blood pressure and being a heavy drinker. But
he insisted he was healthy and became defensive
about his excessive alcohol consumption.
The team lent him a listening ear and tried to
understand why. “We realised it wasn’t only about
drinking for him – it was also his fear of losing his
friendships if he stopped,” says Lawrence.
“This experience showed me the importance
of understanding the patient’s point of view.
Healthcare is essential and people want it, but
there could be other barriers we might not have
thought of. Until these are resolved, we can’t tackle
the medical aspect,” he adds.
Third-year NUS Medicine student Justin Ng
co-helms another student-led initiative – the
Public Heath Service (PHS). This annual event
brings medical, nursing, pharmacy and dentistry
students together to o er free health screenings
to individuals aged 40 and above. Started in 2004,
PHS has been conducted in neighbourhoods such
By giving back to the
in NUHS’ local and
programmes have, in
turn, gained valuable
very year, over two weekends, students
from the National University of Singapore's
Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine (NUS
Medicine) go knocking on hundreds of
doors in HDB estates. They o er an important
service – free health screenings for low-income
residents above the age of 40 to detect conditions
such as diabetes, hypertension and cancer.
In 2016, the volunteers screened over 600 residents
in Taman Jurong and Marine Terrace. Subsequently,
the students followed up with the residents to
discuss the screening results, and will continue
to make home visits or phone calls to address
This Neighbourhood Health Service (NHS)
programme is one of a series of projects
undertaken by the National University Health
System (NUHS) and its institutions to reach out to
those in need.
Volunteers involved in such outreach programmes,
both in Singapore and overseas, have received
more than just the joy of giving through
Gaining lessons from giving help
Lawrence Wong, second-year NUS Medicine
student who co-chairs the 2016 NHS, says his
interactions with residents have shown him how
important empathy is, as well as the value of
placing medical problems in the social context.
He recalls one man, in his 50s, who had been
flagged during the initial screening as having high