Leela Maniam is one of Singapore's earliest specialist Midwife and Registered Nurse – you only need to look at her registration number "RN #1332"! Leela has decades of healthcare experience and provides post-natal care. These days, she continues to share her expertise as an experienced and careful coach for new parents! Leela has had a fascinating lifelong journey as a Caregiver, and we are thrilled to share her story with you today.
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There was a time when Public Health in Singapore meant that nurses had to travel far from hospitals, and deep into jungles and plantations. They carried out immunizations and gave out milk powder and cod liver oil. And that was why Leela found herself delivering a baby at 2am in the morning in the squatter settlement of Bukit Ho Swee, when the infamous Bukit Ho Swee fire broke out, leaving 16,000 people homeless. Thankfully, Leela and the baby were safe! That’s the sort of early training you do not get these days in Singapore.
Leela is one of Singapore’s nation-building pioneers. She enrolled for training at the Singapore General Hospital - then simply known as “General Hospital” – and eventually qualified as a Registered Nurse. Back in those days, her training required her to stay at the Outram Hostel, run by the General Hospital.
As a young nurse, Leela frequently had to perform “field work”, and this meant travelling to villages. Besides carrying out supply runs, nurses in those days went from house to house. They delivered prenatal and postnatal care, and they delivered babies too. Training in Public Health included 10 years of rotating through maternal and childcare clinics. Leela also trained in midwifery at KK Hospital, at a time when midwifery was a compulsory subject for all nurses. Back then, one of the requirements to complete her training as a Midwife was to file ten abnormal cases!
In 1973, Leela completed further training in Ward Administration and became a nursing manager. She later moved to Alexandra Hospital where she worked in the Emergency Ward. Like others of her vintage, Leela knows all about the very interesting stories haunting Alexandra Hospital at the time, “especially when we just took over from the British”. Leela continued at Alexandra Hospital, moving into the field of public relations and hostel administration (for the nurses’ hostel), until her retirement in 1997. She later joined Silver Connection to continue providing her service - backed by decades of hard-earned experience – to Careseekers.
Naturally, Leela continues getting called upon by the hospitals - whether it is the now-rebranded KK Women and Children’s Hospital, or private hospitals such as Thomson Medical Centre, Mount Elizabeth Hospital or Gleneagles Hospitals. These hospitals all generate their own internal administrative circulars leading the wards to call on Leela and other like-minded service providers to handle deliveries – bearing in mind Leela had to rack up 10 abnormal deliveries before she could even be qualified as a Midwife.
Despite her tremendous experience and workload, Leela is modest about the business side of things. Although each case she handles includes a $5 administrative fee, she reveals a happy secret: the office keeps the fee to throw a year-end party for the staff, including all the Midwives!
As a Caregiver, Leela’s passion for her chosen vocation shines through the decades of experience and layer upon layer of training and additional workload she has soldiered through. We salute Leela for her decades of work (chances are, many Singaporeans reading this have been delivered by her). Meanwhile, she remains open for midwifery (pre- and post-natal) engagements.
And with this, we hope to continue to spread the word on the help that is available for Careseekers as well as an open invitation for experienced Caregivers to join the CaregiverAsia community. Caregivers who post services on the CaregiverAsia website practice 100% on their own terms, right down to their availability, and service costing. There are no subscription fees or posting fees for Caregivers. There are many people looking for care services now, so do sign up online on our website, or call +65 6258 6683 to talk to us.
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