NOTICE PAPER NO. 742
NOTICE OF QUESTION FOR ORAL ANSWER
FOR THE SITTING OF PARLIAMENT ON 1 NOVEMBER 2021
Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Mr Leon Perera
MP for Aljunied GRC
Question No. 1906
To ask the Minister for Health (a) what is the breakdown by age range of individuals (including those below the age of 40) who have undergone diabetes screening in the past three years; (b) whether there are plans to improve the take-up rate of screening to detect diabetes and pre-diabetes, especially among the younger or lower income demographic groups; and (c) whether the Government will consider requiring Singaporeans to undergo diabetes screening at key stages of their lives, such as national service enlistment and pre-employment.
Diabetes screening is recommended for individuals aged 40 years and above once every three years and for younger individuals with high risk. From our National Population Health Survey, the overall diabetes screening participation among residents aged 40 to 74 years within the past three years was 78.5% in 2020. The screening participation rate was 75.2% for those aged 40 to 49 years, and rose progressively to 87.8% for those aged 70 to 74 years. Amongst residents below the recommended age of 40 years, 57.6% of those aged 18 to 39 years participated in diabetes screening within the past three years. The risk of developing diabetes is low for this age group.
Diabetes screening is voluntary and based on personal responsibility for one’s own health. MOH and the Health Promotion Board (HPB) have been putting in measures to encourage diabetes screening participation, such as offering subsidised screening for eligible residents under the national health screening programme, Screen for Life (SFL). Younger individuals aged 18 to 39 years assessed to be of higher risk by the Diabetes Risk Assessment tool available on HealthHub are also eligible for subsidised screening under SFL. MOH and HPB collaborate with Regional Health Systems, Social Service Agencies and self-help groups such as the Malay-Muslim Organisations and SINDA to reach out to many communities and groups, to improve the uptake of screening.
Routine screening for gestational diabetes during antenatal follow-up at public hospitals and postnatal screening for diabetes for women with gestational diabetes are examples of leveraging on key life stages to enhance screening and detection of diabetes. There have also been efforts to promote workplace screening, and follow-up such as HPB’s Workplace Outreach Wellness (WOW) Package, and efforts focused on workplaces with low income workers. We will continue to broaden the network of healthcare providers and the appropriate touchpoints to increase accessibility and encourage diabetes screening.