02 December 2021
20,500 oximeters will be provided by Temasek Foundation to all NTWU’s union members as a gesture of appreciation for their contributions during the COVID-19 pandemic
The National Transport Workers’ Union (NTWU) has partnered Temasek Foundation to provide 20,500 oximeters to its members to promote regular self-monitoring of their health and in recognition of their efforts as frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The handover ceremony was held today at SMRT Bishan Depot, during which Mr Koo Tsai Kee, Board Director of Temasek Foundation presented the oximeters to Mr Melvin Yong, Executive Secretary of NTWU. This was followed by a training session for union leaders on the benefits and proper usage of the oximeters.
Mr Melvin Yong, Executive Secretary of NTWU, said, “We appreciate the generosity of Temasek Foundation and its recognition of our frontline public transport workers who have been working tirelessly to ensure the smooth operations of our public transport system. As frontline workers, our members are more exposed and therefore more vulnerable to the virus. Some of our bus captains contracted COVID-19 when the virus was spreading across the bus interchanges a few months ago. We are glad to hear that they have recovered and returned to work. We hope that these oximeters will help our members monitor their blood oxygen levels regularly as part of efforts to maintain one’s health. The NTWU will continue to work towards ensuring a safe workplace for our transport workers and enhancing their welfare.”
This partnership between NTWU and Temasek Foundation highlights the importance of staying vigilant and helping the community stay safe, even as we transition towards living with COVID-19. “Silent pneumonia” is one of the most serious consequences of COVID-19, where those who may be ill can feel generally well, despite damaged lungs and dangerously low levels of oxygen. Regular monitoring of blood oxygen levels, such as through the use of oximeters, can help alert users to seek prompt medical attention.
Mr Koo Tsai Kee, Board Director of Temasek Foundation, said, “The COVID-19 situation is evolving and we must continue to remain vigilant. One way to help our community be more COVID-19 resilient is to self-monitor our health. In addition to steps like mask wearing and hand washing, let us learn how to regularly use an oximeter to alert us to seek medical assistance when our normal blood oxygen level drops. We hope that with our small gesture can provide our transport workers with a peace of mind even as they put themselves out on the frontline to provide essential services to the public.”
“As public transport frontline workers, we have to remain cautious and vigilant to protect ourselves and our community. With the oximeters, we will be able to better monitor our health on a regular basis and seek medical attention promptly. We are grateful for the support from Temasek Foundation, and especially the NTWU that has worked towards protecting our welfare during this challenging period.” said Ibrahim Bin Mohd, Senior Station Manager with SMRT.
In addition to the oximeters, NTWU will also be distributing a gift pack to its members as a further gesture of appreciation in December. As part of NTWU’s efforts to support public transport workers during COVID-19, the Union has rolled out various initiatives to ensure their well-being and boost morale. Some of the initiatives include arranging alternative accommodation for bus captains affected by the travel restrictions, designating NTWU canteens as on-site Staff Eating Areas, and offering promotional $2 meals to members at NTWU canteens located islandwide. The NTWU canteens have also been providing herbal tea to members on every last Friday of the month since March 2020.