Ministry of Health (MOH) has launched a health screening for $5 or less, under the Enhanced Screen for Life programme to 1.8 million entitled Singaporeans. The programme will commence in September.
From August, invitation letters will be sent to all Singaporeans age 40 years and older so that they can call any of the more than 1,000 general practice clinics on the Community Health Assist Scheme (Chas) to fix a date to screen for diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, cervical and colorectal cancers.
Eligible Singaporeans would have to pay $5, which covers tests and, should any prove positive, a consultation with a doctor. Without the subsidy, the tests cost about $100.
400,000 pioneers will get the screening for free, while those with the Chas card pay just $2.
“It is good practice for everyone, even if you feel healthy, to go for regular health screenings so that you can detect any health conditions early, and manage the condition well,” Mr Zee Yoong Kang, Health Promotion Board’s (HPB’s) chief executive officer, said.
HPB spokesman told The Straits Times that letters will be sent to elderly first because they are more likely to suffer from chronic medical conditions, adding, “Screening them early enables these Singaporeans to seek treatment and manage their conditions early.”
While all Singaporeans aged 40 years and older will get their invitation by the end of this year and there is no time limit to get screened at the subsidised rate.
He then added that if the screening results are normal, HPB will send invitations when the next recommended screen is due, usually after three years.
The move was taken so that people with chronic diseases would be aware of their diseases before the illnesses get severe and they are able to keep them under control, avoiding them to lead to major health problems.
According to MOH, about a third of diabetics are not aware they have this disease. However, if it is uncontrolled, it could lead to kidney failure, blindness and amputations.
As for cancer, colorectal cancer is the most common for men. While breast cancer is the most common for women.
Many people also suffer from high cholesterol and blood pressure levels which they are unaware of. There were no early symptoms of the situation. However, if it is not controlled, then they are at a high risk of experiencing stroke and blood pressure levels.
A spokesman for MOH then told ST that not all 1.8 million people would need to do all the tests, as some might have been diagnosed and are receiving treatment for some of the conditions.
He added that the test for colorectal cancer is only for people aged 50 years and older, and the pap smear for cervical cancer is only for women.