SINGAPORE: The issue surrounding the COVID-19 Resilience Medals issued by the Ministry of Health (MOH) has yet to die down, as a healthcare worker account, while acknowledging MOH’s answer to criticism, wondered why at least one prominent doctor was not among the recipients of the medals.
After MOH said that the process of selecting who would receive the medals is a rigorous one, @thehonesthealthcareworker asked in an Instagram post how Dr Sanjeev Shanker, who had been featured in MOH’s COVID-19 vaccine campaign, with his image placed on posters in numerous places, had been left out.
On Dec 18 (Monday), an open letter from a group of medical professionals who had served on the front lines in the pandemic, alleging that they had been left out of the list of awardees who were honoured with the COVID-19 resilience medals, was published on the account.
Two days later, a statement from MOH in response to the open letter was published in TODAY, wherein the ministry said its approach to awarding the medals had been as inclusive as possible, acknowledging that not everyone who had been part of the effort had received the medal.
Health Minister Ong Ye Kung also invited the group members to come forward so that their cases could be looked into, TODAY added.
The group of doctors thanked MOH in a Dec 22 (Friday) IG post for its response but added that they “respectfully disagree” and brought up the case of Dr Shanker, posting a letter he wrote to the Prime Minister’s Office.
“Dr Shanker was an A&E specialist working in Sengkang Hospital’s A&E and NCID’s Covid-19 dedicated clinic. He was one of several Emergency Medicine Specialists at the first Covid facility,” the post reads, adding that the physician had also helped manage one of the first infection outbreaks at a foreign workers’ dormitory.
“No, he didn’t come forward to ask for recognition. We heard he was missed out and yes we have his approval to share his story. And yes, he was forgotten despite meeting all of the above criteria.”
And while “hundreds” of other frontliners did not receive recognition, the post said that the issue “has always been about equal treatment and rightful resignation that those who truly served were there.”
It ended with an appeal for MOH to “create a channel to let all forgotten come forward to be rightfully recognised.”