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15 Nov 2020

15th Nov 2020

Dr Kalpana, President of Diabetes Singapore

Mr Lim Teck Yin, CEO of Sports Singapore

Distinguished Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen

       It gives me great pleasure to join you this afternoon to commemorate World Diabetes Day.


2.     Today, we celebrate the 30th World Diabetes Day in Singapore. We do so amidst the backdrop of the global COVID-19 pandemic. This year has been a challenging time for us as a nation. Nevertheless, it was heartening to see everyone coming together, looking out for the vulnerable, and standing united as one people in our fight against COVID-19.

3.     At the same time, we must not lose sight of our war against Diabetes. It continues to be a major public health concern even amidst the pandemic. Nearly half a billion people across the globe live with it. Closer to home, one in three Singaporeans is at risk of developing diabetes in their lifetime. Obesity and sedentary lifestyles place us at an even greater risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

4.     Today, I want to speak about how we need to continue our fight against diabetes as a nation – as individuals, healthcare professionals, and the broader community.


5.     As individuals, we can actively adopt healthy habits and lifestyles. Research shows us that personalised and timely interventions can deliver better health outcomes. To this end, we have been leveraging technology to provide tailored lifestyle interventions. We recently announced our partnership with Apple to roll out LumiHealth. It is a fun and novel way to encourage everyone to adopt healthy habits through personalised reminders, programmes, activity coaching and incentives. We also engage Singaporeans to stay active through the National Steps Challenges. I encourage you all, all of us, to take part, if you haven’t already done so.

6.     Going for regular screening is another way to help us better take charge of our health. We have made it more affordable and accessible through HPB’s Screen for Life programme. If you are above 40, you should undergo regular screening for chronic diseases, once every three years. If you are younger, between 18 to 39, you can use the Diabetes Risk Assessment on HealthHub to assess your risk of developing diabetes. Since we launched the test, we found about 18% to be at higher risk. About 1 in 10 who went for health screening were also diagnosed with pre-diabetes or diabetes! Many would have never known if they had not used the DRA tool. We want to detect and manage it early to reduce complications later.

7.     For those with diabetes, do continue to attend regular follow-ups with your healthcare practitioners and undergo diabetes-related screenings. This is to reduce the risk of developing complications. To help you on your care journey, MOH developed a framework for Patient Empowerment for Self-care. As part of it, we developed the National Diabetes Reference Materials with partners like Diabetes Singapore, where you can easily access information on diabetes management on HealthHub.


8     Our healthcare professionals are an integral part of our war against diabetes. The theme for World Diabetes Day – “The Nurse and Diabetes” – reminds us of the crucial role that our nurses play in supporting patients with diabetes in the frontlines. They are well-positioned to provide patients and their caregivers with knowledge and skills on diabetes prevention and control. 

9.     We are equipping our care team members to do this better on two fronts.  

10.    First, we rolled out an online customisation portal for the National Diabetes Reference Materials early this year. This enables our care team members to provide patients with diabetes and their caregivers customised, simple and bite-sized information on diabetes prevention and control.

11.    Second, we have the Care Team Education Framework. It identifies training components that will equip care team members with the knowledge and skills needed to more effectively empower and motivate patients with diabetes so that they will take ownership of their diabetes management.

12.    During the COVID-19 outbreak, we also made it more accessible for our care team members to remotely provide healthcare services for patients with chronic illnesses, including diabetes, through video-consultations. MOH made video-consultations eligible under the Chronic Disease Management Programme (CDMP) and Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) on a time-limited and exceptional basis, and expanded CDMP and CHAS to cover medications delivered or collected on patients’ behalf without in-person consultations. These enhancements allow patients to continue tapping on their MediSave and CHAS subsidies for regular management of their conditions, while minimising their exposure to COVID-19 and encouraging safe-distancing.


13.    Finally, community partnerships and programmes are an additional line of offence in our fight against diabetes. I am heartened by the many good initiatives of our community partners.

14.    BE SMART is a good example of an evidence-based community programme by Diabetes Singapore targeted at older persons. With support from volunteers, the programme motivates individuals to identify, prioritise and engage in sustainable lifestyle changes. For example, in the domains of physical activity, nutrition, stress management as well as smoking and alcohol consumption. It was also designed to develop ambassadors and advocates among the older generation to champion the War on Diabetes. 

15.    To promote active living, SportsSG and Diabetes Singapore will also sign an MOU today to enable individuals with diabetes to access personalised coaching support from Health Coaches and ActiveSG’s wide array of facilities and programmes. This will help them to achieve better lifestyle management and improved health outcomes.


16.    The War on Diabetes is not over. It requires our entire nation to work together to triumph, just as we did to stem the spread of COVID-19. All of us have a role to play in looking after our health, and that of our loved ones.

17.    I wish Diabetes Singapore a successful World Diabetes Day Singapore 2020. Together, let’s beat diabetes! 

Thank you.

Category: Speeches