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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

community, volunteers

in NUHS’ local and

overseas outreach

programmes have, in

turn, gained valuable

life lessons.



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

outstanding issues.

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

their experiences.

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





JAN 2017