Bone Marrow Donor Programme renews IPC status, welcomes new chief executive

Healthcare charity Bone Marrow Donor Programme's new chief executive officer, Mr Charles Loh, said that he aims to grow the pool of local bone marrow donors.
Healthcare charity Bone Marrow Donor Programme's new chief executive officer, Mr Charles Loh, said that he aims to grow the pool of local bone marrow donors.PHOTO: FACEBOOK/BONE MARROW DONOR PROGRAMME (SINGAPORE)

SINGAPORE- Healthcare charity Bone Marrow Donor Programme (BMDP) has obtained a one-year renewal of its Institutions of a Public Character (IPC) status, following a special audit in 2016 that uncovered governance and administrative lapses.

The charity said this on Tuesday (July 17) as it announced a new chief executive officer, Mr Charles Loh, who is taking the helm after his predecessor resigned earlier this year.

BDMP runs Singapore's only register of volunteer bone marrow donors.

Mr Loh, who was previously senior vice-president at Certis Cisco from 2006 to 2016, said that he aims to grow the pool of local bone marrow donors.

"We can do more to increase the number of local donors, strengthen collaboration with the global network of registries and enhance the public education of blood diseases," he said.

He added: "We are glad that our IPC status has been renewed for another year and we can now look forward to implementing our plans."

Earlier in January, BMDP's then chief executive Jane Prior resigned after being at the helm of the healthcare charity for five years.

 
 
 

In 2016, BMDP underwent a special audit ordered by the Ministry of Health, after the ministry received feedback on the organisation's administrative and governance issues.

The audit started in September 2016 and concluded almost a year later in August 2017, after which the authorities ordered the organisation to rectify the governance and administrative lapses uncovered.

A draft audit seen by The Straits Times in 2017 flagged "critical and major" areas of concern after reviewing the charity's operations between 2013 and July 2016. Among the findings, the audit questioned the "excessive" use of donations on marketing and entertainment, and an "unclear policy" regarding BMDP's reimbursement practice for entertainment purposes, as well as the overseas travel claims of a senior executive.

The findings of such audits can have an impact on the renewal of a charity's IPC status.

Following the investigation, MOH gave a five-month extension to the the healthcare charity's IPC status, which was due to expire in July 31, 2017. The extension was until the end of last year.

With the one-year renewal of its IPC status, the charity can continue to raise funds from donors, who will enjoy a tax deduction.

On Tuesday, BMDP also announced the appointment of its board president, Dr Lim Zi Yi. Dr Lim was previously the vice-president of the charity board.

"Bone marrow transplantation is an important life-saving procedure, and it is crucial that we have a large and diverse pool of donors in our national registry to achieve our aim of ensuring that every patient who needs a transplant has a matched donor," said Dr Lim.

The BMDP was founded in 1993, and has more than 85,000 donors on its database.