Want better health? It requires ‘gotong royong’ effort: Masagos

“Health is each of our personal responsibility,” said Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs and Second Minister for Health Masagos Zulkifli at the M3 Saham Kesihatan Family Festival yesterday (Mar 12, 2023).

“It is an Amanah — a moral responsibility of fulfilling our obligations — to keep ourselves healthy so that we can prevent the onset of chronic diseases and lead a better quality of life.”

Small lifestyle changes can help this trust-building journey: Drinking plain water, for example. Taking the stairs instead of the lifts too.

And while health is our personal responsibility, promoting a healthy lifestyle to the community, well, requires a whole community’s — or gotong royong — effort.

Hence the addition of community health as a fifth Focus Area to M3, the MUIS, MENDAKI and MESRA partnership which serves the needs and aspirations of the Malay/Muslim community.

At the same time, 13 partners from across M3@Towns and Malay/Muslim organisations are coming on board the Saham Kesihatan health programme. That is quite a few steps closer to a healthier Singapore.

Community health is M3’s fifth focus

M3’s existing coordinated community efforts include working together to strengthen families, supporting ex-offenders, empowering and mentoring youth, and facilitating good employment.

Source: M3

“Beyond these areas, we must also take care of ourselves and our health. Thus, we will add a fifth Focus Area — community health.” said Minister Masagos.

“A steering committee will be set up to oversee this, led by Mdm Rahayu Mahzam, Senior Parliamentary Secretary of Health. Fellow Malay/Muslim advisors Dr Wan Rizal Wan Zakariah and Ms Nadia Ahmad Samdin will also be on the Steering Committee, and MOH [Ministry of Health] and HPB [Health Promotion Board] will be providing support.

This builds upon other targeted Government efforts.

“In the past year, the Jaga Kesihatan and Jaga Ummah (JKJU) network and HPB [Health Promotion Board] collectively reached out to over 29,000 Malay/Muslim residents who have taken part in healthy living programmes including physical activities, health talks and functional screenings,” said the Minister.

“But we must get more of our community to take charge of their health.”

Brisk walking, hiking, yoga — and more fun

No wonder the PAP Government is expanding Saham Kesihatan’s partnerships then. Currently, Saham Kesihatan allows interest groups to hold activities such as group exercises.

“Two successful pilots have been conducted in M3@Towns, in Jurong and Tampines, in 2022,” said Minister Masagos.

“These form the many building blocks of the new Focus Area on Community Health.”

“I am heartened to announce that 13 partners from M3@Towns and Malay/Muslim Organisations, which include MENDAKI and MUIS will be coming on board Saham Kesihatan,” he added.

“These partners will collaborate with HPB to tap on a range of health promotion programmes, facilities and services offered, as well as to track their health by monitoring their Body Mass Index (BMI), blood glucose and cholesterol levels.” 

For example, where brisk walking is the most popular exercise in Singapore, MENDAKI organises brisk walking, futsal and Zumba classes, with about 100 staff participating monthly.

Hiking, yoga and other activities great for all age groups will be added to these fun, footloose options under Saham Kesihatan.

Source: MENDAKI / Facebook

These partnerships are in line with how the HPB and its community partners empower Singaporeans towards healthier living habits and better health overall — a Healthier SG does mean a thriving family and community after all.  

“Health promotion requires a whole community’s effort,” said Minister Masagos.

“I encourage the M3@Towns, MENDAKI and MUIS to lead by example and work with HPB to begin their own Saham Kesihatan programme for their communities. Together, we can motivate one another to start leading healthier lifestyles.”

Cover photo credit: OTH IG