"SWAT Team" to Tackle Unusual Infection Outbreaks

The Ministry of Health (MOH) task force looking at ways to improve Singapore’s response to infectious disease outbreaks is also studying the possibility of setting up a national-level “SWAT team” of experts who can be mobilised at a short notice.

Minister of State for Health Chee Hong Tat said on Monday (28 Dec) that it is not feasible for every healthcare facility to have a full-fledged infection control response team that can respond to complex and unusual outbreaks, hence such a team will strengthen Singapore's capabilities to respond to outbreaks.

Mr Chee said: "The “SWAT team” members can come from different institutions in Singapore (in) both public and private sectors. 

"There could be a few full-time members while the rest are experts from our hospitals, universities and government agencies who MOH could call upon and activate during an outbreak."

The "SWAT team" is one of four measures being considered by the task force to help Singapore better respond to unusual infections. 

Other measures being considered include reviewing standard operating procedures, having clearer guidelines and a simplified process of reporting cases, making better use of technology and reviewing the list of notifiable diseases under the Infectious Diseases Act.

What do you think of the measures proposed by the taskforce?

Sources: “'Swat team' may be set up to tackle disease outbreaks” (The Straits Times, 29 Dec 2015), “Task force studying measures to tackle disease outbreaks” (The Straits Times, 29 Dec 2015)

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