Free health and dental screening for residents at public health event in Clementi

The free health and dental screening is organised by medical and dentistry undergraduates from the National University of Singapore.
The free health and dental screening is organised by medical and dentistry undergraduates from the National University of Singapore.PHOTO: MUHAMMAD NUR

SINGAPORE - Some 1,500 residents will benefit from free health and dental screening over the weekend, as part of an annual Public Health Service (PHS) event organised by medical and dentistry undergraduates from the National University of Singapore (NUS).

The two-day event is being held at Clementi Avenue 3, at a tent beside block 449. It was officially launched by Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor on Saturday morning.

Participants will receive a general health screening to detect conditions like abnormal blood pressure levels and urinary incontinence, and a dental screening to assess their oral health. Colon cancer screening kits will also be given out for free.

This is the 10th time that the health screening event is taking place, but the first time that dental screening is being included. It is also the first time that participants will be able to register for breast and cervical cancer appointments on site.

Associate Professor Grace Ong, Dean of the NUS Faculty of Dentistry, said oral health is an important part of one's overall wellbeing.

"Our body parts are interconnected and it is not unusual that certain chronic diseases can affect the condition of our teeth and gums," she said.

Someone who has diabetes for instance may have gum disease too as the condition causes inflammation of the gums.

Since 2004, the event has screened more than 15,000 residents. Last year, about 1,400 residents participated in the screening, of which nearly 400 were found to require follow-up treatment from a doctor.

Dr Khor noted that of the nearly 400 residents, 54.7 per cent visited the doctor, and encouraged new participants to follow their lead.

She stressed that it is never too late to go for health tests, regardless of one's age and health risk profile, and that one should go for screening even if he feels perfectly well.

"Early detection, followed by treatment and good control of the condition, can result in better health outcomes and lower the risk of serious complications," she said.

One person who has benefited from the yearly initiative is Madam Koh Ai Lan, 54, who was found to have high blood pressure and high cholesterol at last year's event.

"I didn't think I needed to get checked because I exercise regularly. But after I found I had those conditions I've been going for regular check-ups every three months," said the housewife.

"I've also encouraged my family members to get checked."

Around 600 undergraduates and faculty members from the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine and NUS Faculty of Dentistry are involved in the event.

The students will use data collected at the event to assess the health literacy of the participants, which will pave the way for the development of other disease prevention initiatives.

samboh@sph.com.sg