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Public Health in Singapore


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The World Health Organization defines public health as “the art and science of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through the organised efforts of society.” These objectives are achieved through a variety of strategies such as patient education, vaccination and preventive medicine.


In Singapore, the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) oversee public health in the areas of public health preparedness, infectious disease prevention and epidemiology, as well as the prevention of transmission of vector borne diseases and keeping public areas clean.


Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Singapore had experienced other infectious disease outbreaks such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003, H1N1 influenza in 2009 and Zika in 2016. These underscored the importance of being vigilant and enhancing capabilities in this area of public health.


MOH set up the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) as a national centre in 2019 to replace the Communicable Disease Centre (CDC) and to strengthen Singapore’s capabilities in infectious disease management and prevention.


This instalment provides a selection of resources on public health and infectious diseases in Singapore.


Books/ Ebooks/ Audiobooks

1. Infectious diseases and Singapore: Past, present and future

Hsu, L.Y. & Pang, V. (2016). Infectious diseases and Singapore: Past, present and future. Singapore: Society of Infectious Disease. Retrieved from OverDrive. (myLibrary ID is required to access this eBook)


2. 10 Lessons in public health

Sommer, A. (2013). 10 Lessons in public health. United States: Johns Hopkins University Press. Retrieved from OverDrive. (myLibrary ID is required to access the eBook and audiobook)


3. Public health: A very short introduction

Berridge, V. (2017). Public health: A very short introduction. London: OUP Oxford. Retrieved from OverDrive. (myLibrary ID is required to access the eBook)



Videos and Podcasts

1. Introduction to public health

Source: Introduction to public health. (2016, June 1). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved 2020, April 2.


2. NCID corporate video

Source: NCID corporate video. (2019, September 8). National Centre for Infectious Diseases. Retrieved 2020, April 2.


3. Public health challenges facing Singapore

Source: Public health challenges facing Singapore. (2011, September 19). Ministry of Health. Retrieved 2020, April 2.


4. Public health surveillance – a brief overview

Source: Public health surveillance – a brief overview. (2017, May 21). Let’s Learn Public Health. Retrieved 2020, April 2.


Websites and articles

1. COVID-19: The response in Singapore

COVID-19: The response in Singapore. (2020, March 11). Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, National University of Singapore. Retrieved 2020, April 2.


2. National Centre for Infectious Diseases

National Centre for Infectious Diseases: Protecting the people of Singapore from infectious diseases. (2019, March 22). National Centre for Infectious Diseases. Retrieved 2020, April 1.


3. Singapore’s preparedness for infectious diseases. 

Singapore’s preparedness for infectious diseases. (2020, February 3). Gov.sg. Retrieved 2020, April 21.


4. New centre to bolster Singapore's infectious disease management

New centre to bolster Singapore’s infectious disease management. (2019, January 16). The Straits Times. Retrieved 2020, April 21.


5. 新加坡公共卫生领域表现全球第一

杨漾。(2017年9月14日)。新加坡公共卫生领域表现全球第一。《联合早报》。Retrieved 2020, April 2.

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in the United States conducted research on public health sustainable development indicators using data obtained from 188 countries dating from 1990 to 2016. Singapore attained the highest overall score.


6. 社论:抓紧契机调整社交习惯

社论:抓紧契机调整社交习惯。(2020年3月7日)。《联合早报》。Retrieved 2020, April 2.

This editorial suggests that the current pandemic is an opportunity to advocate for a change in Singapore’s social habits.


7. Megatrends in infectious diseases: The next 10 to 15 years

Wong, S.Y., & Tan, B.H. (2019). Megatrends in infectious diseases: The next 10 to 15 years. Annals, Academic Medicine Singapore. 48 (6): 188-194. Retrieved 2020, April 1.



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The information in this resource guide is valid as of March 2020 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history on the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic. All Rights Reserved. National Library Board Singapore 2020.

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