Get health screening for as little as $2

PHOTO: Get health screening for as little as $2

For the first time, a subsidised health-screening programme to detect chronic diseases - for a fee as little as $2 - was rolled out in a Group Representation Constituency (GRC).

Called Tampines Eastern Community Health Outreach (Echo), the programme was launched by Education Minister Heng Swee Keat, who is a Tampines GRC MP, and the other Tampines GRC MPs on Tampines Town Day yesterday.

The programme is a joint effort by Changi General Hospital (CGH) and Tampines grassroots organisations.

Tampines Echo will provide subsidised annual health screening to Tampines GRC residents aged above 18 and aims to screen 3,000 residents by 2015.

Residents aged 18 to 34 will be screened at $2 for obesity and hypertension, and those 35 or older at $10 - for those and additional diabetes and cholesterol tests.

Residents aged 55 and above will get their first screening free.

If found to be in need of medical attention, residents will be referred to general practitioners or CGH for treatment.

For borderline cases, residents will be asked to go for health-coaching sessions by a team of CGH medical experts.

The programme was started after alarming figures were obtained from an Echo pilot programme held in the Changi and Simei wards in East Coast GRC. In that pilot, which began in February last year, 45 per cent of the 536 residents screened were found to be suffering from a chronic disease.

For the entire Echo programme, which is for residents living in the eastern part of the country, the Ministry of Health and CGH have pumped in a five-year funding of $3 million. About 80 per cent of that will come from public funds.

Mr Heng said there are plans to integrate the screening programme with community wellness programmes, "so that after the health screening...residents can follow through with healthy lifestyle activities".

When asked about the Education Ministry announcements in this week's Committee of Supply debate, Mr Heng said that topics such as values-driven education will be touched on.

Other issues to be raised include help for low-income- group children, updates on character and citizenship education, and post-secondary education.

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