BRUNEI-MUARA – The Ministry of Health (MoH) has introduced a National Health Screening Programme in an effort to curb non-communicable disease among Bruneians through early and effective management.
During a press conference on Thursday, Minister of Health YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohammad Isham Hj Jaafar said non-communicable disease — such as cancer and heart disease — were the leading cause of death in the sultanate, representing 20 percent and 29 percent of all mortalities in the country respectively.
The minister added that these illnesses were on the rise.
According to the ministry’s research, the number of overweight and obese adults in the country has risen to 62.8 per cent and 28.2 per cent respectively.
Meanwhile patients with high cholesterol has risen to 51.3 per cent and high blood pressure (fasting) to 9.7 per cent.
The minister then explained that health screenings had been proven to be a cost effective way to tackle non-communicable disease.
“A health check up is an early detection method for people who don’t have or have not shown any signs or symptoms of the diseases,” said the minister.
“Diseases detected from an early stage are easier to treat and control as well as to prevent or reduce any complications.”
Aiming to increase the effectiveness of health examinations in Brunei, the minister said the screening programme will be carried out through two main approaches.
The first is to expedite the health screening process by using specialised nurses who will follow a set standard operating procedure.
The second is to establish a National Health Screening Programme Registry – a significant step forward for the country, according to the minister.
The national registry will allow the ministry to have the health information of individuals aged 40 years and above on file for easy reference.
“This will also enable us to make strategic and holistic planning through a whole nation approach in addressing issues related to non-communicable diseases in the country,” said Dr Hj Mohammad Isham.
The programme will also enable the prevention or early detection of health complications that cause damage to major organs such as the heart, kidney, brain and eyes.
“Monitoring of diseases can be done more systematically and reduce the premature mortality rate of deaths [of people] between 30 to 70 years old,” said YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohammad Isham.
The screening programme will be conducted by specially trained nurses at all health centres in the country. However, for residents of the Temburong district, the programme will only be conducted at the Pengiran Isteri Hajah Mariam Hospital in Bangar.
“What’s important is the consciousness and commitment of each individual to change their mindset and attitude to cultivate a healthy lifestyle and their willingness to go for a health examination,” the minister said.
Those eligible to register for the screening are individuals aged 40 years and above, who do not have follow-up appointments at health centres, clinics or hospitals for pre-existing conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease and stroke.
To register, the public can fill in an application form at the reception counter of all health centres in the country. Completed forms may be dropped off into a designated box labelled “Peti Pelanggan Kementerian Kesihatan.”