We had a group of Ngee Ann Polytechnic Life Sciences & Chemical Technology student volunteers who accompanied us for several of the interviews. Their comments and reflections (unvarnished) are provided below:
My experience with volunteering in the SG50 Infectious Diseases Project was a memorable one no doubt. I enjoyed listening in on professors, doctors and other medical professionals talk about the history of infectious diseases in Singapore as well as their aspirations for this sector to continue to grow and develop in the future. As much as I enjoyed the experience, there were also factors which made the journey somewhat frustrating. For one, a lack of communication between the film crew, student volunteers (us) and the accompanying doctor made it difficult to coordinate meeting points and times. There were also times where interviews were scheduled without prior notice which lead to other complications as well. Despite the hiccups, I am definitely grateful for the opportunity to participate in this project. It opened my eyes to various issues; especially in the case of stigmatisation faced by TB and HIV patients as well as the lack of research into communicable and non-communicable diseases as a whole.
For this project, we worked together with our school’s very own media production team (NP CampusTV), mainly helping with the interpretation of medical lingo so the media team could better understand what the eminent interviewees were sharing.
It was certainly my honour to be able to contribute to this project. Although it meant sacrificing some time from my term break, I decided to join because I felt that it would be a great way to educate the general public about the importance of Infectious Diseases here in our nation, for it is imperative for us as a nation to continue to keep our eyes on this emerging sector. It would also be a great way to commemorate SG50, in conjunction with Science@50, as well as celebrate our nation’s development to a top-notch medical hub.
Through the many interviews with healthcare professionals who have handled infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, I was able to take away valuable experience about their own humble thoughts and insights – things that can only be heard from themselves. This was accompanied by deepened knowledge of factual tasks conducted during an outbreak, which no doubt will come in use should I choose to pursue such a career in the future.
Another opportunity I was privileged to experience is the visit to restricted areas during the course of the project. From past TB-isolation wards to present medical laboratories, I could see for myself firsthand the intrinsic operations in the medical world. It was certainly an eye-opener which served to further deepen my fascination in medical and life sciences.
I feel very honoured to be part of the project team. This project has helped me to gain valuable insights and invaluable experiences. Through this project, I got to know more about the job scope of various people, as well as understand their importance in the healthcare sector, like in the control and monitoring of various infectious diseases. I also got a chance to visit places that I have never visited before, like the microbiology laboratory in Singapore General Hospital, where sophisticated, state of the art laboratory equipment that I have never seen before were used.
Another place that we had visited during this project that has left a deep impression on me was the trip to Ward 75, tuberculosis ward, where tuberculosis patients were housed at. The siege of tuberculosis had debilitated most of the patients there completely. It was quite a depressing sight.
I also got to hear from the medical professionals themselves as they share about infectious diseases. For instance, they shared about the strategies taken by them that are fundamental in controlling the spread of infectious disease, as well as the government’s involvement in helping them do so.
I feel very thankful to be provided with this opportunity to visit these places and hear from the interviewees. It has indeed broadened my horizons, further motivated me to work hard and reaffirmed my decision to pursue a career in the medical field in the near future.
My experience taking part in the SG50 Infectious diseases project is one I will never forget. Despite the long journeys and lack of communication between us and the camera crew, I enjoyed all the interview I stood in for as it made me gain a lot of knowledge of what it was like to be in the infectious diseases line of work. It was nice to have been able to talk to some of the retired doctors and nurses and also hear their stories about Singapore in the past. I particularly enjoyed standing in during the interview with a HIV patient at the Communicable Diseases Centre (CDC). I got very attached to the CDC as I thought it was a unique disease centre and most of the interviews I stood in for was at the CDC. It is unfortunate that they are moving to a new building soon. I am grateful that my lecturer asked me to take part in this project.