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FAQs on National Population Health Survey

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1. What are the objectives of the National Population Health Survey?

The primary objective of the National Population Health Survey (NPHS) is to assess the health status of Singapore residents in relation to chronic diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes, and risk factors like smoking and obesity. The survey will help the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Health Promotion Board (HPB) to evaluate existing programmes and develop new programmes to improve the health of Singapore residents.

There are two stages to the survey. In the first stage, selected households will be asked to take part in the NPHS (Household Interview). In the second stage, some of the persons who have completed the NPHS (Household Interview) will be invited to take part in the NPHS (Health Examination).

  • NPHS (Household Interview)

    Company: National University of Singapore (IPS-Social Lab)

    Interviewers from this company will wear an identification tag bearing their name, photograph and the company’s official stamp when conducting the survey. They will also carry a letter of authorisation from MOH and HPB.

  • NPHS (Health Examination)

    Company:  ST Healthcare Pte Ltd

    Respondents will be given an invitation letter for the health examination. They can attend the health examination with their letter of invitation at the designated clinic(s).

2. How do I know whether my household is being selected for the survey?

Households selected for the survey will receive an invitation letter from MOH and HPB before the interviewer’s visit. Authorised survey interviewers will visit the selected households to interview household members.

3. Is the letter sent to households written in English? I am more comfortable reading Chinese/Malay/Tamil than English.

The invitation letter is in four languages – English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil.

4. I have lost the letter sent to my household. Where can I get a copy of the letter?

You can call the HPB hotline at 1800 2231313 or e-mail hpb_nphs@hpb.gov.sg, and we will send another copy of the invitation letter to you.

5. How are households being selected for the survey?

A total of 16,000 households have been randomly selected from the National Database on Dwellings (maintained by the Department of Statistics) to take part in the survey.

6. What should I do if my household is selected for the survey?

An interviewer from National University of Singapore (IPS-Social Lab), commissioned by MOH and HPB, will visit your house to conduct the survey from July 2019 to June 2020. Please extend your co-operation to the interviewer during his/her visit(s) so that the interview for selected household members can be completed as quickly as possible. If the interview for any of the selected household members cannot be completed, the interviewer will ask for another appointment date to visit your house to complete the interview.

7. How do I check the identity of the interviewer who visits my house is authorised to conduct the Survey?

Interviewers visiting your house for the survey will wear an identification tag bearing their name, photograph and the company’s official stamp. They will also carry a letter of authorisation from MOH and HPB. You can contact the HPB hotline at 1800 2231313 (Mon-Fri, 8.30am to 5pm) or our appointed interview company, National University of Singapore (IPS-Social Lab) at 6601 3835 (daily, 9am to 9pm) if you wish to confirm the identity of the interviewer.

8. What will happen during the interviewer’s visit to my house? How long will the interview take?

The interviewer will ask you to list all the household members living at your address.

Next, the interviewer will randomly select one adult household member (‘reference person’) aged 18 to 79 years to take part in the survey. All children aged 3 to 12 years and persons aged 65 years and above (if any) related to this reference person and living at the same address will also be interviewed.

Before starting the interview, the interviewer will obtain written consent from household members.

For selected children (aged 3 to 12 years), the interviewer will conduct face-to-face interview with a parent or guardian of the children.

For selected persons (aged 18 to 20 years), the interviewer will conduct face-to-face interview with the selected persons, after seeking parental consent.

For households with only seniors aged 80 years and older (i.e. no one aged 18 to 79 years live at the address), the interviewer will interview all the seniors living at the address.

If interviews with selected household members cannot be completed on the same day, the interviewer will arrange to visit your house again on another day to complete the interviews. We thank you in advance for your understanding and co-operation.

9. Is the interview only conducted in English?

All interviews can be conducted in English, Mandarin or Malay.

10. Who should I include as household members when asked by the interviewer to list them?

Household members refer to everyone staying at the address for six months or more, who are Singapore Citizens/ Permanent Residents.

Foreign domestic workers, tenants who are foreigners or staying on a short-term basis (less than six months), and friends/ relatives who are staying with the home-owner on a short-term basis (less than six months) should not be included

11. Will the individual information provided by me or my household members be kept confidential?

All information collected for the survey will be kept strictly confidential, and used only for the planning and evaluation of national programmes to improve the health of Singapore residents. To safeguard the information collected for the survey, the research company and interviewers commissioned by MOH and HPB are required to sign undertakings, and seek respondents’ consent for participation. All information collected will also be stored in a secure database separated from the Internet, which is accessible to only authorised personnel. Any information published with regard to the survey will only be in aggregate form, from which no individual information can be identified.

12. What type of questions will be asked in the survey?

The survey will collect demographic information, and will cover a variety of health-related topics on chronic diseases, exercise, health screening, mental well-being, nutrition and smoking. As some of the questions may be personal in nature, we would like to assure you that all information provided will be kept strictly confidential.

13. Do I have to answer all the questions in the survey?

Your views are very important to us and we assure you that any information shared will be kept strictly confidential. You can choose not to answer any question if you do not feel comfortable answering it. You may also choose to stop the interview at any time.

14. My household has been selected for the survey. However, I will be moving out of my current house to a new address soon. Do I still need to take part in the survey?

