3,000 healthcare professionals volunteer to help in coronavirus battle

MOH is also calling for more current and former medical professionals to step up and be on standby. PHOTO: ST FILE

About 3,000 healthcare professionals have signed up to the SG Healthcare Corps since it was launched earlier this month to marshal volunteers in the fight against the coronavirus.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) is also calling for more current and former medical professionals to step up and be on standby as Singapore prepares to handle a continued increase in the number of confirmed virus cases.

Medical staff from the private sector, retired medical professionals as well as those who are medically trained but no longer practising have signed up as volunteers since the programme began on April 7.

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong told a briefing yesterday that the ministry wants to ramp up the number of volunteers to ensure there is adequate manpower.

It hopes to have allied health professionals, such as audiologists, dietitians and physiotherapists, medics and individuals with laboratory experience on board.

The SG Healthcare Corps is also looking for non-medically trained volunteers, said MOH medical services director Kenneth Mak.

"For them, we prepare specific training packages to make sure that they are able to fulfil their roles competently as they step into a variety of different tasks," he noted.

"Some of the roles that they play include forming swab testing teams that support and augment expanding the roles and capabilities of our medical teams which are deployed for caring for foreign workers, for example, in dormitories."

The SG Healthcare Corps website noted that some of the roles also include operations support, community care ambassadors and healthcare assistants.

Mr Gan said: "All are welcome because going forward, we will need a lot more help from people.

"If you are interested, sign up with us and we will look for opportunities that we can tap your expertise, your experience or just simply your willingness to participate in this. We welcome anyone who is keen to... fight this battle together with us."

More information and registration details can be found at the SG Healthcare Corps portal.

Mr Gan added that the ministry is also redeploying manpower from industries affected by Covid-19 to enable them to take on new roles at hospitals.

One collaboration involved Singapore Airlines activating cabin crew as care ambassadors in some public healthcare institutions.

MOH said in a Facebook post: "We are very encouraged by the response to the launch so far and are deeply appreciative of your enthusiasm, which is reflective of the spirit of #SGUnited."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 29, 2020, with the headline 3,000 healthcare professionals volunteer to help in coronavirus battle. Subscribe