My kids were very prone to coughs. After spending hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars on PDs, I looked into Traditional Chinese Medicine – TCM for kids. I asked around and it seemed that the only reputable TCM for children was Yu Guo but it was at Kembangan – nowhere near my place! So what alternative TCM for kids were there?
Last year, there was a time when our whole family was down with cough. Hubby suggested we visited Singapore Chung Hwa Medical Institution (中华医院). We went to Yishun branch which was the nearest branch to our place.
Initially I was a bit reluctant to bring the kids there because… Isn’t it a place for old people? Are you sure they will see kids? But eventually I was convinced by
the cheap bill my hubby to go. I not only brought the kids there, I decided to try it out for myself too. My first visit to TCM! But bear in mind that I was a cynic then.
When I was registering the kid, the receptionist asked me, “你要看儿科专科吗？” (Do you want to see pediatric specialist?) I was like, what? There’s pediatric specialist? Of course I said YES! However, to see the pediatric specialist, the consultation fee was $13 instead of the usual $3. Still much cheaper than PDs.
While waiting for our turn, I glanced at the noticeboard in the clinic, and there was a notice regarding Pediatrics services available: Cough, Asthma, Allergic Rhinitis, Poor Appetite, (not sure what #6 is, if you know please leave a comment, TQ), Poor digestion resulting in diarrhea / constipation, Poor bladder control, (not sure what is 夜啼 in English).
Effectiveness of the medicine
3+ year old MF took his medicine cooperatively and his cough recovered! But 1+ year old MY refused to take his medicine and we were like forcing it down his throat and he spilt / puked out half of it each time. In the end the medicine did not seem to do anything for MY.
When we saw the doctor, she told us very frankly that if the kid refuses to take the medicine, we would just have to go back to Western medicine. I asked if we could add things to make it sweeter but she said it would cause the medicine to be less effective. She tried to use ingredients that were sweeter (I tried the kids’ medicine – it was definitely sweeter than my own yucky bitter medicine!) but still MY hated it.
In conclusion, I felt that the TCM is good if the kid is willing to take the medicine. Bear in mind that we are talking about drinking 20ml of medicine each time. It is not like western medicine, where you can just stuff 2.5ml of medicine using a syringe into the mouth of your screaming kid. In TCM, your kid needs to cooperatively drink down 20ml of medicine at one go.
Since I also saw the same doctor and tried the medicine, I must say that it was highly effective for me! Ever since then, I have been going to Singapore Chung Hwa Medical Institution every time I fell sick. I tried seeing other doctors there, but the medicines they concocted were not as effective as the one given by 胡明珠医师.
Consultation Fees & Hours
According to the above notice, Pediatric specialization was only available on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, 9am to 12.30pm.
However, here is a copy of the doctor’s schedule I found on the noticeboard:
Notice that 胡明珠医师 is there everyday (Mon – Sat), not just during pediatric hours? So I learned the trick – go and look for her when it is NOT pediatric hours! On Tue / Thur / Sat 9am to 12.30pm, her consultation fee is $13. But if you look for her outside those time slots, consultation is only $3.
胡明珠医师 also does cupping and acupuncture, on top of pediatrics. Hence, there was usually a long waiting time to see her. I have found the clinic to be much less crowded in the afternoon. I once brought MF on a weekday morning and we waited 2 hours! My advise is to go on weekday afternoons at 1.30pm sharp. Once when I did that, I only waited 10 minutes.
The clinic was very near Northpoint Shopping Centre, so check with the receptionist what’s the approximate waiting time. You can go shopping while waiting.
Singapore Chung Hwa Medical Institution is a non-profit charitable organization that runs on public donations. Hence, you will realize that the consultation fee and medicine is very cheap. (A typical visit will cost $3 for consultation and about $6 for medicine.)
However, since our whole family has been benefiting from the institution, we usually drop a few dollars into the donation box whenever we visit. If you have also benefited from their medical service, feel free to do the same so that more people can benefit.
Information on Singapore Chung Hwa Medical Institution
Address: BLK 215 Yishun Street 21 #01-301 Singapore 760215
(You are advised to call the clinic beforehand to check if the doctor you wish to see is around, just in case she is on leave.)
Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday 9am to 12.30pm / 1.30pm – 5pm / 7pm – 9pm
Official website: Homepage
[Disclaimer: I am not a health expert. I am merely sharing my experience with this clinic. I do not guarantee that TCM is safe or will work for you or your kids.]