Singaporeans below 40 years old who are found to be at risk of diabetes – after completing the Diabetes Risk Assessment (DRA) survey – can now qualify for a full screening of the disease at just SGD5.

A handful of questions to predict current risk

The free online self-assessment aims to encourage awareness in Singaporeans between 18 and 39 years old about the risk of developing the debilitating disease. This step is in line with the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) mission to tackle the rising cases of diabetes in the country. It is estimated that, by 2050, one million Singaporeans will have this disease.

Speaking at the Let's Beat Diabetes roadshow at One Raffles Place on 19 September, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong emphasised that age is not the lone risk factor for this condition.

“Most of us think that age is a key factor – the older you get, the more likely you are going to have diabetes. That is true to some extent,” he elaborated.

With the DRA tool, younger Singaporeans can easily measure their current risk of undiagnosed diabetes and, consequently proceed with a full diabetes screening – if need be. These individuals can then utilise the Health Promotion Board's Enhanced Screen for Life programme subsidies and undertake a full screening for just SGD5.

The DRA questionnaire consists of eight questions for males and seven for females pertaining to factors such as age, gender, body mass index (BMI) and family history of diabetes. It can be taken in less than two minutes.

More initiatives needed to continue subsequent management 

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong highlighted that health is an individual responsibility. Photo credit: Straits Times
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong highlighted that health is an individual responsibility. Photo credit: Straits Times

The initiative kicked off on 1 September, with 15,000 individuals having taken the test so far, according to the MOH. From this, 4% have been invited to proceed with the further screening.

This new tool will allow the MOH to pick up the diagnosis earlier and aid groups like pre-diabetics that could require more regular screening and prompt management.

MOH stated that one in every three Singaporeans possess a lifetime risk of developing diabetes. Therefore, for those under the age of 40, risk factors such as family history, hypertension, or an unhealthy BMI ought to be taken into consideration.

At-risk individuals are encouraged to undertake a full screening, but Mr Gan also stressed on the importance of follow-ups.

“So, it is important for us to also continue to support these patients, so if they have a positive outcome, or if they are diagnosed to be pre-diabetes, it's important for them to follow-up with their clinicians, their doctors,” he stated.

At the same roadshow, Mr Gan toured the booths, which contained information about the DRA tool, Screen for Life subsidies and the HealthHub Track app – a free personal health management app by the Health Promotion Board.

He highlighted that health is an individual responsibility saying, “The government can do what we can to encourage, to support, to incentivise – but ultimately, each individual must take responsibility for his health.” MIMS

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