SINGAPORE: Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) institutions will play an increasingly important role as Singapore's population ages, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Saturday (Sep 23).
Speaking at a charity dinner to mark the 150th anniversary of Thong Chai Medical Institution, Mr Lee said TCM "will continue to supplement the medical system”.
This is especially since some Singaporeans tend to fuse the East and the West, visiting doctors from both Western and Chinese medicine in the hopes of recovering more quickly, Mr Lee noted.
In his speech in Mandarin, Mr Lee highlighted the importance of good health because once people fall ill, their lives and that of their families are affected and the Government will have to spend more on healthcare.
“With Singapore's rapidly ageing population, clinics like Thong Chai Medical Institution will play a more important role in helping the country to tackle this challenge," said Mr Lee.
RAISING THE STANDARD OF TCM
In September, the Health Ministry announced extra funding to develop and support the Traditional Chinese Medicine sector. This includes S$5 million over the next five years for the TCM Research Grant.
The ministry also announced new rules which will eventually make it a requirement for practitioners to undergo continuing TCM education, for the renewal of their practicing certificates.
Mr Lee noted that Thong Chai Medical Institution has answered the Government’s call to raise standards and started several such courses. "I believe the efforts from all parties will help raise the overall standard of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Singapore and allow more to benefit,” he said.
While Thong Chai may have been founded for the Chinese community, Mr Lee pointed out that the institution has treated all equally regardless of race, religion or nationality. He said this is to be lauded, as it contributes to building a more inclusive and harmonious society.
Thong Chai Medical Institution, which was established by a group of migrants from China in 1867, provides free consultation and medicine at its TCM clinic.
It is headquartered in Chin Swee Road and has three other branches in Ang Mo Kio, Bedok and Sengkang. Overall, the institution sees up to 340,000 people each year.