SINGAPORE - More than 500 Admiralty residents went for a free double screening on Sunday (Jan 5) - first to check their blood pressure and other health indicators, then to watch a classic P. Ramlee movie.
The morning event at Kampung Admiralty was part of the Health Promotion Board's (HPB) efforts to encourage health screening and follow-up within the Malay community.
The residents, mostly senior citizens, also had the opportunity to interact with veteran singer Rahimah Rahim, 64, who shared tips on staying healthy.
This comes against a backdrop of data which had flagged concerns about some aspects of the health of Malays.
According to the National Health Survey 2010, the prevalence of chronic diseases, such as hypertension, among Malay residents aged between 30 and 69 years old is at 28 per cent, which is higher than the national average of 23.5 per cent.
In addition, one in six Malay residents aged between 18 and 69 years old has diabetes, which is higher than the national average of almost one in nine Singapore residents living with diabetes.
The 2013 National Health Surveillance Survey also showed that Malays had the lowest screening rates for diabetes and high blood cholesterol.
Sunday's event, which was organised in collaboration with the Woodlands Malay Activity Executive Committee and M3 @ Woodlands, was open to all but sought to attract more members of the Malay community.
Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Health Amrin Amin, who was guest of honour at the event, said more Malays are now going for health screenings and are more aware of the healthcare assistance packages available.
"Results take some time to show, but we are making important baby steps and we are getting there," he added.
He said the use of culture and the presence of well-known personalities such as Rahimah help to better bring health-related messages to the community.
He noted that outreach events have been done for other communities as well.
The HPB recommends that individuals go for regular health screenings even if they do not have any symptoms of any disease.
"Early detection, followed by treatment and good control of the condition can result in better outcomes," it said.
Beyond having their blood pressure checked, Admiralty residents also underwent several other tests, such as cardiovascular screening and blood glucose testing, based on their age groups.
Some had booked appointments to check for breast cancer, among other services.
Eligible residents also learnt about the Merdeka Generation Package benefits.
Many welcomed the additional activities, such as the screening of the 1961 P. Ramlee comedy Ali Baba Bujang Lapok, but said the free health check-up was the event's main appeal.
Senior intellectual property administrator Normila Abdul Hamid, 46, who found out about the event from her exercise group, said: "I thought why not do it here rather than trying to find the time to make it for an appointment at a clinic."