A free medicine delivery service has provided senior IT executive Azman Ab Jalil with a lifeline.
Until June this year, when he signed up for the service, the 48-year-old had to travel to KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH) to pick up a special supplement for his 10-year-old son, Abdul Muhammad Danial.
The boy was born with Lowe syndrome, a genetic condition that primarily affects the eyes, brain and kidneys. The specially-prepared sodium phosphate supplement, which has a shelf life of 28 days, helps the boy replenish important electrolytes that he loses easily due to his condition.
Before the delivery service, Mr Azman had to go to the hospital one Saturday every month to pick up the medicine.
The two-way journey by public transport from his home in Choa Chu Kang, as well as waiting time at the hospital, used to eat up three hours of precious weekend time with his son, who is also autistic.
"Usually, I made the journey myself as my wife had to look after him at home. This service has helped us a lot - I hope we can continue with it for as long as possible.
"He sleeps at 7pm on weekdays and gets up as early as 4am to prepare for school. So any free time I can get with him is very precious."
Mr Azman is not the only one to sign up for the service, which delivers medications to patients at different locations, including their homes, offices, daycare centres and nursing homes.
KKH, which is under SingHealth, started the free delivery service in January. From then till August, an average of 270 medication deliveries have been made each month.
In a move to enhance the accessibility of care, among other things, a set of guidelines on the supply and delivery of medication to patients was announced yesterday at the 29th Singapore Pharmacy Congress held at Suntec Convention Centre, attended by Senior Minister of State for Health and Law Edwin Tong.
The guidelines for healthcare and logistics service providers are called the Singapore Standard 644.
The technical document provides guidance on proper storage, security, traceability and safety of medication during the delivery process, and compliance with legal and professional requirements.
Mr Tong said that with these guidelines, patients and caregivers can be "more assured of continued care beyond the hospital environment", and can focus on their health and caregiving responsibilities".
Currently, the service is also offered by other national speciality centres, hospitals and polyclinics under SingHealth, as well as pharmacies at all National Healthcare Group (NHG) polyclinics and the National University Polyclinics. Tan Tock Seng Hospital, which is under NHG, also offers the service.
The guidelines were jointly developed by the Pharmaceutical Society of Singapore, Singapore Manufacturing Federation-Standards Development Organisation, and Singapore Standards Council, which Enterprise Singapore oversees.