Rosalind Zee is Senior Manager at Singapore’s Health Promotion Board (HPB). Before the pandemic, she planned physical activity programmes for seniors under HPB’s Healthy Ageing Programmes Division. But when HPB was appointed as the national agency to support Covid-19 testing, she was deployed to lead as a site manager at Covid-19 screening centres.

Zee oversaw on-the-ground swab test operations at Regional Screening Centres. She was in charge of maintaining strict infection control and managing queues, staff and administrative matters. She also worked with the swab operations planning team to ensure that all test kits from the Regional Screening Centres are accounted for, and responded to feedback and queries from the public. Her work was crucial in realising Singapore’s national testing strategy, so normal activities could resume safely as soon as possible.

“It was quite an experience for me, to get out of my comfort zone, go down to ground zero and work on the frontline,” she says. “It was an eye opener to be able to meet people from all walks of life, everyone playing a different role, but all with the same goal of striving to fulfill their obligation of keeping Singapore safe.”

Zee is now back at the Healthy Ageing Programme, where she serves as the programme lead for Physical Activity (seniors). She sees these community programmes to be “even more important as these can help address seniors’ psychosocial needs,” she shares.

During the lockdown, many seniors may have felt isolated from visiting restrictions. “This reinforces the importance of our work in building up support networks and communities to encourage each other to keep physically and mentally well,” Zee says. Her team is exploring alternative ways to connect with seniors.

Zee also represents HPB in LifeSG, an app which consolidates all the government services citizens would need at each life station. She works with the team to design easier ways for seniors to access information and perform transactions.

Zee spends weekends unwinding with her family and taking her little one to the park. She finds sticking to a daily routine and starting the day right helpful for staying focused and productive. A short stretching session in between Skype meetings helps too.

Like many public officials in the pandemic, Zee stepped out of her comfort zone and into the frontlines to tackle the Covid-19 crisis. Hers is one of many stories about the courage and selflessness that went into the nation’s effort against the pandemic.

Illustrations by Joy Lim