SINGAPORE has become one of the world's most popular medical services destinations. In 2000, the World Health Organization (WHO) recognized Singapore as the best medical service provider in Asia and number six in the world.
To date, nine hospitals and two medical clinics have received accreditation from Joint Commission International and seven hospitals have been certified by the International Organization for Standardization.
This is the reason why Norwegian Urshals Rigmor, 64, who had a heart attack while playing golf, entrusted her medical care to a Singapore medical center. She underwent a scan at the Singapore Heart, Stroke and Cancer Centre and was shocked to discover that one of her main arteries was 65 percent clogged. She had no hesitation about undergoing treatment in Singapore and is now totally cured. "Before coming here, I already knew that Singapore has fantastic medical services. But experience made me more confident. Dr. Michael Lim is an expert in his field," said Rigmor in praise of her doctor.
Dr. Lim, the director of the Singapore Heart, Stroke and Cancer Centre, said Rigmor was one of about 4,000 patients that had recently enjoyed the highly sophisticated medical technology over there. Next to practicing in his own clinic, Dr Lim is currently president of the Asian Pacific Society of Cardiology, chancellor at College of the Asian Pacific Society of Cardiology and board member of the World Heart Federation.
"Today, medical science has become quite advanced. While previously we tried to cure heart attacks, today we expect to be able to detect and prevent them. And this is made possible through the use of various sophisticated cardiology technology," said Dr. Lim, who is the only Asian cardiologist to be invited to chair three major cardiology meetings in the world, namely the annual scientific meeting at the American College of Cardiology, the American Heart Association and the European Society of Cardiology.
One of the technological advances is the use of multi-slice computed tomography (MSCT) which replaces the invasive coronary angiography. Next to MSCT, a number of hospitals in Singapore have other highly sophisticated medical equipment. Parkway Health Singapore, for example, is known as one of the leading providers of medical services in the city-state.
Apart from its facilities, which are on a par with a star-rated hotel, Parkway uses Da Vinci Robotic Surgery technology, which gives a three dimensional visual and a view that is enlarged 10 times for complicated and accurate surgery.
Parkway Health is the largest medical service group in Asia and is headquartered in Singapore, with more than 40 years of experience and an expansive network that covers Asia, Europe, North America and the Middle East, and has activities in Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Canada, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, the Philippines, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates, the US and Vietnam.
Currently, Parkway operates 15 hospitals that have more than 43 medical service centers that are supported by 1,300 professional accredited doctors covering 40 specialized medical services. Parkway operates three hospitals in Singapore, namely Gleneagles, Mount Elizabeth and East Shore hospitals.
There are also other hospitals in Singapore known to most of the Indonesian public, namely Raffles Hospital and the Singapore National Eye Centre. All these hospitals are equipped with the latest sophisticated technology and expert doctors that have been trained in the best medical centers in the world. This creates trust in patients.
Raffles Hospital, for example, located on North Bridge Road, is a comfortable and modern hospital with accredited doctors recognized globally. Next to its five-star facilities, the sophisticated medical equipment enables accurate diagnosis. It has various medical services, such as emergency ward, lab, esthetic clinic, cancer clinic, child care, dentist center, eye center, fertility clinic, heart center, internal diseases center, orthopedic center, nursery and physiotherapy clinic.
For surgeries, Raffles Hospital relies on laparoscopy or minimally invasive surgery, which is the trend for future surgeries. In the future, more than 70 percent of surgeries in developed countries will use this technique. "This technique is now more popular, because the scar or the incision is minimal, the operation time is short and recovery is faster," said Dr. Wong Kutt Sing MBBS, FRCS, FRCS, FAMS specialist in general surgery, Raffles Surgery Center, at one seminar.
Laparoscopy is a surgical technique that does not require a large incision on the chest or abdomen. Instead surgery is conducted through a small hole between 2 and 10 millimeters in width. One hole is made to insert a mini camera and two others for the surgery equipment.
As the incisions are quite small, recovery is faster, the procedure is less painful and the patient's hospital stay is shorter. Esthetically it is also better as the scars are minimal. This technique is now widely used in Singapore. "The laparoscopy is mostly used to remove kidney stones, gall bladder, appendix and so forth," explained Dr. Wong Kutt Sing. The eye also receives much medical attention, including the esthetic side.
Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC) has pioneered and is coordinating a special ophthalmology service and has been chosen as one of the national eye centers in Singapore. It provides a quality one-stop service with 450 specialists, paramedics and administrative personnel and currently handles 14,000 major eye surgeries and 13,000 laser procedures annually. This includes more than 10,000 cataract, 7,000 Lasik and 6,000 laser procedures for retinopathy diabetics and glaucoma.
SNEC is one of the world's pioneers in the transplantation of conjunctive cells, which cures patients with problems caused by chemicals use with contact lens and Steven-Johnson syndrome.
The surgeons at SNEC have conducted revolutionary operations, the first "Tooth-in-Eye" (Osteo-odoonto Keratoprostesis) in this part of the world for the recovery of a patient's vision. This complex two-step operation is directed at patients with severe cornea and ocular conditions.
So as you can see, the hospitals in Singapore not only provide world-class services but are also equipped with highly sophisticated equipment supported by expert doctors. The Singapore government also allows progressive steps and breakthroughs in the medical field in the city-state. (Burhan Abe)
The Jakarta Post, February 25, 2010