When Madam Salinah Parsiri cradled
the infant in her arms, it was
love at first sight.
The 48-year-old had met baby
Anis Humairah through a foster
care arrangement. Humairah’s biological
family was not able to
care for her, and no one had visited
her at the hospital when she
At six months old, Humairah
underwent genetic testing, which
revealed that she had a rare chromosomal
Madam Salinah was determined
to adopt Humairah into her
Over the years, Madam Salinah
and her family have learnt what
Humairah’s triggers are, such as
loud public announcements and
the texture of sand.
Hence they no longer take Humairah to the beach, onto the
MRT train or into malls so she
would not be overwhelmed.
Today, Humairah is a cheerful
10-year-old with high-functioning
Although she has special needs,
Madam Salinah treats her like any
of her other children and works
hard to meet her needs. She hopes
that Humairah will grow to be an
independent adult and contribute
back to society.
Madam Salinah, who has been a
foster parent to 12 children since
2011, said it is never easy when a
foster child leaves her care.
“It’s emotionally (draining). But
I can’t just close my heart, because
every time one child goes, there
will be space for another one to receive
the same love,” she said.
With the support she receives
from her family, she welcomes the
opportunity to foster more children as long as she is healthy and
able to do so.
Madam Salinah was one of the
recipients of the Singapore Health
Inspirational Patient and Caregiver
Awards (IPCA) 2023 organised by
SingHealth on Monday.
This year’s awards recognised 36
recipients who motivate healthcare
professionals to deliver better
care, and inspire many others with
their tenacity and zest for life.
Ms Elaine Ng, 39, a fellow recipient
of the IPCA, was also awarded
the Partner-in-Care Award.
The Partner-in-Care Award honours
those who have demonstrated
exemplary active partnership with
healthcare teams to improve care
quality and experience.
Ms Ng’s daughter, Sophie, was
born with Netherton syndrome. A
rare genetic disorder that affects
the skin, hair and immune system,
this condition affects only one in
200,000 newborns worldwide.
As Sophie is the only child living in Singapore with this condition,
Ms Ng had to learn how to care for
her through trial and error.
Through independent research,
Ms Ng found overseas support
groups who shared valuable advice
about how to care for people with
Living in Singapore’s climate also
presented unique challenges
which they had to learn to overcome.
“It’s actually a double-edged
sword. The humidity helps to keep
her skin moisturised, but the heat
can cause her to get really itchy. So
it’s hard to find that right balance
of comfort for her,” said Ms Ng.
Despite these challenges, Ms Ng
said that caring for Sophie has
taught her resilience and made her
“I felt a lot more empowered, and
maybe it’s a calling to give the
voiceless a voice. It energises me,
so I think in that sense it’s given me
more purpose in life,” she told The
Over the past three years, Ms Ng has worked closely with specialists
from KK Women’s and Children’s
Hospital as they navigate various
courses of action to treat Sophie’s
Ms Ng is currently an exco member
of the Rare Skin Conditions Society
Singapore. She advocates for
others with rare skin conditions
and serves as an invaluable pillar of
support for many families.
Today, Sophie is a spunky three-year-
old with a big heart. Ms Ng
hopes that Sophie will always be
able to hold her head up high, and
have the grace to treat others with
kindness, even if she is faced with
Congratulating all the award recipients,
Secretary for Health and Law Rahayu
Mahzam, who was the guest
of honour at the event, emphasised
the importance of building a more
resilient ecosystem of care for patients,
families and healthcare
“Just like it takes a village to raise
a child, it takes a village to care for
our vulnerable loved ones,” she
“Let’s all continue to look out for
each other and work together to
make our communities stronger,
healthier and happier.”
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