From Ng Min Ann, Intern (18 Aug – 13 Oct 2020)
During my time as a medical intern at HealthServe, I have had the opportunity to interact with many of our migrant brothers. In particular, during one of the clinic sessions, I managed to sit down and have a conversation with one of our patients for the day. Our conversation started with me asking him if he wanted to learn stretches to help with back pain (one of the more common problem faced by the patients coming to our clinic). His keen interest in learning something new was the first thing that I picked up on. He eagerly tried out all the stretches together with me as I explained them to him and clarified any doubts he had. The patient highlighted to me that he had never learnt how to properly take care of his back and has been frequently plagued by on and off back pains. He explained to me that he was been coming and HealthServe since 2018 and that HealthServe has been of a great help to him, providing him with cheaper rates allowing him to afford his diabetic medicines. He has also learnt a lot more from the volunteers and doctors about disease management, not only for his back pain, but also for diabetes. On top of that, the brother emphasized he appreciates how the volunteers take the time to find out more about the brothers and their emotional wellbeing as well. It struck me how that a simple conversation can easily make someone’s day, and he is very grateful for HealthServe and all the support he has received. This emphasised to me how these migrant workers are more alike to us than different. Sometimes, just getting to know them on a relational and personal level can relieve any stress they may have burdening them.
From Rebecca Poh, Intern (15 Sep – 3 Nov)
Serving as a medical intern in HealthServe has granted me many unique experiences but the ones that I hold closest to my heart are undoubtedly the heartfelt interactions that I have had with our migrant brothers. I fondly recall a conversation that I had with one brother while he was waiting for his queue number to be called. During that particular clinic session, I had been stationed to take vital signs outside of the clinic and this brother would sit down next to me whenever I had any free pockets of time. We talked about our favourite foods and about his time in Singapore and about how he is looking forward to returning to work after he recovers from his ailment. On another occasion, I had noticed a brother waiting for his medicine to be dispensed and struck up a conversation with him. He revealed to me that he had been suffering from hypertension and asked me what he could do to improve his condition besides taking the medicarion prescribed. He was eager to learn about the diet and lifestyle changes that he could make to better manage his blood pressure. During which, he also expressed his concern about exercising regularly as he revealed to me that he only has one to two Sundays off per month as he works overtime to earn more money. While I was saddened by this, I was grateful to be able to share just a fraction of his burden as I conversed with him and hopefully eased some of his worries. These simple but meaningful encounters reminded me of the precious relationships that we are able to build with our migrant brothers through seemingly ordinary interactions. While going through the motions of our clinic operations might seem mundane and challenging at times, I am always comforted by and reminded of the tangible impact that we are making when interacting with our brothers as I serve alongside our dedicated team of volunteers, interns and staff!
From Kennis Khoo, Intern (22 Sep – 17 Nov)
During my time at Healthserve, I got to interact more with our migrant brothers. One particular interaction stuck me with was with this migrant brother who had an arm injury.
Our conversation started because of his arm injury but ended with us sharing about everything under the sun. We talked about the ever changing landscape of Singapore to his hometown and even our different traveling experience in India.
At the end of our conversation, he remarked that “we talk like friends”. We often view our migrant brothers with certain stereotypes. As I was conversing with this brother, I started to realized that we are much more similar than I ever thought — we have families we love, hopes for the future, dreams we wanted to pursue, food that we enjoy and the list goes on. It was such a paradigm shift for me! 🤓
In the clinic we encounter many migrant workers with various medical and work related issues. I do get depressed after learning about the issues they are facing and felt helpless at times as I don’t have solutions for them. Hence it was very encouraging to receive an audio recording from a Chinese brother whom I referred to our external dentist for wisdom tooth extraction. He was grateful for the support and help that HealthServe has given to him. He knows that on his own he would not be able to get the treatment at the special price charged by Healthserve external partner. He said that he would not be able to afford the cost had he gone to one himself.
I have also been very touched by the love and generosity of our external referral partners to these migrant workers. These professionals have agreed to charge migrant workers referred by Healthserve at a very special rate, some even waiving the consultation fee, some giving huge discounts. Recently, I even had a dentist who message me “Dont worry about the $” when I asked if she would consider seeing a worker on special pass (no money to pay for treatment) at a price that we will help to raise from our Financial Assistant fund.