SingHealth group chief executive Ivy Ng said that the donation will help to develop ways to improve healthcare processes. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

The SingHealth Duke-NUS Academic Medical Centre has received a $50 million donation from the philanthropic Lee Foundation, which will go towards supporting healthcare innovation and research efforts.

SingHealth group chief executive Ivy Ng said on Saturday that the donation will help to develop ways to improve healthcare processes and patient experience, as well as leverage new technologies such as digitalisation and artificial intelligence.

“The overall goal is to improve the lives of our patients and to benefit our society,” she added.

The funds will support programmes and initiatives in the centre’s health discovery district, which comprises a group of innovation centres.

The Lee Foundation’s board of directors said: “We believe that what we invest in healthcare innovation today will have a longstanding impact on the health and well-being of generations of Singaporeans to come…We hope that our gift will inspire ideation, accelerate discoveries and fuel cutting-edge advancements in healthcare processes, medical technologies and therapies to make a difference and give hope to patients and their loved ones.”

The donation was made in memory of Mrs Alice Lee, wife of late rubber tycoon Lee Kong Chian, who established the foundation in 1952.

On Saturday, a $9 million donation was also presented to the National Neuroscience Institute at SingHealth and Duke-NUS Medical School’s fund-raising gala at The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore.

Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong was guest of honour at the event, which resumed after a break of more than three years due to the Covid-19 pandemic. About 650 guests, including donors, researchers and healthcare professionals, attended the event.

The $9 million, raised from about 30 donors including SingHealth chairman Cheng Wai Keung, will support the institute’s Ecosystem for Dementia programme to be launched in April.

The three-year programme aims to provide compassionate support such as screening and rehabilitation for dementia patients, their caregivers and families.

One in 10 people above the age of 60 suffers from dementia in Singapore, according to healthcare platform HealthHub.

This comes as the World Health Organisation predicted that by 2040, neurodegenerative diseases like dementia and Parkinson’s disease will overtake cancer to become the second leading cause of death, after cardiovascular disease.

“Many neurological diseases do not have cures currently – these gifts are especially timely as the academic medical centre focuses efforts into tackling age-related diseases and chronic conditions prevalent in our communities to engender a healthier Singapore,” the centre said.

A $5 million donation from the G.K. Goh family will be used to establish a proposed centre for neuroscience research that will allow scientists from Duke-NUS, the National Neuroscience Institute and the academic medical centre to study how the human brain ages as well as degenerative disorders.

The donation was made in honour of Mr Goh Geok Khim, founder and executive chairman of GK Goh Holdings, a Singapore-based investment holding company. He is also a board member of Temasek Foundation.

Duke-NUS Medical School dean Thomas Coffman said the donation will enable scientists to research how to slow the impacts of ageing on the brain.

“Such new knowledge will enable us – and our partners – to deliver innovative bench-to-bedside interventions that improve quality of life for longer, thereby creating new opportunities for people to enjoy life and remain actively engaged in their communities,” he added.