Employers and workers in this country should pay special attention to the importance of health screening, said Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

He said the government viewed very seriously this matter because the family and national socio-economic development shifts depended on a healthy and productive population.

“Many among our people today still don’t place great importance on having medical examinations and think that they don’t have any disease until the disease becomes chronic,” he said at the launching of the national-level Social Security Organisation’s (Socso) Heath Screening Programme, here, Monday.

Muhyiddin said the implementation of the programme was in line with the raising of the minimum retirement age to 60 for private sector employees, effective July 1, 2013.

“Through this health screening programme, the government provides the opportunity for the eligible workers to obtain the diagnosis of a disease through prevention and early treatment, to enable them to enjoy a quality and productive life longer, especially in carrying their daily activities and tasks,” he said.

The Socso Health Screening Programme provides free health examination to Socso contributors aged 40 and above so as to identify groups at risk of having non-communicable diseases like heart ailments, high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer.

The government has allocated RM200 million under the 2013 Budget to implement the programme for the benefit of 1.9 million workers.

The main reason for the programme to be introduced is the increased number of workers confirmed to be physically at risk from having non-communicable diseases.

Muhyiddin said the government also hoped that employers would continue to be committed and play an active and supportive role for their workers through the programme by promoting a healthy lifestyle, and providing recreational facilities and incentives to encourage them to go for health examinations.

He also urged all quarters including government agencies, government-linked companies and non-governmental organisations to also play their role and cooperate with Socso in making the programme a success.

Human Resources Deputy Minister Datuk Maznah Mazlan, meanwhile, said that Socso had issued the free screening vouchers to all eligible workers through their employers for the workers to bring along to the panel clinics which had registered with the programme.

She said so far, 8,079 workers had already gone for the health screening at 2,447 clinics nationwide.

Maznah said on the average, each year some 150,000 workers would reach the age of 40 and were eligible for the health screening.

The screening covers physical examination, laboratory tests for blood and urine samples, Pap smear and mammogram (for female workers), and consultation and advice for the eligible Socso contributors.