Moving to Singapore will no doubt present you with a number of challenges, but there’s no need to be too concerned about health or food safety conditions in the country, nor about finding outstanding medical care. (See Healthcare) Nevertheless, there are some preparations that you can make before the move to ensure that the process for you and your family is as smooth as possible.
If you or your family have pre-existing health issues, it is essential to inform your doctor early about your impending relocation and seek their advice. It is advisable to take copies of your medical records with you (either printed or in electronic form) as this will ensure that when you do need to see a doctor, they will have an understanding of your medical history, including pre-existing conditions, past treatments, and your vaccination history.
If you see a specialist for annual check-ups, it is advisable to schedule a visit before you depart. Although there are outstanding physicians and facilities in Singapore, you might feel more comfortable, at least at first, knowing you have the all-clear from your established specialist before you try to find a comparable professional in Singapore.
Many drugs that you can buy in other countries over the counter require a prescription in Singapore, including oral contraceptives, sedatives, sleeping pills and tranquillisers. It might also be the case that the brands you know are sold under a different name, so always check with the pharmacist.
Additionally, prescriptions from abroad will not be filled in Singapore. You can bring 3 months’ supply with you without the need for approval (provided the medication doesn’t contain controlled substances—see below), although make sure you bring supporting documents, such as a letter from your doctor and/or a copy of the prescription with you to prove that they are for your personal use.
If your medication does contain controlled substances (e.g., codeine, diazepam, morphine, etc.) you will need approval from the Health Services Authority before you arrive in Singapore. This can be done online via their website, where you will also find a list of what are defined as controlled substances.
Once you have arrived and consulted a local doctor, they will be able to prescribe further medication for you. If the required drugs aren’t available in Singapore, they can usually be imported.
Even if you’re covered by your employer’s medical insurance scheme, or have taken out private medical insurance, it can be a good idea nevertheless to look into having some supplementary travel insurance to cover your initial journey to Singapore. It may well be included as part of your relocation expenses, but in the unlikely event that you need it, it may just prove crucial. Travel insurance packages are usually pretty cheap but it could save you a fortune.
Get Your Vaccinations Early
There are no specific vaccinations needed for Singapore. However, it’s a good idea to make sure that your routine vaccinations (e.g., Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Diptheria, Tetanus, Typhoid, etc.) are up to date before you leave. Sometimes, you need to have these vaccinations up to 3 months before you travel, so you should plan ahead and prepare for this.
Singapore is of course a hub for travel throughout Asia and the rest of the world, and so if you plan to travel in the region, look ahead to what vaccinations might be required for entry to those countries.
There have been reported outbreaks of of dengue fever and chikungunya in Singapore. These are viral diseases transmitted by mosquito bites. There are no preventative vaccines available, but you can take precautions against being bitten by using insect repellants, wearing long sleeves and trousers, and making sure that your mosquito screens at home are well-fitted and secure.
Malaria isn’t found in Singapore, so there’s no need to take any preventative medicines, although you might want to discuss this with a doctor if you plan to travel extensively in the region.