MOH To Push Free Health & Cancer Screenings To M'sians Over 40 Starting July

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the ministry is aiming to screen 1.5 million Malaysians in the age group.

Cover image via Bernama/New Straits Times & Freepik

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The Ministry of Health (MOH) will launch a National Health Screening initiative next month to promote the detection of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the country

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the ministry aims to provide 1.5 million Malaysians aged 40 and above free health screenings from July, including 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," he said while speaking at the World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva, Switzerland, as quoted by Bernama.

"Our health screening numbers over the last two years just simply dropped."

According to the 2019 National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS), one out of five adults in Malaysia suffer from diabetes

Meanwhile, three out of 10 have high blood pressure and four out of 10 Malaysian adults suffer from high cholesterol.

As these NCDs are also known as lifestyle diseases, Khairy said behavioural science is now the first line of defence in Malaysia's healthcare system by getting the people to change the way they live.

"If we can get the people to change the way they live, you will safeguard your healthcare system and we saw behavioural science play an insightful role in the pandemic," he said, as the vice-president of the WHA.

Image for illustration purposes only.

Image via AFP/New Straits Times

Khairy said his ministry is also considering expanding the use of MySejahtera to book screening appointments in a bid to lower NCDs

He also shared Malaysia's experience and success in how behavioural science has played a role in the country's response to COVID-19 with the international assembly; its three main focuses being clear communication, actionable instructions, and behavioural nudges.

WHA, the main governing body of the World Health Organization (WHO), is an annual event that brings together health ministers, health director-generals, and industry experts to come to a consensus on the implementation of WHO's policies and strategies on healthcare.

The 2019 national survey also found that a concerning half of all adults in Malaysia were either overweight or obese:

Many screening tests are already free to Malaysians in government hospitals and clinics. Here's what to expect when getting a Pap smear:

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