SINGAPORE: More young people appear to be turning to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) to treat infertility, according to Thong Chai Medical Institution.
Patients can now visit Thong Chai’s two new clinics in Sengkang and Ang Mo Kio for free TCM consultations and prescriptions.
The new clinics will help to meet increased demand, as the medical institution marks 145 years of providing free treatment to the public.
In recent years, Thong Chai’s patient numbers have grown from 700 patients daily to over 1,000.
One in five is below 30 years old. Most of them seek treatment for infertility, a service which was started in 1986, Thong Chai said.
In the past two years, Thong Chai saw a 37 per cent increase in such patients. It now sees about 110 couples a week, compared to 80 in 2010.
Thong Chai said this was due to better publicity, rather than free treatments.
It noted that over the past two years, about 15 babies were conceived each year through its infertility treatment.
However, the institution could not confirm whether its patients also sought treatment elsewhere.
The medical centre said patients usually make generous donations after treatments. It added that most of the patients had visited hospitals in Singapore before seeking treatment at Thong Chai.
The institution also provides acupuncture as well as treatments for cancer, diabetes and high—blood pressure.
To meet the increased patient numbers, Thong Chai has opened two more free clinics at Sengkang and Ang Mo Kio. It said its team of 33 physicians can now see up to 1,000 patients daily.
Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, who officiated at the institution’s anniversary celebration on Monday, said Thong Chai has played a vital complementary role in Singapore’s national healthcare system.
He said: "Thong Chai represents the spirit of generosity which pervades in Singapore since the early days. ... As the Singapore society ages, I think that we do need organisations like Thong Chai to come forward to provide comfort, to provide medical, to complement what the government is doing."
Mr Teo said mutual help, especially for the needy, is an important value of Singapore society.
"Even as we are building more restructured hospitals and community hospitals, there will still be a need for such complementary services as Singapore’s population ages," said Mr Teo.
"These services will help Singaporeans, especially our older citizens, maintain a healthy and well—balanced life, and provide comfort and healing."
Thong Chai was set up as a charitable clinic in 1867 by Chinese migrants.
It provides services ranging from general outpatient treatment and acupuncture to specialised treatment.
The institution’s yearly operating budget is around S$3 million, funded by donations.
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