The Star: Overwhelming response to Selangor Saring health programme

A TOTAL of 45,000 people have undergone free health screenings during the four-month Selangor Saring programme, according to the state’s records.

Selangor public health, unity, women empowerment and family committee chairman Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud said this exceeded the target of 31,000 people.

She said the programme’s ecosystem was complete as hospitals and university hospitals were part of the screening and diagnosis process.

Patients on the borderline were asked to visit a self-care clinic of their choice, for a free consultation, she elaborated.

“So far, 4,809 visitors have received a doctor’s appointment,” she said during the programme’s closing ceremony at the multipurpose hall in Putra Permai, Seri Kembangan.

She said the majority came for cervical cancer test.

On the last day of Selangor Saring, 521 people turned up for health screening, said programme director Mohd Mirzan Abdul Majid.

When asked about the effectiveness of the HPV swab test over a pap test, Dr Siti Mariah said the most common virus causing cervical cancer was Human Papillomavirus (HPV).

“That is why we use the HPV swab test which takes only a moment whereas the pap test requires multiple procedures.

“The World Health Organisation and Health Ministry have recommended the HPV swab. A swab and its lab processing will cost RM170 and a confirmatory test will be sent to experts to rule out any doubt,” she explained.

She said RM1.5mil had been allocated for non-communicable disease (NCD) screenings, RM1.5mil for cancer screenings and RM100,000 for eye checks.

“We believe the NCD screenings allocation is not sufficient but we will make do to continue the programme,” she added.

The state public health committee clarified that the budget allocation for the entire Selangor Saring programme was RM3.1mil and not RM3.4mil as reported.

Meanwhile, Dr Siti Mariah said the state government would aid participants up to the final diagnosis, then it was up to them to decide on treatment.

“They can go to government health facilities or a private hospital. The treatment at public hospital is free, but there may be a small upfront fee during registration,” she added.

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