Admissions Blog

Eczema is a chronic itchy skin condition. In most circumstances, it is not fatal and does not result in significant physical morbidity. This has often led the condition to be branded as “benign” by both the medical community as well as the general public. But in reality, it has been shown to have great negative impact on the quality of life of patients, especially when it’s inadequately controlled.

The appearance of lesions as red, oozy and angry makes patients appear to have an infectious condition. This leads to social isolation, teasing and bullying by peers and acquaintances, which may inhibit their activity, play, and social interactions that are fundamental to their development.

To allow patients a chance to better understand their condition, support groups for the condition have been formed by the KKH Dermatology Service and National Skin Centre. The support group conducts biannual Eczema camps. In November 2014, students from the Duke-NUS Dermatology Interest Group joined tertiary students from SMU, NUS Yong Loo Lin and La Salle College of the Arts to organize and help out at the event, held at two locations in Singapore.


Volunteers from the different schools who participated in the camp

The first component was held at Yishun SAFRA. Led by instructors, participants joined in team building games and confidence building “high elements” games. The participants had a lot of fun during this segment of the program. It was great to see that they were not in any way hindered by their condition at all. In fact, some of them successfully navigated the obstacles more effectively than those that were not affected by the condition.

During lunch, there was a talk given on atopic eczema management by an SMU student who had chronic eczema. I personally found the talk the most enriching as she was able to offer a patient’s perspective which is seldom presented. As an active individual, she also showed that one does not need to be limited by atopic dermatitis. She also shared on how she achieved control of her condition by adjusting her physical environment and complying with the advice from clinicians.


An activity on the balancing beam at Yishun SAFRA

The next part of the program was a Barbeque (BBQ) session at the little known Sembawang Park. There were wide playing spaces, greenery, and inundation with constant sea breeze. All the participants helped out in the preparation of food during this session and experienced great joy from the social interaction. Rain came midway into the BBQ, and though it did douse the charcoal flames slightly, the participants were unfazed and hung on to their umbrellas to continue cooking.


Camp participants playing games

As quickly as the event started, it concluded with the young participants playing some old and new childhood games. Laughter was all around and happy appeals were made to know when the next camp would be so that they could join it.

Acknowledgements: We would like to thank Dr Mark Koh and Dr Liew Hui Min and Dr. Chong Jin Ho for giving us the chance to join in the event and Dr Alice Foong for organizing the event and incorporating us into it.

For those interested in participating in future events, you can email me at

By Shunjie Chua (Class of 2015)