The age limit for the Healthcare Protection Scheme for low-income B40 group (PeKa B40)’s recipients has been reduced from 50 to 40 years, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad.
He said the decision was made at the recent post-Cabinet meeting, to enable more people especially from the low-income group to take up the health screening facility and get treatment early.
In addition, the decision was reached because thus far only 40,119 individuals of aged 50 and above had been utilising the facility nationwide compared to the 800,000 people, as the set target.
“The total allocation for the implementation of the PeKa B40 pilot project which began in April was at RM100 million for 800,000 individuals, but the number of those who took up the health screening is still low.
“We still have a considerable amount of allocation to spend before receiving the new provision, causing us to reduce the age limit so that more people can enjoy it without any financial implications,” he told a press conference here today.
Dzulkefly was met after launching the ‘Kampungku Sihat’ programme in Kampung Padang Lalang here today, which was also attended by Deputy Works Minister Mohd Anuar Mohd Tahir, who is also Temerloh MP and Pahang Health director Datuk Dr Sha’ari Ngadiman.
According to the statistics, Dzulkefly said Sarawakians had the highest number of B40 using the facility, with 9,852 people followed by Kedah (6,324), Penang (4,582) and Perak (4,209).
Asked if the government intended to compel those at certain age limit to undergo the B40 health screening, Dzulkefly said thus far the government had taken initiatives by working with related parties including the media to spread awareness on the programme’s benefits.
“We want the people to have that self-awareness to do health checks. I can impose a lot of prohibitions or make them mandatory, but the main thing in health is self-awareness as well as the parents by setting a good example,” he said.
Commenting on the ‘Kampungku Sihat’ programme, Dzulkefly said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had agreed that the programme should be expanded nationwide to foster a culture of good health practices at the grassroots level.
He said the implementation of the programme would raise awareness and reduce non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease among Malaysians.
“In this regard, the ministry is planning to launch the ‘Kampungku Sihat’ competition, hoping that the winner will be announced at the National Month celebration next year,” he said.