Migrant Health Relief
HEALTHSERVE LAUNCHES MENTAL WELL BEING INITIATIVES FOR MIGRANT WORKERS IN SINGAPORE
On 7th Feb 2020 when Singapore raised its disease outbreak response level to DORSCON Orange due to the spread of COVID-19, the public response as well as protocols that were suddenly put in place by Healthcare institutions led to unprecedented repercussions within HealthServe and the migrant worker community in Singapore.
The following responses impacted the wider migrant community in Singapore:
Shortage in Personal Protective Equipment(PPE) and personal hygiene resources brought about by panic buying and the scale of the outbreak in other countries
Limited affordable health and dental care from HealthServe’s clinics
Fake news spread among the migrant community caused fear and anxiety, affecting mental wellbeing.
Xenophobic attitudes and reactions
Quarantine orders, Leave of Absences and Stay-at-home notices due to the spread of the virus.
How were HealthServe services affected?
Volunteer doctor pool has dropped from 120+ doctors to less than 10 doctors available to come into our clinics. This was due to the unprecedented shortage of volunteer doctors because of restricted movement circulars issued in public hospitals when the alert was raised.
Sharp decrease in regular active clinic volunteers.
From 11th February, HealthServe has closed our Jurong and Mandai clinics and now only runs 1 clinic in Geylang 3 times a week sometimes only at 40% of operational capacity. Even with one clinic in operation we are still unable to find enough doctors to meet the need and are turning away migrant workers every clinic session.
Clinic unable to procure supplies due to worldwide shortage.
The following services were affected: Suspension of Physiotherapy, Occupational therapy and TCM sessions, cancellation of mental wellness group outings and larger migrant community events, no new counselling intakes.
Separation and limited movement across clinic and centres for our lean staff team of 18 which has put considerable constrain on our limited manpower.
(updated 7th April)
With the new elevated set of safe distancing measures from 7th April to 4th May by The Multi-Ministry Taskforce and sudden spike in cases in the migrant workers community, HealthServe has been activated to support in the following areas:
As a registered clinic, HealthServe’s Geylang Clinic will continue to run on Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday from 6.30 to 9.30pm. By continuing our clinics we are able to help take the load off public hospitals. However we have drastically reduced our volunteers and are now only running on a small pool of less than 10 medically trained volunteers, all non-medically trained onsite volunteers have been suspended. This means that our already stretched staff team will now take on most of the roles in our clinics.
Though we are closing all our centres during this period we are still maintaining a hotline (9859 9093 ) for casework clients to follow up for help, we’ve had to utilise part of the fund to help our caseworkers work from home and follow up with cases.
We will be working closely with dormitory and government partners to ensure the mental and emotional needs of migrant workers are still being met – this would include some new communications initiatives. More info on this soon.
Telecounselling and telehealth services to be deployed earlier than we expected. We are in the midst of setting up the infrastructure.
Follow up support for migrant workers who are confirmed cases of COVID-19. We have been working closely with the relevant authorities and hospitals on this. More info soon.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
Volunteer if you are a Singapore registered healthcare professional…
Migrant Health Relief Fund (MHR fund)
More than $250,000 donated to our Fund. Thank you everyone!
A designated fund set up on 12th March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 outbreak in Singapore to support HealthServe driven initiatives and low wage or disadvantaged migrant communities. Funds that remain unused during the COVID-19 Public Health emergency will be utilized for future public health emergencies and outbreaks according to the objectives below.
Low wage or disadvantaged migrant communities includes but is not limited to:
Work permit holders
Special Pass holders
Relief and Support
To provide relief and support to the wellbeing of low wage or disadvantaged migrants in Singapore and their families who are directly and indirectly affected by COVID-19 and future public health emergencies or outbreaks. E.g. Migrants who are: confirmed cases, placed under quarantine orders, in ICU or who need further follow up care after recovery.
To support HealthServe with material and financial support to cover unbudgeted operational upgrades, structural impact, increases in client/patient visits, supply usage, staff costs and additional resources incurred during times of public health emergencies and outbreaks. e.g Telehealth
Outbreak Prevention and Awareness
To support preventive measures and build awareness amongst the migrant worker community in response to public health emergencies and outbreaks.
