VISION OF THE FUTURE多一分光明
Eye doctor Ho Ching Lin plans charity events to promote the development of the healthcare charity culture and safeguard future generations by funding research眼科医生胡庆麟不仅行医，也策划慈善活动，推动本地医疗慈善文化发展，也投资于医疗研究的未来。
Dr Ho Ching Lin is an ophthalmologist with an eye towards caring for less fortunate patients. A senior consultant and director of Singapore National Eye Centre’s (SNEC) Glaucoma Department, she is also SNEC’s head of charity and chair of the Lions SaveSight Centre’s board of directors.
One of her roles as SNEC’s head of charity include helming the organising committee for the charity ball, Eye Ball, held by the SNEC and the Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI). Proceeds from the ball go towards the Visionsave campaign launched last year.
Healthcare charity is very important issue. Said Dr Ho: “The need for healthcare services will increase in the future with Singapore’s ageing population. However, healthcare benefits from the government cannot be increased infinitely. Hence, we need to harness more charity resources to help those in need.”
However, healthcare charity is in its infancy in Singapore, unlike in Western countries where dedicated teams at healthcare institutions plan charity projects and run day-to-day operations. Without someone with charisma and energy at the helm, many initiatives would probably stall.
Dr Ho is an ideal choice to front SNEC’s charity endeavours because she is active on the social scene and has built a strong social network and reputation.
On her experience in organising charity events over the years, she said: “I used to think charity is about asking others for help. But it is really something that opens up more opportunities for doing good. Everyone has kindness in them but some people may not know how to put their intention into action. On top of that, there are many ways to do good besides just making monetary donations. One can organise events, or take part in education and awareness programmes. There are so many ways to contribute.”
Dr Ho, who will turn 49 in August, has worked in public healthcare for many years and treats a wide range of patients, from infants to the elderly, with many of her patients from South-east Asia, while others come all the way from Europe and the United States.
A specialist in treating glaucoma, a condition that can lead to permanent blindness, she often gets anxious patients asking her questions like: “How long more do I have before I go blind? Should I work on my bucket list now?”
As their doctor, she aims to help them prolong their vision for as long as possible. When she hears patients say that they are now able to see more clearly and that their quality of life has improved, it gives her the the satisfaction and motivation to keep on going no matter how much work she has or how challenging her work is.
Working in a public healthcare institution suits her, she said. It provides access to the latest medical techniques and technologies as well as the opportunity to cultivate the next generation of healthcare professionals — she is also adjunct associate professor at the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School where she trains aspiring ophthalmologists.
Working in public healthcare also offers her many avenues to take part in meaningful initiatives to help financially disadvantaged patients.
Said Dr Ho: “If I were in private practice, I would have to consider the clinic’s bottomline and might not have the resources to help patients who are unable to afford medical care.”
She holds specialist qualifications in two areas. After graduating from the National University of Singapore’s School of Medicine, she completed her residency as a paediatrician before moving on to ophthalmology. Only three in 10 physicians move on to specialist training after completing medical school and those who hold dual specialist qualifications are far and few in between.
She has also studied paediatric glaucoma and glaucoma complications in adults at Harvard Medical School. Her son, an only child, was only eight months old when she travelled to Harvard. Today, he is 15.
Her dedication to clinical work and her passion is clear for all to see, winning her praise from many a patient. In May, a reader wrote in to Lianhe Zaobao to thank SNEC’s healthcare personnel for their dedicated care, specifically naming Dr Ho in the letter.
Dr Ho packs an impressive amount of activity in her day, which begins as early as 7am. Lunchtimes and afternoons might be taken up by meetings and she knocks off between 6pm and 8pm. If she gets to leave the office early, she has dinner with her family, or hits the gym before attending social events.
A gymnast as a child, she now tries to do yoga three times a week because “it relaxes me and helps me to recharge. It keeps me body limber and gives me strength and stamina,” she said.
“The need for healthcare services will increase in the future with Singapore’s ageing population. However, healthcare benefits from the government cannot be increased infinitely. Hence, we need to harness more charity resources to help those in need.”
胡医生也是SNEC的慈善总监，以及国际狮子会旗下狮子护眼中心（Lions SaveSight Centre）董事会主席。她还是SNEC及新加坡眼科研究院主办的慈善晚宴Eye Ball的筹委会主席。去年推出的Visionsave保护视力慈善运动是慈善晚宴筹款支持的重点项目。