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New Preventive Care Framework for Migrant Workers' Health Literacy and Chronic Conditions Management

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has developed a new preventive health framework named Project MOCCA (Management of Oral and Chronic Conditions and Ailments) to enhance the care of chronic and oral disease among migrant workers (MWs). This complements other initiatives in the primary healthcare system in building a strong support ecosystem that will care for MWs’ healthcare needs. Some 300,000 MWs stand to benefit from Project MOCCA. 

Preventive Care Framework With Three Key Thrusts

2        The new framework will strengthen the self-management of chronic conditions and health literacy among MWs, by enabling earlier detection and better disease management efforts at primary care touchpoints. This is aligned with the Ministry of Health’s efforts to promote healthier living in Singapore. A healthier migrant workforce will also reduce medical costs in the long run. The Primary Care Plan (PCP) covers early detection of chronic diseases and related follow-up primary care by the Anchor Operators of the Medical Centres for Migrant Workers, so no additional costs from employers are needed.

3        The framework is anchored on three key thrusts which will be implemented together with our Anchor Operators and various community partners, over the next two years:  

Thrust 1: Address knowledge gaps and inculcate healthier practices:

  • To promote adoption of healthier lifestyles among MWs, we will use an omni-channel approach to step up educational efforts to raise health literacy. We launched a one-stop Health Library for MWs to access materials on chronic and infectious diseases, oral and mental health diseases, and nutrition in their native languages. This will be reinforced by roadshows to equip MWs with knowledge on preventing chronic, oral and infectious diseases. For example, we piloted a basic dental education and awareness programme with the National University of Singapore to educate 200 migrant workers on the importance of good oral health and good oral hygiene habits. These complement ongoing events that are organised by our Non-Governmental Organisations and community partners. We will also continue to disseminate educational advisories and resources in MWs’ native languages.  

Thrust 2: Detect and manage risk factors

  • To allow for early detection of chronic diseases and timely intervention, MWs enrolled on the PCP and who are aged 40 years and above, as well as those with pre-existing risk factors such as family history, can undergo an annual basic screening for cardiovascular risk factors. Those identified with a chronic condition will receive timely medical care and be monitored under their enrolled Anchor Operator. As part of the overall health intervention, Anchor Operators will also educate MWs on understanding and managing their chronic conditions through self-care tips and healthy lifestyle habits.  
  • We will also build the capabilities of Anchor Operators to design and deliver healthcare interventions for unhealthy lifestyle habits. As a start, we will focus on alcohol or tobacco usage, as their prolonged usage have an adverse impact to health such as increased risk to various forms of cancer and cardiovascular diseases.   

Thrust 3: Treat and control disease progression

  • While most MWs with chronic conditions will be managed within the primary care touch points, some MWs may develop complex chronic health conditions or complications over time. Hence, to provide continued medical support and optimise disease control, we will implement referral pathways between anchor operators and tertiary healthcare institutions, and work with healthcare teams for post-discharge case management.

Strengthening Healthcare Resilience Amongst Migrant Workers 

4            “Project MOCCA is an important part of our efforts to strengthen healthcare resilience for our migrant workers. Early detection, preventive health education and good management of chronic diseases will complement other existing primary care support for our migrant workers’ physical health and well-being,” said Senior Minister of State for Manpower, Dr Koh Poh Koon. “We will continue to provide good care for our migrant workers with the collective support from the community, Non-Governmental Organisations and their employers.