DR LEE CHIAN CHAU
photo: left
Deputy Director
University Health Centre
RAVINDRAN S/O SOCKALINGAM
photo: right
Senior Associate Director
Office of Safety, Health and Environment
Health ambassadors

If you are in your early thirties, going for a health check is probably the last thing on your mind.

However, thanks to the free basic health-screening offered by the University Health Centre (UHC) at NUS, a young staff not only discovered an issue with his kidney that can progress to organ failure, but also managed to treat it in time to reverse the condition.  

This is just one example of how the annual exercise has picked up health problems, enabling the participants to manage their conditions early, shared Dr Lee Chian Chau, Deputy Director of UHC, who oversees the University Wellness Programme. The basic health screening looks at weight management, blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol levels.

“We have the support of NUS Management in self-care to allow staff time-off to attend to health screenings held on campus. Not only does it provide ease of mind, it also cuts the amount of time needed to attend to medical appointments,” said Dr Lee.

Furthermore, with early detection and proper medical guidance, diseases and health risks could be mitigated, treated and in some cases, even prevented, he stressed.  

Participants should look at their age and medical history, with the doctor’s advice, to decide on the type of screening required. The age-appropriate health screening chart and FAQs on the UHC site provide a good guide. However, Dr Lee warned against over-screening, where false positives may cause unnecessary worries and over-investigation for the patients.

Some 3,500 NUS staff join the annual screening conducted at the Staff Club on Kent Ridge Campus, Bukit Timah Campus and Duke-NUS Medical School at Outram. UHC is increasing the number by having an additional site at the Shaw Foundation Alumni Building this year. The current exercise will also be extended by another week to cater for more participants.

Prevention is always better than cure. Making the commitment and setting aside that short amount of time is critical in making your health a priority.

UHC works with the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health at NUS to provide the chronic disease management programme for high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol. Started in 2016 with the Office of Campus Security (OCS), this will be rolled out to more units and eventually the whole University.

Patients under the programme have regular follow-ups with a dedicated case manager and doctor. Their medication is closely monitored, while training is provided in exercise, diet and other lifestyle modifications.

Dr Lee proudly announced that after a year, three OCS staff in the programme have quit smoking totally.

Mr Ravindran s/o Sockalingam, Senior Associate Director at the Office of Safety, Health and Environment, is a grateful beneficiary of the programme that helps manage his diabetes. “There’s been a significant improvement in my recent review,” he disclosed, the effectiveness attributed to the motivation and discipline imposed by the programme.

Ravi wants to lead by example by sharing his experience during the cardiopulmonary resuscitation training he conducts for staff and students. “Sometimes for a variety of reasons people don’t want to see a doctor or get medical treatment – I was once upon a time like that,” he admitted.  “However, if a person makes some changes and follow up on some programmes, you’ll see better results.”