Committee of Supply debate: Ministry of Health

MOH to roll out diabetes control measures

Two treatment guides out in May; polyclinic programme to lower number of kidney failures

The Ministry of Health (MOH) will be pushing out better ways to prevent and control diabetes, as well as encourage healthier living and early screening, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong.

He was replying to Mr Christopher De Souza (Holland-Bukit Timah GRC) and Mr Chen Show Mao (Aljunied GRC) who had asked about the progress of the ministry's "war on diabetes".

Mr Gan said the Agency for Care Effectiveness (ACE), set up in 2015 to evaluate clinical and cost effectiveness of new treatments, will publish its first set of Guidances in May which deal with diabetes.

Giving details, Minister of State for Health Lam Pin Min said the appropriate care guides to be launched in July are about medication for Type 2 diabetes, and a systematic way to manage pre-diabetes.

He added that ACE had evaluated two patented diabetic drugs and found one "significantly more cost-effective". MOH will subsidise the drug under the Medication Assistance Fund.

  • $10.73 billion

    Total bill, up 9.6 per cent


    12

    teaspoons of sugar consumed by Singaporeans daily on average


    45%

    of smokers here become regular smokers between the ages of 18 and 20


    9,000

    healthcare workers needed over the next three years

The ministry will also roll out a programme to all polyclinics to reduce the number of kidney failures among diabetics. This follows a successful pilot by the National University Hospital and the National Healthcare Group, which recruited almost 12,000 diabetics between 2011 and last year. Dr Lam said a third of the patients had improvements in their kidney function, whilethere was no further deterioration in over 60 per cent of patients.

One patient who benefited was taxi driver Ahmad Sahri, 65, who was diagnosed with diabetes in 2007. He also has high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Two years ago, a Woodlands Polyclinic doctor told him that there were problems with his kidneys and they were "not so good".

"I was worried," he said, as he knew kidney failure meant having to go on dialysis. He was already exercising fairly regularly.

The doctor put him on the programme and now his kidneys appear fine, much to his relief.

 

  • $5

    The maximum cost of screening for diabetes and four other ailments for Singaporeans aged 40 and above, from Sept 1.

Every five hours here, one person loses the use of his kidneys and needs a transplant or dialysis. In 2015, more than 1,200 people started dialysis.

Recently, the biggest dialysis provider, the National Kidney Foundation, said it would run out of dialysis places by the end of this month.

From Sept 1, Singaporeans aged 40 and above can screen for diabetes and four other ailments for at most $5. Those aged 18 to 39 can do an online self-assessment. If results show that they are at high risk, they can get the $5 screening for diabetes, blood pressure and cholesterol levels at Chas clinics.

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Correction note: This story has been edited to clarify that the first set of Guidances will be published in May, and the appropriate care guides will be launched in July.  We are sorry for the error. 

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 10, 2017, with the headline 'MOH to roll out diabetes control measures'. Print Edition | Subscribe