SINGAPORE - Senior staff nurse Peng Cheng Yu, 25, is so passionate about serving the homeless that some of them have become her friends whom she invited to her wedding.

As one of Singapore General Hospital's community nurses, Ms Peng serves many elderly residents from lower socio-economic backgrounds with complex or chronic medical conditions.

She volunteered with the Homeless Hearts of Singapore in 2017. While in theUnited States in 2019, she took the opportunity to visit various street ministries to learn how to serve the urban poor more holistically.

"I find delight in my work because it gives me opportunity to serve the poor and bridge the gap in healthcare...I'm grateful and humbled to receive this award," Ms Peng said.

Her dedication, selflessness and compassion made her one of the 95 recipients of the 17th Healthcare Humanity Awards on Tuesday (Dec 8), organised by the Courage Fund. The fund was launched in 2003 to raise money for severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) patients and healthcare workers.

The annual award pays tribute to exemplary healthcare workers, caregivers and volunteers who go the extra mile for the needy. Eight of the 95 recipients got Honourable Mention, while the remaining 87 received awards across various categories.\

President Halimah Yacob, who is the patron of the Courage Fund, said at the virtual ceremony: "The Healthcare Humanity Awards started in 2004, a year after Singapore faced the Sars crisis. Poignantly, almost two decades since, our country is battling another public health crisis - Covid-19.

"A national threat demands a national response. I am especially proud to see more volunteers stepping up to support patient care within our healthcare establishments. They contribute to a holistic defence, reminding us of the essence of true humanity," she said during the virtual ceremony which was also attended by Health Minister Gan Kim Yong.

Associate Professor Lim Poh Lian, director of the National Centre for Infectious Diseases' High Level Isolation Unit, was one of the eight people who received Honorary Mention.

Prof Lim, who is also senior consultant and head of Travellers' Health & Vaccination Clinic at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, has been at the front line in fighting the coronavirus. She is part of the 14-member expert committee on Covid-19 vaccination which advises the Government on strategies to ensure the safe and effective use of vaccines in the population.

Besides a medallion, those who received Honourable Mention also got a cash reward of $2,000 each, while the rest received $1,500 each.