SINGAPORE: More low-income families and elderly residents in Jurong will receive free medical consultations under the Project Big Heart initiative.
At a health carnival on Sunday (Feb 28), Jurong GRC residents in the Community Heath Assist Scheme (CHAS) or holding a Pioneer Generation card attended a free health talk on alternative medicine in managing chronic diseases, and received free cataract screenings and health screenings.
The health screenings included BMI measurement and blood glucose tests at a nominal cost of S$2, which was waived for needy families.
About 600 residents are expected to benefit from the carnival, which was organised by Jurong Central Grassroots Organisations, in partnership with Fullerton Healthcare, Atlas Eye Specialist Care and Loving Heart Multi-Service Centre.
"We had not one, but more than 10 doctors coming to do pro bono," said Jurong GRC Member of Parliament (MP) Ang Wei Neng. "More than 50 nurses and clinical stuff also came to provide free treatment for the residents."
Mr Ang added: "Response to the health check was good, particularly the cataract eye check, which saw overwhelming response. We had vacancies for 100 residents, but more than 200 residents came to register."
The free cataract screening will not be provided beyond the event, but eligible residents can continue to receive free medical consultations on a bi-monthly basis starting May 7 at Fullerton Healthcare's clinic in Jurong Point.
Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who is also an MP for Jurong GRC, was the guest of honour at the carnival. He said providing healthcare in the community will be a major emphasis going forward.
"No one wants to stay in hospital for very long," said Mr Shanmugaratnam. "Going to the polyclinic often itself is something that's necessary, but not the full solution. You've got to have treatment in the community itself - close to home and with friends round you and family with you."
Launched in January 2015, Project Big Heart aims to provide low-income and elderly residents suffering from chronic illnesses with affordable or free medical consultations and medicine. More than 1,000 patients have received treatment under the programme.