The Ministry of Health (MOH) and its agencies— MOH Holdings (MOHH), the three public healthcare clusters, and Agency for Integrated Care (AIC)—work closely to champion a healthy nation and achieve the vision of helping our people live well, live long, and with peace of mind.
To support this vision, MOHH, the holding company of Singapore’s public healthcare clusters, and AIC, offer healthcare scholarships to outstanding students who are keen to join the public healthcare sector. Graduating scholars can look forward to working for organisations such as AIC, who play an important role in empowering and enabling citizens to live and age well in their homes and communities. CEO Tan Kwang Cheak, 44, talks to us about AIC’s role in Singapore’s public healthcare sector.
Empowering Our Seniors, Transforming The Community Care Sector
AIC aims to build a vibrant care community in Singapore that enables people to live well and age gracefully. It supports MOH’s strategic shifts in care – from hospitals to the community, and focusing on their health instead of healthcare.
“The Community Care sector is a critical focus area as Singapore’s population ages,” says Kwang Cheak. “By 2030, 1 in 4 Singaporeans will be 65 years old and above. This presents key challenges of growing fragility, burden of chronic diseases, and mental health areas. We need to look at how we can help our people stay healthy and engaged, to age with dignity and meaning.”
AIC works closely with partners and service providers within the communities to support the seniors to stay active and healthy as far as possible, empowering them to take care of their own health and care needs, together with their caregivers and families.
AIC also reaches out to seniors through the Silver Generation Office (SGO) and the Community Networks for Seniors (CNS). They share information about government policies, and if needed, help connect them to the relevant support and services in the community. Through AIC’s various platforms—online, hotline, and walk-in counters—seniors and caregivers can find out about these services and resources. It helps them make informed decisions about the care that they prefer.
AIC provides referral services and administers financial support schemes, so that services remain accessible and affordable for those who need them. The organisation also partners with service providers to strengthen the Community Care sector. This includes introducing new services and care models and growing their capabilities so they can scale up and provide better quality care.
“Our role will evolve as the Community Care landscape evolves,” says Kwang Cheak. AIC’s role recently expanded with the merger with the SGO in April 2018, outreach efforts for the Merdeka Generation Package, the implementation of the revised Community Health Assist Scheme, and the administration of the new long-term care insurance scheme CareShield Life.
Finding Joy And Purpose
As AIC’s CEO, Kwang Cheak’s passion lies in helping to care for the people and developing Singapore’s Community Care system. Healthcare scholars who are keen to work in Community Care will be pleased to learn that Kwang Cheak is also passionate about developing people and helping them fulfil their potential.
“Our staff is the heart of this organisation. We are always striving to build a more caring, collaborative, and cohesive culture, in the hope of creating a better workplace for our people,” says Kwang Cheak.
“AIC’s purpose and work resonates with me. I believe in the work we do. What we put in place is instrumental to help our seniors live well and age gracefully at their homes and in the community,” he adds.
Achieving this requires a talented workforce skilled in providing health and social care, and connecting and building rapport with seniors. As a learning-oriented organisation, AIC offers a wide range of training programmes and awards to support staff development. There are opportunities to learn, develop, and explore best practices and programmes – whether through attending or presenting at global conferences, or visiting healthcare organisations.
Running On Teamwork
A healthcare career is not only meaningful; you also get to work with like-minded people towards the same goal. Kwang Cheak recently climbed Mount Kinabalu— Malaysia’s highest peak—with his colleagues in August 2018.
“While the climb was challenging, my colleagues were great climbing companions, friends and supporters. We bonded over shared experiences and challenges as we journeyed together,” he says.
For Kwang Cheak, the Mount Kinabalu climb showed how the AIC team shared a common goal and worked together through the difficulties, relying on a foundation of trust and respect, to reach the summit.
A Bright Future Ahead
Kwang Cheak believes that MOHH scholars have a lot to look forward to when they join the Community Care sector. Besides the financial benefits, MOHH scholars can look forward to professional development opportunities such as conferences, seminars, and overseas exchange programmes where they can expand their horizons and grow their professional networks.
“To our aspiring scholars, you will have many opportunities and choices for your career at this juncture. To embark on a great career with us in the Community Care sector through a healthcare scholarship, you will be clearer on your purpose in life and what will motivate you to be your best,” he says.
“Most importantly, working in Community Care can be extremely gratifying because you get to form meaningful relationships with our seniors and clients through the work that we do,” he adds. “You will be able to help our people live well and age gracefully, helping Singapore become one of the best places in the world to age in.”