Helping Prepare Singapore’s Children for Emergencies

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President Tony Tan Keng Yam and Temasek Holdings Chairman Lim Boon Heng Showing Two Young Volunteers from ST Engineering the Correct Way to Wear Face Masks

In April 2015, as a continuation of Temasek Cares’ ‘Stay Prepared’ initiative and to help Singapore’s children be better equipped for emergencies, Temasek Cares distributed AIR+ Smart Mask and AIR+ Micro Ventilators to 13,000 children, aged 7 to 14 years, from low-income families and Children’s Homes. The programme was implemented as a follow up to Temasek Cares’ distribution of N95 masks to all households in Singapore in April 2014, to help better prepare the Singapore community to cope with emergencies such as severe haze and acute flu pandemic.

The AIR+ Smart Mask, designed by Innosparks, an ST Engineering subsidiary, is the first certified N95 mask that comes in three sizes. The smallest size is generally suitable for children aged 7 years old and above. The detachable and rechargeable ventilator can be fastened to the masks to help young children breathe more comfortably.

President Tony Tan Keng Yam visited Melrose Home, one of the Children’s Homes, to give out the masks and ventilators to young residents. He also demonstrated to them the correct way to wear and fasten the masks. Dr Tan took this opportunity to emphasise the need to stay alert and be prepared for unexpected situations.

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About Temasek Cares

Temasek Cares funded by Temasek Trust, the philanthropic arm of Temasek Holdings, aims to help improve the lives of underprivileged individuals, families and communities in Singapore; as well as build the capability and capacity of all people in Singapore to be better prepared for emergencies. Established in 2009, it works in partnership with various voluntary welfare organisation, non-profit organisations, government agencies, ministries and other institutions to support programmes that contribute to the well-being, dignity, livelihood and emergency preparedness of its beneficiaries.

About Singapore’s Preparedness
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), between 2002 and 2003, SARS claimed 774 lives and the H1N1 influenza pandemic of 2009, also called swine flu, killed at least 18,000 people worldwide. As of July 2015, 11,261 people have died of Ebola and 33 of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). However, in a recent interview during a visit to Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) to assess its preparedness in the event of an outbreak, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said, “Given the country’s inter-connectivity and how the virus has been seen in neighbours Malaysia and the Philippines mean Singapore must assume MERS will enter the country.” He added that “Singaporeans should take the health scare seriously but there is no need to panic because preparations have been made.”

Did you know…
For many years, scientists weren’t sure if wearing a mask was effective at preventing the spread of viruses. However, recent studies suggest that when used correctly, masks are highly effective in preventing the spread of viral infections. Family members of children with flu-like illnesses who use masks properly are 80 per cent less likely to be diagnosed with the illness. Further studies have shown that those who wear masks in residence halls and practiced good hand washing reduce their risk of flu-like illness by an astonishing 75 per cent. (Source: International Journal of Infectious Diseases).