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News from Member Organisations December 2020 - Singapore

For the first time in 45 years, we conducted our AGM via a virtual platform.

During the circuit breaker period in Singapore (measures to minimise further spread of COVID-19), the Singapore Association of Occupational Therapists conducted the Annual General Meeting (AGM) via virtual platform (Zoom) in mid-June 2020. The nomination process for council members started several months prior, and the profiles of the nominees were shared to all existing members online via social media platforms. To ensure that the nomination and voting process were carried out effectively, a workflow was developed to facilitate the verification of members’ attendance using breakout rooms. Each practice we did provided us with more information about the timing and coordination needed to run a virtual AGM with high accountability. Despite the disruption caused by the pandemic, our virtual AGM had the largest number of attendees in history!

During the circuit breaker period, the Singapore Association of Occupational Therapists developed a telehealth practice guideline for occupational therapists, to support practitioners who had to shift most, if not all of their clinical work online. The guideline is available on SAOT’s website (https://www.saot.org.sg/ot-practice). To tap into collective knowledge of the OT community, we had also conducted a telerehab discussion session, where therapists from the acute and the community settings shared their success stories on the implementation of telerehab during the pandemic. To help practitioners stay abreast with the changes, SAOT provided regular updates and circulars from the Ministry of Health of Singapore and relevant organisations regarding the provision of services and provided additional information regarding the COVID-19 budget to support occupational therapists who are self-employed or in the private practice. The occupational therapists in Singapore actively provided their support for COVID-19 related matters such as hand-making transport shields for patients with COVID-19, and contributed to swabbing duties in the emergency department, dormitories, and hotels.

Singapore Graduates Her First 4-Year Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Occupational Therapy.

In 1992, Occupational Therapy education in Singapore started with a 3-Year programme at Nanyang Polytechnic. The Singapore government approved the transition from a 3-Year to 4-Year Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Occupational Therapy in 2016 at the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT), Singapore’s University of Applied Learning. 53 of the pioneer cohort graduated in September 2020 joining the 1277 strong occupational therapy community in Singapore (December 2019, AHPC Annual Report). Singapore’s Occupational Therapy only educational programme is ideally situated in SIT as the university’s mission is to nurture and develop individuals to impact society in meaningful ways. In the health sciences, SIT also offers programmes in Speech and Language Therapy, Physiotherapy, Diagnostic Radiography, Dietetics and Nutrition. SIT’s BSc(Hons)(Occupational Therapy) was WFOT approved in 2018.