Khairy: MySejahtera will store children’s vaccination records and book health exams

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KUALA LUMPUR, May 30 – The Ministry of Health (MOH) plans to expand the use of the scandal-tainted MySejahtera Covid-19 app to manage chronic diseases and childhood vaccinations.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, speaking at a Behavioral Science Strategy Roundtable at the 75th World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland, last Friday spoke about pivoting the mobile app to combat the non-communicable disease (NCD) crisis in Malaysia.

“I understand the total fatigue with the Covid app, as a minister as well, but you won’t get the same once in a population-wide generational listing on an app like this,” said Khairy said. told the delegates to the decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO), pointing out that MySejahtera has been downloaded by 30 million people out of Malaysia’s 32 million population.

“I thought to myself – how can we pivot this app now, with its credibility largely tarnished because of Covid registrations and things like that, and make it an app that we can use for NCD screening?

“Making your appointments, carrying around not huge electronic health records, but a lightweight record so you can share it with any doctor you go to.”

Khairy did not explain what data would be included in a “lightweight” electronic health record on MySejahtera. Health apps like Apple’s Health allow users to enter their blood sugar levels, blood pressure readings, and steps taken, among a host of other personal health information.

The Minister of Health cited Malaysia’s National Immunization Program (NIP) for infants and children as a “low hanging fruit” that could be used to pivot the MySejahtera app.

NIP provides various vaccines free of charge at public health facilities to protect against 13 major childhood diseases, including measles, mumps and rubella through the MMR vaccine; diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, poliomyelitis, hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenzae Type B through the hexavalent combination vaccine; tuberculosis by injection of BCG; HPV through the HPV vaccine; and pneumococcal disease with pneumococcal vaccine.

“Now we say, no more physics [vaccination] maps, bring your app, we’ll put it in there,” Khairy said.

The Minister of Health did not say whether parents would be able to receive vaccination cards for their child if they refused to use MySejahtera, amid controversy surrounding data security and ownership of the device. application which has been directly attributed to MySJ Sdn Bhd.

A recent code blue A survey of 806 respondents showed that only 27% and 21% trust MySejahtera or believe their personal data on the app is safe, respectively. Almost six in 10 respondents, or 57%, said they would not store personal health information on MySejahtera, such as their blood pressure or blood sugar, weight, or menstrual cycle.

Khairy has yet to announce whether the government has signed a contract with MySJ, which is currently embroiled in two shareholder lawsuits. The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) plans to table its report at the next meeting of Parliament in July on the development and acquisition of the MySejahtera app.

Recasting personal health in the family context

A Peka B40 health check. Image courtesy of ProtectHealth Corporation Sdn Bhd.

Khairy also told the World Health Assembly that the Malaysian government would launch a national health screening initiative in July, targeting medical examinations at public and private clinics for 1.5 million people aged over 40. years who have never had a health screening.

The free medical screening program will include not only basic screenings but also fecal occult blood tests (FOBT) for men to check for colorectal cancer and breast exams for women.

MOH’s ongoing Peka B40 health screening program, run by ProtectHealth Corporation, offers free health screenings to low-income people, including clinical breast exams for women and clinical prostate exams for at-risk men. . FOBTs are not included in Peka B40.

The Covid-19 pandemic has hit Peka B40 hard, with medical screenings dropping 54% last year compared to 2020. As of March 31 this year, fewer than 600,000 people had been screened on Peka B40 since launch of the program in 2019, i.e. only 10%. of 5.9 million eligible Malaysians.

The Selangor State Government has also recently launched a medical screening program called Selangor Saring for residents of the state at all income levels which provides free examinations for non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and kidney disease; cancers (colorectal, prostate, cervix and breast); and eye conditions (myopia, glaucoma and retinal disorders).

Khairy told the World Health Assembly that the national health screening initiative aims to establish a new baseline of the health status of Malaysians post-pandemic.

He acknowledged the problems in getting Malaysians to come forward for medical check-ups, as he suggested using lessons learned from the Covid-19 pandemic, when the government touted vaccination to protect not only himself- themselves, but also the others around them.

At the time, Covid-19 vaccines were thought to be able to reduce transmission of the virus, but shots were found to be more effective in preventing serious illness and death.

“So why not redesign individual health screening within the family? Get tested, love your family, because our incidence of NCDs is extremely high.

“Once someone has a debilitating stroke, they will need caregivers. There are economic consequences to this, and of course for children and dependents.

According to the 2019 National Health and Morbidity Survey, approximately 8.1% of the adult population in Malaysia, or 1.7 million people, have the three risk factors of diabetes, hypertension and hypercholesterolemia . Half of Malaysian adults are overweight or obese.

Malaysians may have become unhealthy or gained weight after lockdown measures during the Covid-19 pandemic over the past two years. According to the 2021 Peka B40 report, approximately 58% of Peka B40 recipients are overweight or obese. Some 37% of Peka B40 recipients were diagnosed with at least one NCD last year.

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