Fighting Infectious Diseases with “Heroes Fund”

Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC)  and Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI) have recently launched the Heroes Fund to deal with the ongoing crisis of COVID-19 and other highly infectious diseases. It aims to raise S$1 million by 31 January 2021 to strengthen Singapore’s defence against epidemics. The Heroes Fund is part of the VisionSave campaign, a philanthropic drive spearheaded by SNEC and SERI, as part of the commitment to save sight and improve the lives of patients suffering from debilitating eye diseases. The donations garnered will translate into innovation, medicine and care that will ensure the most optimal outcome for every patient.

How the donations will be used

Named in honour of SNEC and SERI’s frontline medical workers, the fund will support the centre’s healthcare workforce by providing them with quality training, tools, innovations and new models of care in the field of Ophthalmology.

While COVID-19 remains, there are many patients who are also suffering from eye diseases that may lead to vision loss. This is why it is critical that we focus on new ways to approach the crisis and with better preparedness. The funds will greatly enable us to improve on our clinical care processes and to develop cutting-edge research as we move forward” said Adjunct Associate Professor Ho Ching Lin, Director of Philanthropy, SNEC.

Donations garnered from the Heroes Fund will go towards 3 areas as follows:

1. Redefining clinical care to meet the urgent needs of patients

SNEC has in place upcoming plans to offer value-driven and cost-effective care to minimise the risk of contagion in clinics and waiting areas. When an infectious disease outbreak, medical facilities and staff become the first line of defence. An overwhelmed healthcare workforce, thus, becomes a major issue faced in a pandemic. To counter this, the Heroes Fund will help to support the development of new models of care to ensure patients can receive optimal care while reducing congestion at clinics. Innovative steps that have been taken at SNEC include the use of technology to conduct tele-consultations for glaucoma patients. The centre has also implemented a home monitoring service in an effort to decrease non-essential visits and proactively detect those who may experience severe visual symptoms and prevent blindness.

2. Drive cutting-edge research to keep the COVID-19 virus at bay

Everyday is an opportunity to discover more about the COVID-19 virus and one step closer to a vaccine. As more studies and research are conducted, medical researchers from SERI have found that while infections from viruses like SARS and ZIKA are detectable through human tears, it is still largely unknown if that is the case for COVID-19. Tears could be a quick and non-invasive way to detect COVID-19 infections and vaccines could be administered through eye drops when it is proven. In a race against time, the fund will support this study and a breakthrough in this area would greatly lift the burden on healthcare services.

3. Maximising healthcare knowledge for a future-ready frontline

For healthcare workers to be better prepared for the new normal, the funds raised will help to develop e-learning programmes that facilitate undisrupted training and upgrading of skills. Healthcare workers will be able to expand their capabilities while conducting ground-breaking research by attending training and continuous learning programmes. This ensures that the heroes behind the scenes can complete their training and acquire the skills needed to treat increasingly complex eye diseases to give patients a better quality of life.

How to donate

Members of the public can either make a corporate, personal or anonymous donation to the Heroes Fund by completing the Heroes Fund donation form here and mailing it or visit the online campaign website at

All donations received are managed by SingHealth Fund (SHF), an institution of Public Character.

Images: Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC)


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