Coronavirus (195) The approach in Singapore (3)

23 March, 2020

Dear Tusharkanti

Thank you for your email.

I think every country is different because the context is different; however, what we can do is to learn from one another and see if we can adapt some of the strategies that would be appropriate for the particular situation.

My sharing of Singapore's Covid resources was to show what we are doing here and maybe others could adapt them (if they are useful) in their contexts.

I had not indicated that we in Singapore are doing much better than any other country.

Singapore is using a multi-prong approach to contain Covid. If you notice, we are not only doing intensive public health education (resources) to change behaviours but we have, and are, creating new messages (ongoing) for unity and resilience to rally every citizen--the message being that we can overcome this, and to do so, we need to stay united and to look out for one another.

We have also used our local media celebrities and humour to drive home the various public health messages and support and encourage our frontline workers. Singapore uses a Whole-of-Government (WOG) approach to address any crises and this includes all the ministries including MOH. Our PM had given two addresses to the nation in addition to ongoing inter-ministerial media briefings.

We also have a strong law - the Infectious Diseases Act that gives teeth to public health efforts.

As to whether Singapore's strategies would work in India, it's a question I cannot answer. Only those who are working in the Indian context would be able to answer. But what we all can do is to learn from best practices and see if we can adapt them in our fight to contain Covid. I think that's what Dr. Tedros was advocating-to learn from one another as this is a global crisis.


HIFA profile: Subadhra Rai is Senior Lecturer (Nursing) at the Nanyang Polytechnic in Singapore. subhadra.rai AT