The Health Ministry (KKM) will be providing free health screenings for people aged 40 and above to detect non-communicable diseases under the National Health Screening initiative this July, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said.
He said the ministry is expecting to screen about 1.5 million people who had never undergone health screening, including faecal occult blood stool tests for colorectal cancer and breast cancer at public and private clinics.
“We have now to look at the huge backlog of medical and surgical procedures that we have delayed over the last two years and one of them is health screenings.”
“Our health screening numbers over the last two years just simply dropped,” he was quoted as saying by Bernama.
Khairy also revealed that according to the National Health and Morbidity Survey, 1 out of 5 adults or 3.9 million people aged 18 and above in Malaysia suffer from diabetes, 3 out of 10 or 6.4 million people have high blood pressure, and 4 out of 10 people or eight million people suffer from high cholesterol.
Khairy said his ministry is considering expanding the use of the MySejahtera app for non-communicable diseases and for booking health screening appointments.
Meanwhile, Khairy also pointed out that behavioural science is now the first line of defence in Malaysia’s health system because it played a big role in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
“If we can get the people to change the way they live, you will safeguard your healthcare system. We saw behavioural science play an insightful role in the pandemic,” he explained.
He added that investing in behavioural units was important for each ministry, organisation, or government to collect data. Thus, the ministry has established a new unit that focuses on behavioural nudges, as well as the Institute for Health Behavioural Research.
Khairy also said that Malaysia’s experience and success in how behavioural sciences supported national responses to Covid-19 and touched on its three main focuses of behavioural science – trust and clear communication, putting actionable instructions, and designing nudges.