SINGAPORE - With transboundary haze unlikely to affect Singapore for the remainder of 2015, the Ministry of Health (MOH) will cease the Haze Subsidy Scheme with effect from Nov 23.
The National Environment Agency (NEA) said on Sunday (Nov 15) that an increase in rain showers over the past two weeks had signalled the end of the traditional dry season in the region.
This has helped to alleviate the hot spot and haze situation in Indonesia's Sumatra and Kalimantan, with more rain expected in the coming weeks due to the onset of December's north-east monsoon.
MOH implemented the Haze Subsidy Scheme on Sept 16 after the Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) reached hazardous levels.
The scheme grants children, the elderly and lower- and middle-income groups of Singaporeans access to timely and affordable treatment for haze-related conditions.
Under the scheme, pioneer citizens were required to pay only $5 at participating Public Health Preparedness Clinics (PHPC) and polyclinics, with MOH subsidising the remaining costs. Other eligible Singaporeans had to pay $10, while Public Assistance (PA) cardholders received free treatment.
More than 630 PHPCs have participated in the scheme, according to MOH. More than 50,000 people have also benefited from the scheme.
The same scheme was also rolled out on June 21, 2013, and ceased on Oct 31 the same year. Back then, more than 670 clinics took part and 17,000 haze-related attendances were seen, with close to $500,000 in government subsidies provided.