HealthServe will not use these funds to pay the salaries of any existing staff members or any other previously budgeted expense because that is why we raise general funds.
HealthServe understands that designated funds are designated funds – we will honor that restriction and use the money only to pay for unbudgeted expenses and grants related to COVID-19 and other public health emergencies and outbreaks.
SCHEMES FOR COVID-19 OUTBREAK
Objective met : Intervention Services
We are looking to pivot and re-establish our doctor consultation capabilities via the use of a telemedicine platform – the first in HealthServe history and in Singapore. Allowing for willing volunteers to still contribute to the mission of caring for marginalised migrant worker community, within the “new norm” of post-covid19.
It is the intention of Healthserve to deploy a hybrid telemedicine service that falls within the Telecollaboration domain, provisioned via our 3 existing clinic premises registered under MoH’s PHMC licensing framework.
We hope to open up our Jurong and Mandai clinics again in the coming weeks with telehealth services after upgrading our hardware and software across all our clinics.
Resources needed (for 1 year):
- 10 new laptops with minimum specs: Intel i5/ 8 GB RAM/ Video conferencing camera/ SATA HDD/ Warranty.
- 6 printers and cartridges
- 5 Android Tablets
- Upgrading of WIFI infrastructure
- Ad hoc technical support and installation services for 1 year
- Licensing and software
Expected Funds needed: $25,000
Objective met : Prevention and Awareness
Special Pass holders in Singapore are not allowed to work while waiting for their salary/injury case to be resolved. They make up most of the beneficiaries that are registered with HealthServe’s Casework and Social Services. As there are many other initiatives going on to give out healthcare packs to migrant workers in their dormitories or worksites who are still able to work, there are currently no giveaways that address the Special Pass holder migrant community specifically who are already disadvantaged because of their residency status.
Each healthcare pack contains a bath towel, surgical masks, antibacterial soap, handwash, hand sanitiser and an IDD calling card. These items were collated from many donors without whom this would not have been possible. We would like to express our gratitude to the Migrant Health Relief Fund donors (for purchase of soap and bags), Temasek Foundation (providing hand sanitisers), IKEA (providing bath towels), and various donors who gave thousands of surgical masks to us.
UPDATE – 7th April 2020
HealthServe has packed 1500 healthcare bags to give out and have currently given out almost 500 bags. We are exploring distributing the bags to other NGOS and also to our partners. We will also give to patients at our clinics in need.
Financial Assistance for Migrant Workers during circuit breaker period *NEW*
Objective met: Relief and Support
Due to Singapore’s “circuit breaker” measures introduced from 7th April to 4th May, HealthServe had to close its food projects in Geylang and Jalan Besar. These food projects support more than 100 workers daily, majority of whom are Special Pass holders unable to work because they are injured or on salary cases.
To ensure that our clients and other Special Pass holders without support are able to survive through the next few weeks, HealthServe is giving financial aid to migrant workers on Special Pass to buy meals daily for themselves in the coming weeks. We started on 6th April and as of 9th April have given out more than $25,900+ to over 370 migrant workers on Special Pass.
The funds raised would also be used to support the following areas:
Support for migrant workers serving quarantine order or LOAs.
Follow up support for confirmed cases of migrant workers especially those who need additional care after recovering.
Telecounselling services for migrant workers who may be dealing with anxiety/fear during times of Public Health Emergencies/Outbreaks.
Working with employers for awareness talks and focus groups to answer questions and alleviate fears.
2nd March 2020 – Mothership:
28th February 2020 – RICE Media:
20th February 2020 – Straits Times:
14th February 2020- Saltandlight:
14th February 2020- Channel 8 News: 6pm Evening coverage
13th March 2020:
Migrant Health Relief Fund: HealthServe launches new fund to combat effects from COVID-19 outbreak (English)
23rd April 2020:
HEALTHSERVE LAUNCHES MENTAL WELL BEING INITIATIVES FOR MIGRANT WORKERS IN SINGAPORE (English)
சிங்கப்பூரில் உள்ள வெளிநாட்டு ஊழியர்களுக்காக மனநலம் குறித்த முயற்சிகளள வெல்த்வசர்வ் வதாடங்கியுள்ளது (Tamil)