The State of Healthcare in Singapore

The quality of Singapore’s healthcare is among the most modern and secure. By international standards, it is considered as a leading example: according to The World Bank in 2009, Singapore’s life expectancy is at 79 years for men and 84 for women. The country’s population boasts of 4.7 million working citizens out of its entire population of 5.6 million.

For what has been called the most expensive city in the world, many countries look to Singapore with envy with regards to its efficient healthcare system. But how does it work?

Here are all the things you need to know about healthcare in the Lion City:

1. In the country, there are 10 public hospitals, 13 private, and a few other specialized clinics. Each facility has its own specialties and pricings. Public hospitals are open 24/7 and offer emergency services. Most Singaporean doctors are trained abroad in world-class medical facilities.

You can either choose to see a junior doctor or a senior doctor. Of course, rates are more expensive for the latter.

According to the Singapore Medical Council, more than 900 doctors are practicing in the city-state. This gives a ratio of 18 medical practitioners for every 10,000 citizens, which is more than most Asian countries.

2. Most Singaporeans buy medical insurance provided by the state-run National Health Plan. Singapore’s National Health Plan was set up in 1983 based on the 3M’s: Medisave, Medishield, and Medifund.

While Medisave is a personal health fund that levies 8-10% of a person’s salary to be deposited per month, and Medishield works as the state’s medical insurance for its citizens, Medifund serves as a form of social protection for citizens who cannot afford to pay their own medical expenses.

However, the 3M’s are only available to Singaporean citizens. Expatriates or foreigners usually purchase private insurance. This is why some healthcare facilities in Singapore have different rates for citizens and foreigners, with the latter’s of course being higher.

3. Singapore’s government emphasizes cleanliness and health awareness towards its citizens. Cultural notions of individual responsibility drive citizens not just to get healthcare, but also to keep their environment clean. This means that outbreaks of potentially life-threatening diseases such as influenza are minimized.

Singapore also benefits from strict laws and health codes with an emphasis on hygiene, and families are encouraged to follow precautions as well as to take vaccines.

Recently, Singapore’s Public Hygiene Council initiated the Keep Singapore Clean Movement, which aims to keep the general environment free from littering.

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