Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Exceptional people: More than just maids, they bring hope to others

From running marathons to racing dragon boats, domestic workers in Singapore are fighting stress and depression – as well as doing good for charity – with the help of non-profit group Race2Share.

Race2Share is a non-profit group founded here in 2015 to engage people - initially Filipinos mainly – in sports and volunteer work.

Its members have helped raise awareness and funds for social causes, by organising runs – such as to raise awareness over the sexual abuse of deaf women and children; conducting bike and swim clinics; and competing in long-distance races, like the Race Against Cancer in July.

On top of this, some also devote time every Sunday, which is their only rest day, to volunteering at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH), where they bring some joy into lonely residents’ lives.

Team of ITE staff develops device to simplify kidney stones removal

A new innovation to simplify the process of removing large or complex kidney stones has been developed by a team of staff from the Institute of Technical Education (ITE).

The team, in collaboration with the National University Hospital (NUH), the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Invivo Medical, created a mechanism called a Percutaneous-Access-to-Kidney-Assist Device (PAKAD) that can reduce X-ray exposure, risks of complications and shorten recovery periods for the patient.

With the help of the PAKAD, a needle is systematically adjusted, guided and stabilised into alignment with the targeted stone instead of free-hand techniques to locate the stones. An endoscope surgical instrument is then inserted through the needle passage to fragment and remove the stones.


Nearly 40% of children in abuse cases under age seven

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Nearly 40% of child abuse cases investigated by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) in the past three years involved victims younger than seven.

Yet, pre-schools have been found to be inadequate in spotting signs of child abuse, said experts, who called for regular standardised training for the teachers, which is currently not available. This is important as many child abusers are immediate family members and pre-school educators become an important line of defence for the children, they said.

Child abuse includes physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional or psychological abuse and neglect. They involve children up to age 16. MSF investigates cases in which the abuse happens within the family.

Over the years, the number of child abuse cases has shot up from 381 in 2014, 551 in 2015, to 873 last year.


You may want to read Pre-school teachers not sure how to handle child abuse cases: Survey

Forum: Heed your body's limits when exercising

The death of Mr Stephen Begley during the Singapore International Triathlon last Sunday was tragic (Cardiorespiratory failure caused death of expat triathlete; Sept 13).

It was reported that the cause of death was cardiorespiratory failure, but I believe there was an underlying pathology that caused it, as cardiorespiratory failure is what ultimately happens when anyone dies. Most healthy athletes and national servicemen who succumb to sudden death during strenuous activity die of heart rhythm abnormalities.

Many life-threatening irregular cardiac rhythms do not show up during normal clinical examinations and basic ECGs.

Doctors who are asked to certify a patient's fitness to exercise are always put in a quandary. They can only guess the best they can with the available information.

Weekend warriors intuitively know when to stop when the pain of exercise puts a strain on their cardiorespiratory function.

Seasoned athletes, however, may push the boundaries of their endurance to improve themselves. That is where the trouble starts.

Short of very sophisticated and expensive investigations under the purview of a cardiologist, nobody can guess how the heart will respond under severe duress.

The best advice any doctor can give is: When in doubt, don't.

A stringent disciplined diet with an active lifestyle combined with moderate exercising guarantees longevity far better than a wanton diet desperately compensated for by overly strenuous, arrhythmia-inducing and heart-stopping exercises.

Yik Keng Yeong (Dr)


S$5 subsidised diabetes screening extended to at-risk Singaporeans under 40

Singaporeans below 40 years of age found to be at risk of diabetes after completing a free online questionnaire can now get themselves screened for the disease at a subsidised fee of S$5.

The free Diabetes Risk Assessment (DRA) tool – which takes only two minutes to answer – was rolled out by the MOH on its website on September 1 as part of its efforts to “go upstream to facilitate early detection and intervention”.

The seven-question measure aims to help younger adults between 18 and 39 uncover their current risk for undiagnosed diabetes, and determine if they should go for diabetes screening. It includes questions such as “how much time do you spend on physical activity in a week?” and “how often do you drink sugary beverages (like coffee, tea and bubble tea)?”