Investment in healthcare makes a big difference; child deaths have been halved, HIV infections decreased by more than 40% and more than 6 million cases of malaria have been prevented. UN SDG 3 is a call to action to end the epidemics of AIDS, TB, malaria and other communicable diseases as well as to achieve universal health coverage and providing access to safe and effective medicines and vaccines for all by 203043.
The quality of Singapore healthcare is top-notch. Yet cost is an issue, and access to medical subsidies can be difficult. While there are various schemes – Medisave, MediShield Life, Medifund, ElderShield, CHAS, MFAC, MFEC – introduced to help Singaporeans manage healthcare costs, these have not translated to a well-supported system for healthcare financing. According to a 2012 Mindshare survey, 72% of Singaporeans believe that they “cannot afford to get sick these days due to high medical costs”.
Consultants Jeremy Lim and Manav Saxena also reported that “in an analysis of admissions to a large restructured hospital by the Department of Economics at NUS, it was found that almost half the elderly had tapped on their children’s Medisave accounts to pay for their hospitalisation expenses.”46
For schemes such as MFAC and MFEC for low-income families and individuals, they are means-tested and the latter scheme is available only for residents at VWO sheltered homes or disability homes.47
- 72% of Singaporeans believe “we cannot afford to get sick these days due to high medical costs”.44
- Low-income workers are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes when they put in more than 55 hours per week.45
- A hospital stay to treat diabetes, in a C-class ward, can cost patients S$4500 or more