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Remarks By Mr Desmond Lee, Minister For National Development and Minister-In-Charge For Social Services Integration at Stroke Support Station's (S3) World Stroke Day on 29 October 2023

Type: Official Speeches (All), Official Speeches: Desmond Lee

Topic(s): Disability Services, Social Service Agencies & Partners

Ms Chang Hwee Nee, Chairman of S3

Mr Patrick Tay, Advisor to Pioneer SMC

Distinguished guests

Ladies and gentlemen,

1.      Good afternoon. I join all of you today to commemorate World Stroke Day with Stroke Support Station or S3.  I am very happy to be back here again to see the wonderful work you’ve been doing the past few years. 

2.      In fact, when I joined you in 2019 during the opening of S3’s second rehabilitation and wellness centre at Jurong Point, I was greeted by the warmth of stroke survivors as well as their caregivers, and maybe tainted by their positive disposition, strength, fortitude, and just the strong desire to be the best they could be. Thank you for being with us today, and for your unwavering commitment to the well-being of stroke survivors and their families. 

3.      As the only stroke-focused rehabilitation centre in the community, you offer innovative and accessible resources as well as personalised and convenient care to stroke survivors and their families. 

4.      S3 has certainly gone beyond being a rehabilitation centre, which means you step in, and you go beyond stepping in to help stroke survivors and caregivers with their journey forward. Over the years, you have also become an active ageing centre in Pioneer. So, even as you support stroke recovery, you are also going further upstream to try to reduce the risk of stroke in the community in the first place. This is especially important as Singapore rapidly ages.

5.      When S3 was first set up in 2016, you were responding to the challenges faced by stroke survivors. These include cognitive impairment, emotional and psychosocial difficulties, and social isolation. Today, your Wellness programme continues to evolve to serve the community of seniors right here in Jurong.

6.      Besides creating a positive impact on the lives of seniors, you have also fostered an ecosystem where stroke survivors and seniors get to meet, share their experiences, and support each other not just physically but most importantly, emotionally.

7.      Your transformation is crucial to meeting the changing needs of the community. With our ageing population and rising health challenges, there is an increased pressure on our healthcare system. 

  • In 2020, close to 9,000 stroke cases were reported, marking a 50% increase compared to 10 years ago. One out of four cases involved individuals in their 50s and younger. So you see a younger profile of Singaporeans being affected.
  • A study in 2013 revealed that almost one-fifth of stroke survivors were re-hospitalised due to stroke recurrence within five years of their initial stroke. 
  • These numbers underscore the scale of the issue. 
8.      So S3's emphasis on preventive healthcare as well as engaging seniors aligns with the Government's Healthier SG and Age Well SG initiatives. As we provide support to stroke survivors and their caregivers, the Government is equally committed to engage the public on the importance of prevention. This includes raising awareness about the signs, symptoms, and risk factors of stroke, as well as encouraging more people to make healthy lifestyle choices such as adopting a low sodium diet and preventing hypertension to lower their risk of stroke. In fact, I have a group of very passionate young people from NUS School of Medicine, School of Nursing from a polytechnic, physiotherapy therapist students from SIT, medical social worker trainees and more, all the nearby Boon Lay CC yesterday and today, doing outreach. They went door-to-door to reach out to hundreds of families, and if they meet certain profiles of risk, they invited them down to do comprehensive screening. In fact, at one of the stations yesterday, I spoke to one of the station volunteers led by a healthcare professional who told me that she was worried because she picked up a lot of the potential cases and they were oblivious to the risks they were in. So it is important to do that and get as many people as possible to do screening, to make deliberate changes to lifestyle, and not wait for things to happen.
9.      Before I conclude, I would like to acknowledge the outstanding legacy left by S3’s founder, the late Mrs Teo Poh Yim. Under Mrs Teo's leadership, S3 recognised the demands of the recovery journey, as well as the multi-faceted needs of stroke survivors and their caregivers. The resonance of her vision is even more profound as we gather today to continue the important work she initiated. 

10.      As we commemorate World Stroke Day, let us remember that stroke is a condition that can hit any one of us or our loved ones. Nevertheless, we can take action and adopt healthy lifestyle habits to lower our risk of stroke and other chronic diseases. Let us work hand in hand, knowing that together, we can change lives and create a better, brighter and healthier tomorrow. Thank you.