Singapore

KKH airs San Diego Zoo TV channel to encourage child patients

Neha, a young elephant at the Singapore Zoo, is at risk of getting a viral disease and has to be pricked by a needle regularly as part of its routine health check-up.

Its story is one that young patients at KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH) can relate to and even learn from.

By showing how Neha overcomes its fear through conditioning, KKH hopes the children undergoing similar ordeals can be inspired by the elephant's resilience.

It is such inspiring animal-care stories that the San Diego Zoo has been trying to bring to TV screens in hospitals worldwide.

It has teamed up with KKH and Wildlife Reserves Singapore to introduce San Diego Zoo Kids for the first time in Asia.

This is a closed-circuit television channel offering family-friendly, entertaining and educational programming centred on creatures at the Singapore Zoo, Night Safari, River Safari and Jurong Bird Park.

The channel is available in all paediatric wards at KKH.

"The stories we tell through this channel not only entertain children and their families during a stressful time, but provide a resource of calm and comfort for the young patients," said Mr Douglas Myers, the president and chief executive officer of San Diego Zoo Global.

The venture uses the San Diego team's expertise in creating child-friendly animal content to make local wildlife more relatable to children.

The channel debuted at Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego in 2013 and has since been installed in countries such as the US, Australia, Pakistan and Canada.

The channel is funded by San Diego Zoo Global.

KKH announced the collaboration yesterday, inviting Singapore Zoo staff and also some animals - a ferret, cockatoo, bearded dragon and a hedgehog - to the hospital to meet the young patients. - RACHAEL SEOW

MEDICAL & HEALTH