• Vol. 41 No. 8, 339–346
  • 15 August 2012

National Health Survey on the Prevalence of Urinary Abnormalities in the Population: then and now (1975 to 2012)



Introduction: This paper presents the results of a community survey on urinary abnormalities which covered 1/80th of the population of Singapore in 1975. These findings were compared with the data from the Singapore National Service Registrants in 1974 as well as data from a recent survey in Singapore and that of other Asian and Western countries.

Materials and Methods: The study covered 18,000 persons aged 15 years and above, representing a sampling fraction of 1/80th of the population. A total of 16,808 respondents attended the field examination centres, of whom 16,497 had their urine sample tested representing 92.7% of the sample population.

Results: In the dipstick urine testing at the field examination centres, 769 subjects (4.6%) were found to have urinary abnormalities. Two hundred and eighty-two (36.7%) of these 769 subjects were found to have urinary abnormalities based on urine microscopy constituting a prevalence of 1.71%. The prevalence of proteinuria was 0.63% and for both haematuria and proteinuria was 0.73%. The prevalence for hypertension was 0.43% and renal insufficiency was 0.1%.

Discussion: The consensus is that routine screening for chronic kidney disease (CKD) in the general population is not cost effective as the yield is too low. Whilst, most studies showed that screening of the general population was not cost effective, it has been suggested that screening for targeted groups of subjects could help to identify certain risk groups who may benefit from early intervention to prevent or retard the progression of CKD.

Conclusion: The prevalence of urinary abnormalities in Singapore has remained the same, now and three decades ago.

In the planning of a tuberculosis prevalence survey in Singapore in 1975, it was decided to include a urine examination of the respondents using Labstix (Ames Company, Elkhart, Indiana, USA). Respondents found to have proteinuria, haematuria or both in the examination centres were then referred to the Department of Renal Medicine, Singapore General Hospital for further investigations. This data on the prevalence of urinary abnormalities in the population were presented as a paper at the 2nd Colloquium of Nephrology in Pattaya in Thailand by Dr Lim Cheng Hong in 1976. Since its publication as an abstract in the Colloquium, the full paper has not been published.

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