PETALING JAYA: Socso’s programme to screen employees for non-communicable diseases (NCD) has uncovered some worrying finds.
More than half of the employees who underwent its free health screening program (HSP) from 2013 were found to be at risk for obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
While health experts have pointed to lifestyle and eating habits as the root of the problem, Socso is renewing its call for more Malaysians to undergo the free health screening to detect problems before they get too serious.
Employers who are alarmed with the high numbers have also expressed concern over the costs they have to bear for their sick employees.
Analysis on 308,039 employees who underwent the health screening programme from January until Dec 31 showed that 36.94% of the employees were overweight, 17.63% were obese, 13.14% had hypertension and 8.45% have diabetes.
It also showed that 61.76% of the employees had hypercholesterolemia – the presence of an abnormally large amount of cholesterol in the blood.
The analysis showed that 110,932 workers were overweight with a body mass index (BMI) reading of 25-29.99 while 52,938 were obese with a BMI above 30.
The high prevalence of NCDs was also reflected in the claims for invalidity and survivors’ pensions made to Socso.
Socso’s deputy chief executive officer (Operations) Datuk Dr Mohammed Azman Aziz Mohammed (pic) said almost 34% and 49% of the claims for invalidity and survivors’ pension respectively made to Socso were due to NCDs.
He said the HSP was introduced in response to an increasing number of claims being made for Socso’s invalidity pension.
Dr Mohammed Azman said as of October 2014, there was a 7.61% increase to 45,599 of those receiving the invalidity pension compared to the previous year.
“Out of this number, an average of 34% was reported due to NCD such as cardiovascular, diabetes, cancer, respiratory and mental disorder.
He said Socso sent out almost 1.9 million vouchers for the free HSP in 2013 and last year, but only a fraction had taken up the offer despite the programme being extended until June last year.
“There is still a large number of people who did not take up the opportunity and we don’t understand why they did not use the HSP vouchers sent out,” he said.
He said Sosco had also distributed an additional 210,000 vouchers for workers who will turn 40-years-old this year.
“Workers who received the HSP vouchers in 2013 and 2014 and have yet to undergo the health screening can still do so this year.“Sosco hopes that the extension would encourage more members to take the opportunity and proceed to undergo the health screening,” he said.
Members, he said, could call the Socso HSP hotline at 03-42645089 or 03-42521258/4475/4476 or visit its website at http://sehat.perkeso.gov.my/ for more information.