KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 11 — Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin revealed today that only 600,000 of the six million Malaysians who qualified for free screenings under the Health Care Scheme of the B40 Group (PeKa B40) in the last three years used the service.
The Rembau MP said the uptake had been low even when the Health Ministry engaged private practitioners for community outreach programmes in his constituency, which only managed 200 screenings from the 500 targeted.
“That’s even with blind listings of names, addresses, and also phone numbers of people to call up,” he said at the launch of a cancer awareness programme here in Kuala Lumpur, describing the challenge of getting Malaysians to attend health screenings.
He attributed the reluctance to the cultural norms that were part of the mindset of Malaysians, whom he said had a tendency to view health screenings in a fatalistic manner and avoided or delayed them for fear of bad results.
Khairy said a key challenge for the scheme was to alter this view and to help Malaysians understand that the objective of the screening was to forearm them for better health outcomes and not to burden them with ill news.
The PeKa B40 programme is a government initiative under the MoH in which recipients of Bantuan Prihatin Rakyat and their registered spouses aged 40 years’ old and above may obtain free health screenings for non-communicable diseases.
The programme is administered through ProtectHealth Corporation Sdn Bhd (ProtectHealth), a not-for-profit wholly-owned subsidiary of ProtectHealth Malaysia that was established under the MoH.