Brave Woman Snippets: featuring Ida Simmons

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 Featuring Ida Simmons as a Brave Women
The photo was taken from the Ministry of Health. (1997). More than a Calling: Nursing in Singapore Since 1885 Singapore: Ministry of Health.
The first public health nurse of Singapore- Ida M. M. Simmons. She came from Scotland and joined the Straits Settlements Medical Department in December 1926. She introduced infant and maternal health services in Singapore.

Infant mortality was high in 1927, 263 of every 1000 babies in Singapore died in their first year. In the Malay community, 300 of every 1000 babies died. Ida picked up the language of Malay and went to every Village to unravel the cause of the high mortality rate of the infants. A mobile dispensary was launched by the health department to aid with Ida’s work. These Vehicles would take Ida to various locations during her house calls. Transporting those in need medical attention or bringing doctors to the house. In 1927 the medical team reduced the infant mortality rate to 57 per 1000 babies that year an exceptional record.

Welfare centres In Singapore in the 1930s -  By 1930, welfare centres had been established. These centres provided the community in Singapore, health education, medical check-ups, free milk and referrals to hospitals. Ida was promoted to Public Health Matron in 1934.

During the Second War World, Singapore fell under the Japanese Occupation from 1942 to 1945 during the war Ida served at Sime Road Camp. After the war, she rebuilt the infant health services which had been neglected during the war resulting in high infant mortality rates which declined after the health services resumed.

There were 15 such centres by the time Ida retired in 1948, she returned to England. She later moved to Scotland, where she died in 1958.

Honestly Brave would like to say a huge thank you to all front line medical staff who are working tirelessly against the Covid-19 Coronavirus. Please treat all medical staff with the respect, they deserve, without our medical heroes, our nation's healthcare would be in distress.

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