My dad is 58 years old this year.
Like most other Singaporean uncles in their 50s, he sends good morning greetings and inspirational quotes to our family WhatsApp group on a regular basis.
He also has some habits that are hard to kick (he would say that they are his little indulgences), such as drinking beer after work at night, which has resulted in a pretty solid beer belly.
In the morning, he would then try to “balance” his diet out by having oats with fruits and Chinese tea.
Fortunately, my dad doesn’t go with his gut when it comes to his health and has been going for regular health check-ups for the past few years.
Perhaps that’s why it was pretty easy for me to interest him about a subsidised health screening under the national health screening programme called Screen for Life.
S$5 to check for heart disease and colorectal cancer
To check my dad’s eligibility for the subsidised health screening, I logged in to HealthHub with his Singpass, which showed that he was due for a cardiovascular disease screening and a faecal immunochemical test.
It was the first time I came across this term “faecal immunochemical test”, and I’ve learnt that it is really important for those aged 50 and above.
Basically, the test detects any presence of blood in the stools, which may not be visible to the naked eye, to detect colorectal cancer, one of the leading cancers that affects both men and women.
The total cost of the two tests was a mere S$5 for my dad.
Too good to be true? No, it’s really just S$5.
After confirming my dad’s eligibility for the Screen for Life programme, I made an appointment at a Raffles Medical clinic near my house.
You can choose any CHAS General Practitioner (GP) clinic to do so but do make sure you call them to make an appointment in advance.
Prior to the appointment, my dad had to fast.
His blood sample was taken for cardiovascular risk screening during the appointment.
The nurse then gave us clear instructions and passed us two FIT kits to collect stool samples at home after the appointment.
What my dad had to do after the appointment was to collect two sets of stool samples, taken on two different days, and submit them promptly to the clinic within 24 hours from the time the stool samples were collected.
The clinic we visited helped to mail the samples to the lab for testing (but do note that some clinics may require you to mail the samples to the lab on your own).
After the blood sample was taken, my dad also had a consultation with a doctor who chatted with him about his blood cholesterol, blood glucose and blood pressure.
The doctor was patient in answering questions from my dad, even if they were not related to the health screening tests.
The entire experience was very pleasant, and it’s almost unbelievable that such a detailed health screening costs just S$5.
In total, the whole thing took us around 1.5 hours, including waiting time.
The S$5 payment, inclusive of GST, even covered a follow-up consultation that took place after the test results were ready.
Even cheaper for some Singapore Citizens and free for Pioneer Generation
A Screen for Life health screening will cost S$5 or less for eligible SIngapore Citizens aged 40 and above.
For Singapore Citizens with blue or orange CHAS cards and seniors who belong to the Merdeka Generation, it will cost only S$2.
The health screening is free of charge for Pioneer Generation seniors.
If you are curious whether you or your parents are eligible for the Screen for Life programme, here’s a step-by-step guide on how you can check this via the Screen for Life webpage.
Who’s eligible for the Screen for Life programme?
Step 1: Go to screenforlife.gov.sg
Step 2: Click on ‘Check your eligibility now’ button and log in with your Singpass
Step 3: Tada! You will see what tests you are eligible for in this subsidised health screening programme
Good things must jio, right? You’re welcome.
All images by Zheng Zhangxin.
The writer of this sponsored article by the Health Promotion Board is thankful to be introduced to the Screen for Life programme.