New community health club offers subsidised health screenings for Serangoon residents

The new club will also conduct recreational programmes run by community partners like Tan Tock Seng Hospital and Sport Singapore. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - Monthly subsidised screenings for metabolic diseases like hypertension and diabetes will be brought to the doorstep of those living around Serangoon North Avenue 4, with the launch of the Jalan Kayu Community Health Club on Saturday.

Launched by the Jalan Kayu Citizens’ Consultative Committee under the People’s Association, the club hopes to promote early detection of such diseases, to encourage members of the community above the age of 40 to take charge of their own health.

The screenings will be free for seniors with a Pioneer Generation card, $2 for those with a Merdeka Generation card or Community Health Assist Scheme (Chas) blue or orange card, $5 for those with any other Chas card, and $20 for everyone else. 

The club will also conduct recreational programmes such as aerobic exercise classes and talks by healthcare professionals on creating healthy homemade recipes. These will be run by community partners such as Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Sport Singapore and the Jalan Kayu Community Sports Network. 

In addition, the club is partnering general practitioners (GPs) in the area to get their patients with metabolic diseases referred to it so that they can get support to manage their own conditions. 

Dr Mok Boon Rui, a GP at Pinnacle Family Clinic, which has a branch in Serangoon North, said the new community health club can be seen as a “head start” for Healthier SG, the nation’s plan for community-based models of health that begins at the end of the year.

He said: “Under Healthier SG, doctors will now have to come up with health plans for patients and are expected to keep up with the monitoring of their health...

“By forwarding our patients to these community health centres, we can ensure that they keep up with their health plans. Also, we can collect data on our patients from the community health centres for monitoring.” 

With the day-to-day operations of the club run mostly by volunteers, the pilot project aims to bring “preventive health and chronic disease management to your neighbourhood”, said Ms Ng Ling Ling, an MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC. 

“We hope that this ground-up effort will form an ecosystem to help our residents access a network of health, social and community support, facilitated by grassroots leaders and volunteers as trusted connectors.”

The club is now open from 9am to 12pm from Mondays to Fridays, but hours may be extended to 6pm when there are more volunteers to help run it.

To encourage people to join, the first 1,000 who sign up at the club will be given a free smartwatch from KaHa, a local smartwatch company. Data from these watches may also be used for monitoring by GPs, Ms Ng said.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (second from right) and fellow Ang Mo Kio GRC MP Ng Ling Ling hosted residents and partners at the official opening of Jalan Kayu Community Health Club on Feb 4. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Retiree Elsie Heng, 60, who participated in the pilot exercise activities held at the club before its official launch, said she was able to make friends through the programme, and the bonds formed motivate her to keep healthy.

“It’s easy to be lazy about your health and decide not to come out to exercise, but I would like to encourage others in the neighbourhood to join the programme, because if you don’t take care of your health, who will?” she said.

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