攀升。因此,父母应尽快让符合条件的儿童接种冠病疫苗。另外,刚接种其他种类疫苗的儿童,也能安全接种冠病疫苗,一些国家甚至同时为儿童注射流感和冠病疫苗。

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7
Jan
2022

How to maintain your fully vaccinated status, and the best time to take the booster jab

Others

Her World cited Prof Dale Fisher, Senior Consultant, Division of Infectious Diseases, National University Hospital, who highlighted that clinical data is needed to understand immunity and there is general consensus that a booster at five to six months is recommended for those at risk of developing severe disease. 

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7
Jan
2022

How might an Omicron wave develop in Singapore? Vaccinations, safety measures may 'wear impact'

Channel NewsAsia

​A/Prof Natasha Howard, NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, opined that Singapore can expect transmission rates to continue to be lower than in the United Kingdom or United States as the country has routinised and normalised effective safe management measures since the start of the pandemic and has high vaccination coverage. She added that data thus far suggest that an Omicron wave may be shorter than recent Delta waves, though this could change as more is learnt about the variant.

Prof Dale Fisher, Department of Medicine, NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, and Senior Consultant, Division of Infectious Diseases, National University Hospital, said that the two new threats to the country's health system are healthcare staff infections, requiring a period of time furloughed from work, and incidental COVID-19 in patients admitted for other reasons, which could overwhelm the isolation capacity. He shared that boosters do have some role in slowing transmission but it is not long-lasting especially for Omicron.

TODAY cited A/Prof Alex Cook, Vice-Dean of Research, NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, who commented that in the worst case scenario, more people could require ICU treatment at the peak of the Omicron wave than the current ICU capacity and it does not account for the new therapeutics such as antibodies. A/Prof Hsu Li Yang, Vice-Dean of Global Health and Programme Leader of Infectious Diseases, NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, noted that although Singapore's vaccination rates are much higher compared to the UK and US, it is difficult to be certain that the healthcare system will not get overstretched if the virus spreads more freely in the community.

NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine Visiting Prof Tikki Pangestu opined that it is a misplaced and dangerous approach to see Omicron as a mild virus, and there are learning experiences from other nations that can be used to inform Singapore's response.

CNA also cited Prof Teo Yik Ying, Dean of NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, who shared that based on recent reports, existing vaccines continue to be effective at reducing the risk of disease and death upon an infection.

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6
Jan
2022

五至11岁儿童 11.4%已接种 (11.4% of children between five and 11 have been vaccinated)

新明日报 © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission

​截至本月3日,已有超过一成的五至11岁儿童接种冠病疫苗。卫生部医药服务总监麦锡威副教授昨午在政府抗疫跨部门工作小组记者会上透露以上数据。他指出,疫苗接种进展平稳,至本周一(3日)已有11.4%的五至11岁儿童在全岛的疫苗接种中心接种至少一剂冠病疫苗。

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