KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 27 — The Social Security Organisation (Socso) recorded a drop of about 12 per cent in non-communicable disease (NCD) cases detected via its health screening programme (HSP) to 19,630 cases in 2020, from 22,276 cases in 2018.
Human Resources Minister M. Saravanan, in a written reply in Parliament yesterday, said the HSP has also helped in the early detection of breast and cervical cancer in 1,696 employees, though he did not specify the period in which the cases were detected.
The minister said this in response to Senator Robert Lau Hui Yew’s query on the success of the HSP in detecting NCDs in workers from 2015.
The reason for the drop in NCDs detected was not directly stated, although a similar decline in outpatient visits to public health clinics in 2020 reported previously suggests that the fall could be due to the Movement Control Order and fears of contracting the Covid-19 virus at health care facilities.
Health care officials have pointed out that individuals with NCDs were 3.7 times more likely to die of Covid-19 than those without NCDs, while among those who have been fully vaccinated, Covid-19 deaths are 7.3 times more likely to occur for those with NCDs.
Socso’s HSP programme, launched in 2013, aims to promote early detection of NCDs such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer among workers in Malaysia.
The programme targets workers over the age of 40 who are at a higher risk of having NCDs that could potentially cause permanent disability. These employees are given vouchers that enable them to undergo health screening at participating clinics.
The screening involves a general health screening and a risk assessment of cardiovascular diseases, with added screening for cervical and breast cancer for females via pap smear and mammogram examinations.