MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Thursday, August 11, 2022

Khairy laments low turnout for free cancer screenings


It has become a huge challenge getting eligible people to do their free cancer screening. (Freepik pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Health minister Khairy Jamaluddin says although the government provides free comprehensive cancer screenings for the public, in particular the B40 community, participation is still low.

“The problem we face is getting them (eligible people) to (do) the screening.

“It’s proving to be a huge challenge for us,” he said at the launch of the National Cancer Society Malaysia’s (NCSM) “Beauty and Health” programme.

Khairy said that out of six million Malaysians who qualified for the screening programme, only 600,000 or 10% had come forward for their free screening.

“Increasingly, we’ve asked for our partners, the private general practitioner clinics, to even go out into the community to conduct screenings rather than wait for people to come to the clinics.”

He said this could be due to cultural norms, whereby many people did not view screenings as necessary, as they assumed they were healthy because of how they felt and looked.

“And perhaps there is a fear of finding out that they are suffering from something.”

Khairy said it was important to change the perception that screening would bring “bad news”.

He added that the general perspective toward health screenings had to be changed from one that was “almost fatalistic” to one that was more “corrective”.

On a separate issue, Khairy said the uptake for Covid-19 second dose booster shots was still quite low.

“For example, only 5% of those aged 70 to 79 years (who are eligible for vaccination) have received their second booster dose,” he said, adding that only 4.5% of those above 80 years old had received their additional jabs.

He said the low uptake had been expected but the health ministry would continue to recommend and encourage those aged 50 years and older, especially those with health risks, to get their booster shots.

“At this point, we are still encouraging it, and we will not force anyone, as I’m sure many already know about the benefits of vaccination.”

He added that the ministry was in the process of determining its yearly immunisation strategy for Covid-19.

“Other nations are also still unsure whether they will be offering immunisation every year. We will refer to the experts on what should be done.” - FMT

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