Thursday, August 18

‘NCDs leading cause of premature deaths in M’sia’

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Dr Zulkefly (left) and Chong beat the gong to launch the My Healthy Village programme at Kampung Tematu in Kuching. Seen at right is Dr Jamilah.

KUCHING: Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which are the leading cause of premature deaths in Malaysia, remain on an upward trend in the country despite the many health-related campaigns and promotions being carried out, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad has said.

Citing data from the Department of Statistics, he said coronary heart disease was the leading cause of premature deaths last year, with an average of 50 deaths a day versus 37 deaths a day in 2017.

“The death rate (from coronary heart disease) increased by 35 per cent to 18,267 deaths in 2018, compared with 13,503 deaths in 2017,” he said at the launch of the ‘Kampungku Sihat’ (My Healthy Village) programme in Kampumg Tematu, here yesterday.

Dr Dzulkefly also noted that a National Health and Morbidity Review conducted by his ministry in 2015 found that 30 per cent of Malaysian adults had hypertension, while nearly 20 per cent had diabetes.

“It is my responsibility to remind you that half of the cases of diabetes and hypertension are undiagnosed, in which patients do not know that they are sick, do not take any treatment and, worse still, (they) continue their unhealthy lifestyles.

“As a result, their illness becomes more serious and may result in complications such as kidney disease, blindness, gangrene of the limbs or legs, as well as the cause of coronary heart disease I mentioned earlier,” he said.

On ‘My Healthy Village’, Dr Dzulkefly said it was a new initiative by his ministry to bring public attention to the latest health issues with the direct involvement of top Health Ministry officers and community leaders, in delivering relevant health messages.

He said the My Healthy Village initiative aimed to get closer to the people through health inspection services, especially for those who seldom or never checked their health.

He added that in view of the worrying trend in the NCD pattern, the Health Ministry took seriously the importance of early detection of the diseases.

The government, he noted, had established a healthcare scheme for the Bottom-40 group, or B40, called the PeKa B40 whereby NCD screening activities are one of the main components given to the members of the group, above the age of 50.

“In addition, the ministry also runs NCD-related community programmes that emphasise aspects of screening such as ‘Program Komuniti Sihat Pembina Negara’ and Enhanced Primary Health Care where screening activities are carried out by volunteer teams.

“I urge all those who are eligible for the PeKa B40 to take an active part in the activities of the programmes and to use these facilities towards a healthy life free of NCD complications.”

Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Chong Chieng Jen and Health Department Sarawak director Dr Jamilah Hashim were also present at the event.