PASSION OF ONE
The idea of forming
an organisation to reach out to and help diabetes patients began
stirring in the mind of Dr Frederick Tan Bock Yam more than 40
His interest in
diabetes developed when he had to treat diabetic patients at The
Singapore General Hospital, where he was attached to after graduation.
In those days, patients had poor knowledge of their condition
or how to treat their diabetes.
postgraduate studies in the United Kingdom led him to the work
with two eminent endocrinologists - the late Professor Sir Derrick
Dunlop the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh, Scotland and the late Professor
Sir Russell Fraser at the Hammersmith Postgraduate School of Medicine,
London, England. It was during this time that he learned about
the programmes of the British Diabetic Association, which further
sparked his interest in diabetes.
He was also inspired
by his great-grandfather, the late philantrhopist Tan Tock Seng,
founder of Tan Tock Seng Hospital, to do something for the sick.
After several years of planning, the non-profit organisation was
finally registered as the Diabetic Society of Singapore (DSS)
on 25 September 1971.
OUTREACH TO MANY
The earliest educational
meetings and self-care courses were held at the conference room
of Alexandra Hospital until 1974. Other venues were the Lee Kong
Chian Hall of The Singapore Council of Social Service in Penang
Lane, function rooms in various hotels and Mount Alvernia Hospital.
The Society was temporarily housed in a room rented from The Singapore
Council of Social Service from February 1976 until 1993. In 1993,
DSS moved to its present headquarters at Ang Mo Kio Community
On February 22,
1998, a satellite centre, the DSS Sembawang-Hong Kah Diabetes
Education and Care Centre, was officially opened by then Deputy
Prime Minister, Dr Tony Tan, at the Hong Kah West Community Club.
This centre has helped facilitate access to services for the residents
in Jurong, such as counselling, health education, checks on blood
sugar and cholesterol.
In September 2006,
a spanking new centre – more aptly named South-West Diabetes
and Education Care Centre - was unveiled after the addition of
a new resource and activity area to accommodate more information
materials, workshops and programmes.
In 2002, a second centre was set up in another strategic location.
Dr Lee Boon Yang officially opened the Central Singapore Diabetes
Education & Care Centre at Boon Keng Road.
STRENGTH TO STRENGTH
In 1977, DSS acquired
full membership in the International Diabetes Federation (IDF),
Western Pacific Region. The Society was able to send representatives
to meetings held every three years in different cities since 1976.
In 1999, DSS was elected the secretariat of the IDF-Western Pacific
Region. In line with the IDF, the Society has observed World Diabetes
Day annually since 1991 with talks, lectures and exhibitions for
members as well as the public.
Education has always been the key objective of the society. Its
quarterly publication, DMLife, was recently revamped in October
2006 to usher in Diabetes Singapore – so called to reflect
its growing role as the voice of diabetes in Singapore. The publication
continues to be distributed free to all members and will focus
on lifestyle changes, diabetes self-care skills and topical news
The Society organises public forums six to seven times a year
at hotels. They are conducted by leading local specialists and
visiting experts and have been well-attended and well-received
by the public. Such forums – which are conducted in English,
Mandarin, Malay or Tamil - have successfully reached out to people
of all races and all walks of life.
|11 Jun 1971
||Inaugural Meeting of DSS.
|25 Sep 1971
||DSS registered as a non-profit
||Membership: The Singapore
Council of Social Service.
|1 Jan 1977
Diabetes Federation (IDF).
||Membership: Community Chest
||DSS celebrates World Diabetes
Day for the first time.
||21st Anniversary celebration,
attended by distinguished guests worldwide.
|17 Dec 1993
||DSS HQ opens at the Ang Mo
Kio Community Hospital.
||DSS Founder Dr Tan Bock Yam
steps down as head of DSS after 22 years of service.
||DSS holds its first children’s
|22 Feb 1998
||Deputy Prime Minister, Dr
Tony Tan, opens the DSS Sembawang-Hong Kah Diabetes Education
and Care Centre.
||DSS is elected secretariat
of the International Diabetes Foundation-Western Pacific Region.
||Dr Lee Boon Yang opens Central
Diabetes Education and Care Centre opens at Boon Keng Road.
||DSS formally recognises 23
diabetes nurse educators.