It was not an unfamiliar sight to see a sea of blue shirts thronging NKF’s event grounds. These are Cognizant’s staff volunteering their time to support NKF’s events. Since 2017, Cognizant’s volunteers have mobilised teams to support events such as the Kidney Care Conference and Flag Days, visited the dialysis centres to bring joy and warmth to patients, and so much more. Cognizant’s footprints are everywhere. Most recently, one of Cognizant’s staff, under the training and tutelage of NKF’s Dietetics team, conducted an in-house health talk to advocate healthy eating. To-date, more than 100 Cognizant staff have volunteered with NKF and actively advocate NKF’s cause.
“Cognizant’s staff are quite familiar with NKF as they have helped at NKF’s events for several years. In 2019, when NKF was seeking volunteers to organise anniversary celebrations at their dialysis centres, I thought it opportune to expose them to NKF’s patients so that they could meet the people they have been indirectly helping. The experience proved to be an extremely impactful one as many were touched by the interactions and realised the importance of keeping themselves healthy. This further entrenched Cognizant to NKF and propelled our partnership in giving life and hope to NKF’s patients.”
– Ms Pratibha Kurnool, Head of Global Community Impact and APAC Lead, ESG – Outreach, Cognizant
For Dr Tim Xu, his journey started with stumbling into NKF’s office. In a literal sense. A passionate advocate for heightening awareness of fall risks in the community, Dr Xu, an experienced occupational therapist and an assistant professor at the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT), was illustrating to the Volunteer Management team how to reduce the extent of injuries through simple body manoeuvrings. This started a beautiful five-year partnership between NKF and SIT. Not only did he provide guidance in the formation of the Fall Prevention Programme in NKF, he also mobilised and trained his students to be fall risk ambassadors to perform home visits to help reduce fall hazards in patients’ homes. He was a guest speaker during the Fall Prevention Awareness Week in 2019 and in June last year, started a series of activity surveys at three dialysis centres to assess patients’ needs so as to curate programmes that would be more attuned to their interests and abilities. More than 100 SIT students have been involved in NKF’s programmes to-date.
“Reducing community frailty is a collective effort. Especially for NKF’s patients who are immunocompromised and exhibit higher frailty due to their health challenges, reducing their fall risks is an important component to helping them remain independent in self-care and lead a reasonable quality of life. By having our students involved in the programmes we run with NKF, we can imbue and inculcate a sense of empathy in them and allow them the platform to exercise what they have learnt in theory in school. We hope that through such exposures, we can have more community therapists in future to help support the sick and frail.”
– Dr Tim Xu
Today, both Pratibha and Dr Xu have taken on a much larger role with NKF. Appointed as the Chairperson and Vice Chairperson of NKF’s Volunteer Committee (VC) respectively, they are on a mission to help steer the future direction of volunteerism in NKF. “As a VC, we want to understand what the unmet needs are in the post-covid world and how we can better support volunteers and patients in their journey,” says Pratibha, who is taking on this responsibility outside of her Cognizant responsibilities.