US expert confident of Singapore public health system

United States’ National Academy of Medicine President Victor Dzau speaking at National University Hospital on Feb 3, 2020. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

While many people are putting off their travel plans because of the coronavirus outbreak, United States National Academy of Medicine president Victor Dzau saw no need to shelve the two-day workshop in Singapore that aims to address the challenges of ageing populations across the world.

Health Care Systems And Public Health: A Workshop For The Global Roadmap For Healthy Longevity Initiative began yesterday, with more than 200 delegates from across the world converging here and putting their minds together to come up with solutions to help the aged improve their quality of life.

The workshop is being held at the National University Health System (NUHS) campus in Kent Ridge.

Professor Dzau said of the coronavirus outbreak in Singapore: "I think the situation is contained and the public health system is so good in Singapore, noting its response to Sars 17 years ago, so there is no worry in coming to Singapore."

Professor John Eu-Li Wong, co-chair of the Global Roadmap For Healthy Longevity Commission and senior vice-president (health innovation and translation) at National University of Singapore, said: "Though there is anxiety and apprehension among Singaporeans, I think that the Government and healthcare sector here are following the best practices. We have been approaching this prudently, so we still allow life, business and work to continue as best as possible."

He noted that five years ago, following the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the US National Academy of Medicine convened an independent, international multi-disciplinary commission to propose a Global Health Risk Framework for the Future to prevent, prepare for and respond to infectious disease crises.

"In January 2016, the commission released a report which highlighted that managing such a crisis required a whole-of-society effort and commitment," he added.

"One could say that the US National Academy of Medicine was prescient given what we are seeing now with a novel coronavirus," said Prof Wong.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 04, 2020, with the headline US expert confident of Singapore public health system. Subscribe