Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong

Non-Constituency MP

Question No. 987

To ask the Minister for Health what efforts have been taken to reach out to and include persons with disabilities and/or special needs in past and ongoing health and screening campaigns.

Oral Reply

1 The Ministry takes an inclusive approach in the implementation of health promotion and disease prevention campaigns and programs for the population. Such programs also cater to persons with disabilities or special needs.

2 The Health Promotion Board's (HPB) School Health Services (SHS) and School Dental Services (SDS) provide health and dental screening and immunisation services to students with special needs in Special Education (SPED) schools, in addition to those in mainstream schools. The HPB works closely with the doctors, dentists, parents and staff of the special school to ensure that these services are delivered in a manner that is appropriate for the students.

3 Similarly, Response, Early intervention and Assessment in Community mental Health (or REACH) teams cover both mainstream schools and special needs schools. REACH teams work with special needs schools to help students with psychological, emotional and behavioural problems. They also provide training and support to allied health staff of special needs schools to strengthen their ability to identify, manage and, if necessary, refer at-risk children to the team for intervention.

4 HPB's Screen for Life (SFL) programme which offers age appropriate subsidised health screening for chronic diseases and selected cancers are open to all Singaporeans, including persons with disability and special needs at participating CHAS GP clinics. Health screening is also available at locations such as polyclinics and community centres which are easily accessible for people with disability and their caregivers. In addition, health promotion and educational programmes that aim to foster healthy lifestyle habits including healthy eating and physical activity target all Singaporeans.

5 We recognise that persons with disabilities and special needs are a diverse group, with a wide range of disabilities and functional capabilities, and possibly a variety of underlying medical conditions. Some may also require customised preventive health advice, health screening and care, which is best done by their family physicians.

6 Nevertheless, we will continue to review and finetune our health education and promotion initiatives to meet the needs of our population, including persons with disabilities or special needs.

Source: Ministry of Health, Singapore