On This Day in History: 18 October, SAMH Founder’s Day

In celebration of St. Andrew’s Mission Hospital (SAMH)’s centenary this year, we have been sharing with you a series of snippets of our illustrious past, significant milestones that helped to shape SAMH into what it is today. In this snippet, we go back to the significant 18 October on which 100 years ago, a spark was ignited at a small medical practice, and over the years the spark grew into flames of comfort and healing, shining bright for the well-being of the community.

“To the Glory of God and for the Relief of Suffering”

Following the establishment of the Diocese of Singapore in 1909, our first Bishop of Singapore, the Right Reverend Charles J. Ferguson-Davie, and his wife, Dr. Charlotte Ferguson-Davie, a medical doctor, arrived in our shores with hearts to serve God’s people.

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Dr. Charlotte Ferguson-Davie – wife of the first Bishop of Singapore, the Rt. Revd. Charles J. Ferguson-Davie; and founder of St. Andrew’s Mission Hospital. Picture here with their daughter, Dorothea Ferguson-Davie.

The Singapore they saw then was an overcrowded, under-developed settlement with poor living conditions and being rife with diseases. While limited western-style medical institutions were available, the local women shunned them due to cultural sensitivities of being assessed by a male doctor.

Dr. Charlotte Ferguson-Davie, who had experience with setting up a medical mission in Malacca and had seen the fruits of the mission’s work, was determined to set up a same ministry in Singapore to combat the plight of the women and children and to share the love of Jesus Christ. Having staffed the dispensary with female doctors, and through the support of donors: St. Andrew’s Cathedral, the Singapore Diocesan Association, Society for Propagation of the Gospel, and various other individual donors, a dispensary was set up at 220 Bencoolen Street. And on this day in history, 18 October 1913, Lady Evelyn Young, wife of the Governor of the Straits Settlements proclaimed: “To the Glory of God, and for the relief of suffering, I declare this dispensary open”.

A Straits Times article reported: “St. Andrew’s Medical Mission … a dispensary for women and children, in charge of medical women and officered by women is now open at 220 Bencoolen Street, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings, from 9 to 12 o’clock. This charity is intended to benefit the poor, and the poor of all races will be treated free. Those who are able to do so will be expected to pay for medicines, and other charges according to circumstances.”

This began a century-long journey of care, comfort and healing by the St. Andrew’s Medical Mission.

Footprints in 100 years

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1913 – 1923: Clinics at Bencoolen Street, Upper Cross Street, Pasir Panjang, New Bridge Road, and River Valley Road
1923 – 1941: St. Andrew’s Mission Hospital for Women and Children, Erskine Road
1939 – 1986: St. Andrew’s Orthopaedic Hospital, Siglap (Elliot Road)
1948 – 1982: St. Andrew’s Mission Hospital for Children, Tanjong Pagar Road
1982 – 1995: St. Andrew’s Mission Hospital Clinic, Tanjong Pagar Road
1992 – 2005: St. Andrew’s Community Hospital, Elliot Road
1996 – 1998: St. Andrew’s Mission Hospital Clinic, Aljunied Road
1998 – 2005: St. Andrew’s Lifestreams, St. Andrew’s Centre (Tanjong Pagar Road)
1999 – 2005: St. Andrew’s Mission Hospital Clinic, Elliot Road
2005 – Present: St. Andrew’s Community Hospital & St. Andrew’s Mission Hospital Clinic, Simei
2006 – Present: St. Andrew’s Lifestreams, St. Andrew’s Village (Francis Thomas Drive)
2011 – Present: St. Andrew’s Autism Centre & St. Andrew’s Mission Hospital Clinic, Elliot Road
2013 – Present: St. Andrew’s Nursing Home, Buangkok View

From Flicker to Flame

The dedicated serving spirit of Dr Charlotte Ferguson-Davie and the staff of the St. Andrew’s Medical Mission resulted in tremendous growth of the medical outreach. Today, the St. Andrew’s Mission Hospital (SAMH) serves the community in areas through its various service arms:
• St. Andrew’s Community Hospital – community healthcare
• St. Andrew’s Lifestreams – care and counselling services
• St. Andrew’s Autism Centre – integrated autism-care services
• St. Andrew’s Nursing Home – psychiatric long-term care (operational by fourth quarter 2013)

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SAMH Clinic (Simei)

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Class in session at St. Andrew’s Autism Centre

While it may seem that SAMH’s stable of services is diverse, there is a common thread that strings these services together – Appropriate and Faithful. At every part of SAMH’s history, it has undertaken steps to remain appropriate in its provision of care to the community – bridging the prevalent need gaps that are being overlooked or difficult to minister to, so as to restore dignity and well-being to those afflicted. Faithful to its mission of being “a light in a dark place, that ignorance will be replace by knowledge and understanding, physical distress by comfort and healing”, SAMH strives to be a testimony to the spirit of Christian love and compassion.

Making history on 18 October

18 October is St. Luke’s Feast Day – a day that the Church commemorates the patron saint of all physicians and surgeons, Saint Luke; and on which prayers are made especially for healthcare professionals and medical missions.

100 years ago, SAMH started its first work on 18 October 1913 by the setting up of our very first dispensary.

Fast forward to 18 October 2006, St. Andrew’s Community Hospital (SACH), the healthcare service of SAMH, was officially opened at Simei. SACH was the first community hospital to be situated next to an acute-care hospital, Changi General Hospital, to provide a seamless, coordinated continuum of care to the patients.

And on this very day, 18 October 2013, we celebrate SAMH’s 100th anniversary and prepare to launch our newest service, the St. Andrew’s Nursing Home (SANH). SANH combines the expertise of SAMH and its sister organisation, Singapore Anglican Community Service, in providing medical care and psychiatric rehabilitation. When operational by the end of 2013, the 300-bedded SANH will be Singapore’s fourth and largest psychiatric long-term care facility. Today, in the same spirit that launched us 100 years ago, we dedicate our service – to the Glory of God, and for the relief of suffering.

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St. Andrew’s Nursing Home (operational by 4Q 2013)

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