Overcoming Infectious Diseases in Singapore: Past, Present & Future

Singapore is a young nation at the crossroads of Asia and her people have faced the threat of infectious diseases since her founding. These diseases have changed over time, but what the common binding thread is that the people of Singapore have unceasingly worked together to overcome these diseases. We have collected stories and records that will remind us how far the nation has progressed, how we have contributed to global and regional health, and how hard-won is the protection from infectious diseases that many take for granted today.

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An aerial view of the Kranji Water Reclamation Plant

(Credit: PUB Singapore)

Used water level sensors

(Credit: PUB Singapore)

Blood agar plate haemolysis by Vibrio cholerae colonies

(Credit: Diagnostic Bacteriology, SGH)

Yellow colonies of Vibrio cholerae on thiosulfate-citrate-bile salts-sucrose agar

(Credit: Diagnostic Bacteriology, SGH)

Alpha hemolysis on blood agar plate caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae colonies

(Credit: Diagnostic Bacteriology, SGH)

Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) screening plate

(Credit: Diagnostic Bacteriology, SGH)

Non-lactose-fermenting colonies of Salmonella typhi on a MacConkey agar plate

(Credit: Diagnostic Bacteriology, SGH)

Photo of Dr Moses Yu (retired) at his home, August 2015.

He was the first locally trained clinical microbiologist in Singapore. He became the Assistant Director of Medical Services at MOH in 1985.

A nurse being administered the hepatitis B vaccine in the early 1980s.

(Credit: Dr Oon Chong Jin)

Case count of tuberculosis in different parts of Singapore, 2011

(Credit: Dr Sourav Das)

Prof Lim Kok Ann in his younger days, with one of the major passions of his life

(Credit: Family of Prof Lim Kok Ann)

Singapore infectious diseases pioneers in Los Angeles during the ICAAC conference in 1992. Clockwise: Dr Leo Yee Sin (standing), Dr Helen Oh, Dr Lam Mun San, Dr Brenda Ang, and Dr Wong Sin Yew

(Credit: Dr David Allen)

Mr Tan Gee Paw, chairman of the Public Utilities Board

Dr David Allen, father of the infectious diseases specialty in Singapore, in his younger days

(Credit: Dr David Allen)

A/Prof Koh Tse Hsien and Ms Ong Lan Huay at the Diagnostic Bacteriology Laboratory at Singapore General Hospital

This is our attempt to document the major infectious diseases that have afflicted Singapore and that have largely been contained over time.

About This Project

Official Launch

The launch of our project took place on 28 December 2015 at the TTSH Theatrette. The occasion was graced by many of our pioneers and current experts in infectious diseases and public health. Our Minister of State for the ministries of Communications & Information and Health was the guest of honour.


We have currently finished shooting all the interviews and here is a first cut preview of the documentary.

SG50 Book Printing and Press Check

Went down to the printers for the press check of our SG50 book this morning. The books are being printed by Markono, a local printing company that has been around since 2 years after Singapore’s independence. It was quite an interesting and enlightening experience to see how books (and journals) are printed, and to get an idea of the different types of printing available nowadays (digital vs. inkjet vs. conventional).

View the post here

Video Interviews

We were able to conduct a large number of interviews in a relatively short period of time thanks to the kind support of our interviewees, as well as the tireless work of our video team.

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