I applaud the Ministry of Health move to keep the overall population healthy by developing the Healthier SG strategy to drive preventive health and early intervention, while continuing to provide appropriate care to those with existing healthcare needs.
However, there are diseases that develop without root causes, such as certain autoimmune diseases. At 19, I was diagnosed with vasculitis, an autoimmune disease that involves inflammation of the blood vessels.
Autoimmune diseases are lifelong chronic conditions and usually require regular and lifelong visits to a specialist to prevent major flares, leading to lengthy stays in hospital.
To support patients with such chronic conditions, I propose that the Chronic Diseases Management Programme (CDMP) be reviewed so that more patients can use their MediSave to pay for their outpatient specialist bills.
Currently, the conditions that are included affect a significant number of Singaporeans, such as hypertension and asthma. There are, however, many diseases that are chronic and affect a smaller group, who also face a financial burden.
The CDMP should consider including more conditions that fall under the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention's definition of chronic disease - "conditions that last one year or more and require ongoing medical attention or limit activities of daily living or both".
Having more chronic conditions included under the CDMP would reduce more patients' out-of-pocket expenses for outpatient specialist visits, and encourage them to keep up with their specialist visits.
This way, we can all move towards a healthier Singapore.
Sherry Soon Bee Siang