PETALING JAYA: THE Social Security Organisation's (Socso) health screening programme, which will ensure early detection of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) for workers aged 40 and above, was launched by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin yesterday.
With RM200 million being allocated for it under the 2013 Budget, the free service aims to ensure workers' overall well-being and productivity.
For this year alone, 1.9 million Socso contributors are eligible and up to 160,000 are estimated to be eligible for each following year.
NCDs are chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure, heart problems, respiratory problems, diabetes and cancer, which stem from unhealthy lifestyles and contribute to two-thirds of deaths worldwide. Heart attacks alone contribute to 48 per cent of these deaths.
The programme, which covers physical examinations, clinical tests, consultations and relevant advisory services, will be offered from next year to 2020 and will be carried out at Socso's panel clinics or at Socso-appointed government hospitals or clinics.
Health screening vouchers, which have been distributed through employers since November 2012, are to be presented to hospitals or clinics upon examination.
Eligible persons have been enjoying this benefit since Jan 1.
"A 2008 report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) indicated approximately 63 per cent of deaths worldwide stemmed from NCDs, while Health Ministry statistics indicate that in 2011, Malaysian diabetes patients increased by 15.2 per cent, which is roughly 2.6 million cases," Muhyiddin said in his opening speech at Freescale Semiconductor Sdn Bhd in the Sungai Way Free Industrial Zone.
"High blood pressure cases have increased to 32.7 per cent, which involves 5.8 million patients.
Another 6.2 million people are estimated to have high blood cholesterol problems, while 2.5 million are obese."
According to the International Social Security Association (ISSA), deaths that stem from NCDs are estimated to increase by 15 per cent within the next 10 years.
Socso statistics also show that 40 per cent of invalidity pension applications are related to NCDs.
The event was concluded with a voucher presentation to employees.
Further information is available by contacting the health screening programme hotline at 03-4252 1258/4252 4475/4252 4476 or 4264 5089, or via email email@example.com. A list of appointed panel clinics can also be found at www.perkeso.gov.my/sehat.