AMF, ESM Goh launch S$5m fund for Singapore seniors affected by Covid-19

THE Asian Medical Foundation (AMF) and Emeritus Senior Minister (ESM) Goh Chok Tong have launched a S$5 million fund to help needy and vulnerable Singaporean seniors whose lives and livelihoods have been affected by the novel coronavirus.

The fund received contributions from several "prominent" Singaporean businessmen who wish to remain anonymous, the institution of public character said on Monday.

Mr Goh, who AMF said inspired the fund, will serve as the fund's patron.

The new AMF Silver Care Fund will support two causes. The first is the S$3.5 million AMF Elder Voucher, whereby needy and vulnerable seniors will receive vouchers to buy food supplies and household items.

The foundation will work with government agencies to identify these seniors. They would be those who have little to no family support, are in frail health or require financial assistance, AMF said. It aims to reach out to about 30,000 seniors through this scheme. More details will be announced when the programme starts in September this year.

The second cause is AMF Elder Health, which will use S$1.5 million of the fund to support pilot projects that aim to improve seniors' access to healthcare as well as enhance their physical and mental wellbeing.

The first slate of pilot projects will provide resources to strengthen caregivers' access to medical escort and respite care services, as well as implement telehealth solutions in the community for seniors with chronic yet stable conditions.

To start, AMF will pilot the Caregiver Support Network - a programme launched in January 2020 - with community stakeholders in the Marine Parade group representation constituency.

The foundation will also support Elder Health pilot projects in the Kampong Glam constituency, where Raffles Hospital is located.

AMF added that it is in discussions with other healthcare partners to set up telehealth pilots in selected HDB towns.

Mr Goh said he has encouraged AMF to go beyond one-off projects and build on pilot projects to do more in other parts of Singapore.

"I hope other successful businessmen will follow AMF's example and help other vulnerable Singaporeans affected badly by Covid-19," he said.

AMF chairman Loo Choon Yong said: "The foundation has always focused on helping the poor and underprivileged, (and) we intend to direct more support towards vulnerable seniors during this challenging period."

AMF was established in 2003 by a group of doctors, nurses and employees at mainboard-listed Raffles Medical Group, and has since expanded to include public volunteers. It aims to help needy patients who require medical treatment, and provide funding for community projects.