Stanley Sia FCPA works tirelessly to make sure healthcare charity SATA CommHealth's strategy and operations remain well equipped to handle the challenges of an ageing population and the pandemic.
By Katie Langmore
It can feel a little humbling talking to Stanley Sia FCPA, both about his voluntary work and about his career.
Not yet 50, Sia is already co-head of Standard Chartered Bank’s Digital Channels and Data Analytics for the Asia region, plus chair of SATA CommHealth, one of Singapore’s largest health charities. He also served on the CPA Australia’s Singapore Divisional Council for six years.
Impressive, but Sia makes it all sound within reach. “I think people self-sanction and feel they’re not qualified [to join a board], but the truth is you’d be surprised how much you bring to the table.”
SATA CommHealth was initially set up as a charity to help fight tuberculosis, with mobile buses equipped with X-rays providing community outreach. It has now evolved to provide heavily subsidised healthcare services to the elderly and vulnerable.
Sia was initially invited to join SATA CommHealth’s investment and finance committee in 2012. He then became the committee’s chair and, in 2020, was invited to become chair of the charity itself.
In his role, Sia drives the broad strategies for the organisation, while also liaising with government departments and agencies, alongside the private sector, for branding, corporate social responsibility, donations and collaborations.
“It actually takes up a lot of time, but I must say, it’s enjoyable,” says Sia. “One of the great things about volunteering is you get so much out of it yourself. To give your time and then see the impact, it’s very rewarding.”
Sia proudly shares that, in 2020, the organisation’s 200 staff provided services and care to 76,000 people, a dramatic increase from 42,000 in 2019.
“We expect this figure to rise to 100,000 in 2021,” he says. “Singapore has a rapidly ageing population, and it’s essential we support our seniors – especially those most vulnerable.”
Since the onset of COVID-19, the organisation has also stepped up to support the community response, sending staff to the “frontlines”, to work side by side with hospital healthcare workers.
“Singapore saw a significant increase in COVID-19 cases in the first and second quarters of 2020, largely due to the spread of the virus among its migrant workers. The country has a sizeable migrant worker population, who are housed in accommodations that limit social distancing,” he explains.
SATA CommHealth responded to the crisis well, Sia says, “with our healthcare teams going out to serve these migrant workers in their dorms, our radiographers working on our mobile X-ray buses and our nurses involved in massive swab testing operations last year”.
“I’m very proud of the work our team does,” says Sia, adding that he recently took two days leave from the bank to meet the organisation’s doctors and nurses on the ground and check in with their mental health during this difficult time.
Sia says his interest in seniors’ healthcare has grown during his time with the charity. As a digital specialist, he has spent much time thinking about how technology can be used to manage risk and improve the delivery of health services.
To this end, since becoming chair, he has spent 18 months putting in place robust risk management processes to secure the organisation’s medical data, and has brought telehealth – an essential during lockdown – to the beneficiaries, loaning tablets to patients to ensure they can receive healthcare remotely.
With his time as chair nearing its end, there is little doubt Sia will continue to do important voluntary work alongside his busy career – and any charity would be lucky to have him.
About SATA CommHealth
SATA CommHealth provides subsidised care to Singapore’s seniors and most vulnerable through medical centres and mobile outreach, with services including homecare, doctors-on-wheels and rehabilitation.
The organisation was set up in 1947 as Singapore Anti-Tuberculosis Association, to help address the major health threat in post-war Singapore by providing X-ray facilities for communities.