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06 Apr 2021

5th Apr 2021

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Mr Leon Perera
MP for Aljunied GRC

Question No. 915

To ask the Minister for Health (a) what is the take-up rate of the Screen For Life (SFL) programme since 2017; (b) of those who used the SFL subsidies, what is the breakdown by ethnicity and educational levels, income levels or housing type; (c) what is the percentage detected to have chronic diseases and are under follow-up after SFL screening; and (d) whether the Ministry will nudge groups (by ethnicity or education levels) associated with a higher risk of chronic diseases to go for health screening under SFL.

Written Answer

MOH and the Health Promotion Board (HPB) encourages Singapore residents to go for regular health screening and follow-up. The Screen for Life (SFL) programme provides subsidies for chronic disease and cancer screening at CHAS GP clinics. These include screening for conditions like obesity, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, cervical cancer and colorectal cancer. The SFL subsidies were enhanced in September 2017. Under the SFL programme, Singaporeans will pay not more than $5 for the screening tests, screening visit consultation and first follow-up consultation if required.

Between September 2017 and December 2020, over 100,000 individuals have benefitted from the enhanced SFL subsidies. Of these, about 86% were Chinese, 7% were Malays, and 4% were Indians. About half are eligible for CHAS Blue and Orange, who would have access to the lower SFL co-payment of $2. Of those screened for cardiovascular risk, around 40% had abnormal screening results and their follow-up rates have improved from 56% in 2016 to over 85% in 2020 since the enhancement of the subsidies in 2017.

We recognise that cultural preferences may influence health behaviours, and we have designed tailored, culturally relevant programmes with our community partners to deepen engagement with the various ethnic minority groups. For example, discussions on the importance of health screening and medication adherence have been held at places of worship to assist the Indian community address misconceptions that could prevent them from coming forward for health screening. MOH and HPB have formed a new workgroup to first focus on the Malay-Muslim community, before expanding our efforts to other ethnic minority groups, to design culturally relevant programmes and help rally the Malay-Muslim community against poor health habits. This will entail the co-creation and implementation of year-round healthy living activities in the Malay community with the overall aim to help improve the health and well-being.

HPB also works with likeminded partners and key stakeholders such as the Singapore Cancer Society, Breast Cancer Foundation and Regional Health Systems to improve awareness of screening and increase screening uptake for cancers especially during the cancer awareness months. This is done by organising specific campaigns and activities to educate the public on the importance of regular health screening and follow-up. We welcome suggestions from the public on how to further improve the health aspect including screening uptake amongst Singaporeans.