The Business Times (13 February 2020)
COMPANIES in Singapore have rallied together to show appreciation for healthcare staff on the frontlines of battling the Covid-19.
Some corporates have started delivering hot meals, snacks and beverages to the Singapore General Hospital (SGH), Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) and the National University Hospital (NUH), hoping to boost the morale of those working there – doctors, nurses, ambulance drivers, cleaners and administrators.
"We are just doing a small part to encourage the frontline medical staff at TTSH-NCID (National Centre for Infectious Diseases) and NUH. We want them to enjoy a good meal in the midst of handling this virus situation,"" said Amy Ng, Mapletree’s regional chief executive for South-east Asia and group retail.
On Wednesday, the real estate giant sent some 200 bento boxes to TTSH and will continue to do so daily till next Friday. The group will do likewise for NUH from Thursday onwards till next Friday.
Private property developer Far East Organization will carry on the initiative, supplying meals to the two hospitals the week after, from Feb 24 to Feb 28.
Over at TSMP, managing partner Stefanie Yuen-Thio said she is co-ordinating an effort to send 100 packed lunches daily to SGH. These meals, she says, are sponsored by various family offices, lawyers and other professionals who reached out to chip in.
The law firm also delivered 2,000 packets of salted fish skin to SGH on Wednesday in a joint effort with gourmet snack company Golden Duck. Ms Yuen-Thio told The Business Times that the same delivery to Tan Tock Seng Hospital will follow next week.
"We are heartened to receive such sweet and appreciative gestures from members of the public and organisations,"" said Dominic Tung, assistant director of human resource in TTSH.
"These are morale boosters for our frontline staff and the various departments within our main hospital and NCID who are tirelessly working to ensure that patients and staff are well taken care of in this global fight against Covid-19,’’ he said, adding that they are grateful to all donors and well-wishers.
Beverage companies Yeo Hiap Seng, Tiger Sugar, Red Bull and Monster Energy have also been sending their drinks to hospitals, staff at TTSH and SGH confirmed. ComfortDelgro has pledged an initial 1,000 taxi vouchers.
Mumtaj Ibrahim, SGH’s senior community relations manager, said: “Singaporeans have shown that they are a very gracious lot through their outpouring of support, with many looking at different ways to recognise healthcare workers, and we appreciate that."
Drinks, food and snacks that companies have sent over are things that our staff really appreciate, she added.
Since last week, schools and individuals have also taken to the hospitals’ Facebook pages to send encouraging notes and video messages to frontline staff, which Ms Ibrahim says is very heartwarming.
Ground-up initiatives have also been set up by StandUpFor.SG on its Facebook page to share notes of encouragement with healthcare workers, through the hashtag #braveheartsg.
The Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) has meanwhile set up the Sayang Sayang Fund to provide support for frontline healthcare workers as well as vulnerable communities impacted by the Covid-19 outbreak.
"Many people have approached us asking how they can help. They want to recognise and show appreciation to the healthcare staff who work tirelessly during this period of the novel coronavirus outbreak," said Catherine Loh, chief executive of CFS.
CFS has secured S$84,000 in donations to-date. The first S$250,000 raised will be given in the form of S$5 transport vouchers to healthcare frontline staff in public healthcare institutions such as hospitals and polyclinics to ease their commute to and from work, said CFS.
ComfortDelGro, the first transport provider to support the fund, has pledged an initial batch of 1,000 taxi vouchers.
"We read with some distress that healthcare staff in uniforms have been ostracised, not just by the public but by the cabbies. Whilst we have yet to receive any complaints about such incidents, we want to reinforce the message that we appreciate all that the medical profession has been doing. Our gesture is small compared to what they have been contributing on a daily basis,’’ said Tammy Tan, group chief corporate communications officer of ComfortDelGro Corporation Ltd.