Designatory Letters: 
MB Malaya 1952, MRCP Edin 1959, FRCP Edin 1971

Dr Sivakami Devi was consultant physician at the Tan Tock Seng Hospital, a public hospital in Singapore. She obtained her MRCP (Edin) in 1959 and FRCP (Edin) in 1971. She contributed much to the care of the sick, especially patients with tuberculosis. As a member of the Singapore Tuberculosis Research Committee, she played an important role in the research of anti-tuberculosis drugs in collaboration with the British Medical Research Council under Professor Wallace Fox. Landmark papers were published including short course regimens which are standard therapy today.

In addition to clinical practice, Dr Devi’s strength was in health administration. In 1971 she was appointed Medical Superintendent of the Singapore Health Ministry’s Outpatient Services which operated a network of 27 clinics providing primary care at subsidized fees.

She was later appointed to the position of Deputy Director of Medical Services, Primary Health Care and Health Education Division, Ministry of Health. In this role she had oversight of the Outpatient Services as well as the Maternal & Child Health Services, School Health Services and Health Education Department. She was concurrently appointed Chairperson, Singapore Family Planning & Population Board. During this period, Dr Devi initiated several programmes to improve services at primary care level. A nurse practitioner scheme was introduced to provide primary care at an intermediate level. This enabled patients with chronic diseases to have a longer contact time with a health professional. The Polyclinic Building Programme was implemented in 1977 to replace the small and old outpatient clinics and maternal & child health clinics with a new generation of polyclinics. These polyclinics are one-stop health centres with up-to-date facilities and a wide range of services for the whole family.

The Home Nursing Foundation, a non-governmental organization providing care for the elderly in their own home, was established in 1976. Dr Devi was the Deputy Chairman of the Foundation.

Dr Devi’s patients, friends, colleagues and family members benefited from her care and concern. She was always there to help anyone who needed to be seen, treated and referred for further care. She was a good listener and counsellor.

Dr Devi retired from service in 1985 after an illustrious career.

She leaves a husband Nataraja Sundram Sharma.

Contributed by YC Chee