KUALA LUMPUR, July 6 — Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba today said that 151,729 Malaysians from the B40 category have one or more non-communicable diseases and were not aware of this.
Dr Adham also labelled the figure, which represented 33 per cent of all recipients in the Healthcare Protection Scheme for the B40 group (PeKa B40), as worrying.
B40 refers to the Bottom 40th percentile of wage earners in the country.
He was speaking via a virtual press conference for the launch of the PeKa B40 2019-2020 report.
“This number involves the B40 who, prior to this, never knew they had non-infectious diseases such as diabetes (10.4 per cent), high cholesterol (29.8 per cent), high blood pressure (13.8 per cent), mental issues such as depression (1.6 per cent) and anxiety (1.4 per cent), apart from obesity and others.
“Before undergoing the PeKa B40 health screening, they never underwent any such health screening, what more getting follow-up treatments,” Dr Adham added.
He said that the scheme managed by ProtectHealth Corporation Sdn Bhd (ProtecthHealth), a non-profit company under the MoH, provided four benefits; health screening, medical equipment aid up to RM20,000, cancer treatment completion initiative worth RM1,000 and transportation fare incentive up to RM1,000.
Dr Adham said that between April 15, 2019 and December 21, 2020, RM62.5 million was spent on the PeKa B40 group and of this amount, RM38.5 million went to health screening, which involved assessing of health history, physical checking, mental health screening, prostate and breast cancer screening, as well as blood and urine tests.
“For the medical equipment aid, RM20.9 million was spent to fund applications for 10 type of medical equipment, which are stent for the heart, prosthetics, hearing aid, pacemaker, prosthesis and implant for the spine, prosthesis and orthosis for the bone, lenses for cataract patients, breathing therapy equipment and oxygen concentrator, nutritional support and wheelchair.
“Through their expertise in strategic purchasing, ProtectHealth succeeded in price negotiations for the drug eluting stent (DES) for PeKa B40 recipients, thus saving over RM10 million of the government's fund,” he added.
Dr Adham said that for the cancer treatment completion initiative, RM1.6 million was spent and RM1.5 million was paid under the transportation fare incentive.
The Peka B40 scheme aims to reduce non-communicable diseases, through which 800,000 people of the B40 category aged 50 and above will get free health screenings, medical devices, incentives to complete cancer treatment, and transport aid.