If the interviewer visits your house before you move to your new address, you are requested to take part in the survey. Should you move to your new address before the interviewer can complete the interview(s) required for your household, please provide your new address and contact number(s) to the interviewer so that he/she could follow up to complete all the required interviews at your new address. We thank you in advance for your co-operation.

If the interviewer has not made any visits to your house by the time you move to your new address, you are not required to take part in the survey.

15. My household has been selected for the survey. However, my household members and I may not be around or we may not be free when the interviewer knocks on our door. What should we do?

If no one is at home when the interviewer visits, the interviewer will leave a note with contact details indicating that he/she has visited your house. Please contact the interviewer to arrange for a convenient interview date and time. Interviews can be arranged on any day, including weekends and Public Holidays, between 10am and 9:30pm.

If you and your household members are not available or need to go out when the interviewer visits your house, please arrange with the interviewer to visit your house at another time or on another day.

16. My household has been selected for the survey. However, I am just a tenant and the home-owner is not living at this address. Do I still need to take part in the survey?

Tenants, who are Singapore Citizens or Permanent Residents staying on a long-term basis (more than six months), are eligible to participate in the survey. Non-residents, as well as homeowners who rent out the whole residential property and do not live there, do not need to take part in the survey.

17. I am selected for the survey. Can I do the interview at another location outside of my home, i.e. other venue?

Yes, we can arrange for you to complete the interview at your preferred location. However, if other members in your household are also selected to take part in the survey, it will be more convenient to do the interview at your home. The interviewer can conduct the interviews on any day, including weekends and Public Holidays, between 10am and 9.30pm, at your convenience. Please contact the appointed interview company, National University of Singapore (IPS-Social Lab) at 6601 3835 to schedule an appointment.

18. My address has been selected for the survey. However, my family and I will be overseas during the survey period stated in the invitation letter.

Please contact the HPB hotline at 1800 2231313 or e-mail hpb_nphs@hpb.gov.sg, and provide your address so that we can inform our appointed interview company on how to assist you on the survey.

19. What are the benefits of my participation in the survey?

Your participation in the survey will help to improve the health of Singapore residents by allowing MOH and HPB to better plan and evaluate national health programmes. Past survey results have been used to plan and improve health screening programmes, and to develop health promotion campaigns. You will also be given a token of appreciation for your participation.

20. I have already completed the survey but was asked to undergo a health examination. What is the objective of this health examination?

All reference persons who have completed the NPHS (Household Interview) will be invited to undergo the NPHS (Health Examination) at a clinic. The objective of the health examination is to collect physical measurements such as your height, weight, hip and waist circumference, and blood pressure, and samples of blood and urine. The blood and urine samples will be sent to a medical laboratory to test for blood sugar, cholesterol, proteins in urine and other conditions.

A full report on your health status will be mailed to you around six weeks after you have completed your health examination. If you wish to find out more about your medical report, please consult your family doctor as the desirable values provided in the report serve only as a guide, and interpreting the results of these tests have to be individualised according to your health state.

Please note the following points when you undergo the health examination. For the results of the blood tests to be accurate and reliable:

  1. Do not eat or drink anything except plain water after 10pm on the night before your appointment. You must not have any breakfast on the morning of your appointment. Drinks such as tea and coffee, and sweets are not allowed but you can continue to drink plain water.
  2. If you are taking medicine for any chronic condition besides diabetes (e.g. high blood pressure, asthma or heart diseases), please continue to take your medicine as directed by your doctor.
  3. If you are a diabetic on medication or insulin injections:
    • Do not take your morning diabetes medication/ injection;
    • Bring the diabetes medication with you to the clinic. Once the blood test is over, take the diabetes medication and have breakfast. Some light snacks will be provided. However, if you have a special dietary requirement, please carry some food with you; and
    • Please inform the person at the survey registration that you are a diabetic patient.
  4. Please wear light and loose clothing with short sleeves, so that the tests can be carried out easily.

While participation in the health examination is voluntary, your cooperation is important to ensure that all the information collected and analysed reflects the health of Singapore residents as reliably and accurately as possible.

21. I have agreed to participate in the health examination but have lost the invitation letter (or instructions for health examination or letter to employer). Where can I get a copy of the letter?

We can re-send a copy of the invitation letter (or instructions for health examination or letter to employer) for the health examination to you. You can call the HPB hotline at 1800 2231313 or e-mail hpb_nphs@hpb.gov.sg, and we will send a copy to you.

22. (For female participants only) I have earlier agreed to participate in the health examination but I just discovered that I am pregnant. Can I still participate in the health examination?

If you are pregnant, you do not need to participate in the health examination. Please notify us via the HPB hotline at 1800 2231313 or e-mail hpb_nphs@hpb.gov.sg.

23. I have agreed to participate in the health examination but I cannot remember if I need to fast for it.

Yes, you need to fast for the health examination. You may refer to Question 20 on what you will need to do before the health examination.

We thank you in advance for your co-operation. If you have any other questions about the National Population Health Survey, please contact us:

  • HPB hotline at 1800 2231313, Monday to Friday (excluding Public Holidays), from 8:30am to 5pm.
  • E-mail: hpb_nphs@hpb.gov.sg