Our Public Health Policy in a Nutshell
MAINTAINING A GOOD QUALITY OF LIFE
Public health standards contribute to the quality of life. High public health standards reflect a safe environment for Singaporeans to work and play.
CONTROLLING VECTOR POPULATIONS TO PROTECT PUBLIC HEALTH
Vectors spread diseases among the population by carrying viruses from one person to another. The control of vectors, especially mosquitoes, is one important way of protecting Singaporeans from diseases.
PROTECTING THE PUBLIC FROM SECOND-HAND SMOKE
To protect Singaporeans from the harmful effects of second-hand smoke, the smoking ban was first introduced in October 1970. It has been progressively extended over the years to cover many public places.
Our Key Targets
Maintain a low incidence of vector-borne diseases.
Become a leading regional centre in epidemiological surveillance and research on vector-borne diseases.
Our Main Plans
To achieve high standards of public health, we aim to increase community ownership for public health. The involvement of the wider community and private sector contributes to our public health as we move towards greater self-regulation.
To safeguard the well-being of Singaporeans, we carry out research to study vector-borne diseases and explore better ways to control them.
Smoking harms the health of the smoker. Not only that, people exposed to second-hand smoke in public places are also at risk of the ill effects of smoking.
There are at least 60 cancer-causing chemicals in second-hand smoke. Non-smokers who are exposed to second-hand smoke face higher risks of lung cancer, respiratory tract infections, heart disease as well as eye, nose and throat irritations.
Studies have also shown that pregnant women exposed to second-hand smoke are more likely to have miscarriages or stillbirths.
Although only 10% of Singaporean adults are smokers, anyone in a public space with smokers can be affected by the effects of smoking.
The Ministry takes measures to protect the health of non-smokers through the smoking prohibition act.
Besides having laws in place, smokers must also take responsibility for their own actions and be considerate towards others.
Greater Enforcement Of Ban
The NEA has stepped up its efforts to enforce the smoking ban by conducting daily patrols of various places, including 24-hour food and entertainment outlets. Members of the public can also report smoking violations via NEA's myENV mobile application, or Online Feedback Form.
Extending The Smoking Ban To More Areas
Efforts to protect non-smokers from second-hand smoke began in 1970 when smoking was banned in cinemas, theatres and on omnibuses. Since then, the ban has been extended to more than 49,000 premises, particularly those where it is harder for non-smokers to avoid second-hand smoke. MSE and NEA will continue to consider further extensions of the smoking prohibition from time to time.
The female Aedes aegypti mosquito is the primary vector of dengue in Singapore. When an Aedes mosquito bites an infected person, it can pick up the virus and pass it to the next person it bites. View the map showing areas with relatively higher Aedes aegypti mosquito population, and thus higher risk of dengue transmission.
Residents living in areas with relatively higher Aedes aegypti mosquito populations are urged to help reduce the mosquito population by regularly practising the Mozzie Wipeout 'B-L-O-C-K' steps.
The more severe forms of dengue can be fatal if not treated.
Learn how you can prevent Aedes mosquito breeding at the National Environment Agency (NEA)'s dengue webpage
The Aedes mosquito breeds in stagnant water in man-made habitats. These can be easily found in our environment – such as pails and containers in our homes, tree holes and outdoor drains. Our tropical climate is also conducive to the maturation of the mosquito.
The Disease Is Constantly Among Us
Dengue is endemic in Singapore and the region. This means that the disease is always present, even if it is not always at high levels. To prevent disease transmission, it is important for us to keep mosquito numbers as low as possible at all times.
Receive Alerts On Areas With Higher Aedes Aegypti Mosquito Populations
Download the myENV app and view the Aedes Mosquitoes map, showing areas with relatively high Aedes aegypti mosquito populations. Add locations on the myENV app and set up notifications for Aedes mosquitoes. You will be notified if one of your locations is in an area with higher Aedes population.
NEA is the lead agency that tackles the dengue problem in Singapore. The Ministry coordinates broader efforts across government agencies to stop the spread of dengue fever.
Search And Destroy Operations
Potential breeding spots are sought out and pre-emptively removed.
Develop New Tools
NEA works with researchers to explore new technology to tackle dengue.
Engage The Community
NEA also engages and educates the community on the need to prevent mosquito breeding.
Pests that can carry diseases are also referred to as vectors. Given Singapore’s high population density, any outbreak of vector-borne diseases is likely to spread rapidly. NEA monitors the vector population to make sure that vector-borne diseases here are kept under control.
Tougher, Adaptable Agents Of Disease
Due to the loss of their original habitats from rapid urbanisation, these vectors have quickly adopted alternative breeding grounds in built-up areas. Coupled with increased resistance to pesticides, it is almost impossible to get rid of vectors completely.
New Vector-Borne Diseases
Air travel and trade mean that new vector-borne diseases can spread to Singapore through visiting travellers or returning locals.
Favourable Climate For Breeding
With climate change, increases in temperature and rainfall are expected. This may result in vectors thriving in new locations and maturing faster.
Surveillance And Control
NEA maintains a close watch on the rodent population to keep it under control. Since 01 June 2011, NEA's vector control technicians (VCTs) conduct systematic inspections of both HDB and non-HDB estates island-wide as part of a dedicated rodent surveillance and control team under NEA. Between 2005 and 2007, NEA co-funded a dedicated rodent control programme for HDB estates, termed "Rat Attack". There were three phases in the programme.
For mosquitoes, NEA officers visit premises at least once every 3 to 6 months to check for potential breeding spots and remove existing breeding grounds. NEA also carries out virus surveillance on patient blood samples submitted by healthcare providers, to track the different variations of the dengue virus circulating in the community.
Keeping Dengue At Bay
While we cannot get rid of vectors completely, we have successfully kept outbreaks of diseases at bay.
Since its set up in 2002, NEA’s Environmental Health Institute (EHI) has been conducting research, surveillance and risk assessments on vector-borne diseases such as dengue, chikungunya and malaria. Accurate and rapid diagnosis of such diseases is important as it helps to minimise the chances of transmission.
The Related Laws
CONTROL OF VECTORS AND PESTICIDES ACT (Cap 59)
ENVIRONMENTAL PUBLIC HEALTH ACT (Cap 95)
SMOKING (PROHIBITION IN CERTAIN PLACES) ACT (Cap 310)