Haze Subsidy Scheme to cease from Monday

There will be no more subsidies for haze-related conditions from Monday.

As conditions have improved and the National Environment Agency has advised that the likelihood of transboundary smoke remains low for the rest of the year, the Ministry of Health (MOH) will cease the Haze Subsidy Scheme with effect from Nov 23.

Air quality was in the good range yesterday, with the 24-hour Pollutant Standards Index standing at 30 to 39 at 6pm.

The Haze Subsidy Scheme was reactivated on Sept 16 to give children, the elderly and lower- and middle-income Singaporeans access to treatment for haze-related conditions. These include asthma, bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, conjunctivitis and upper respiratory tract infections.

Under the scheme, pioneers pay only $5 and other eligible Singaporeans pay $10 at participating clinics and polyclinics for haze-related conditions. Public assistance cardholders enjoy fully subsidised care.

The ministry estimated that about 50,000 benefited from the scheme. More than 630 general-practitioner (GP) clinics participated in it this time round.

On Sunday, the NEA said an increase in rain showers over the past two weeks signalled the end of the traditional dry season. It is expecting more rain in the coming weeks with the onset of the north-east monsoon next month.

The last time the scheme kicked in was in 2013, when close to $500,000 in government subsidies was provided for more than 17,000 haze-related attendances at GP clinics and polyclinics.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 17, 2015, with the headline 'Haze Subsidy Scheme to cease from Monday'. Print Edition | Subscribe