KUALA LUMPUR: The implementation of health promotion and screening programmes related to four main types of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) is critical in reducing premature mortality among older adults in Malaysia, says Dr Zaliha Mustafa.
The Health Minister said the effort is important as NCDs remain the largest contributor to premature mortality in Malaysia. The four main types of NCDs are cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory disease, and diabetes.
“NCDs and their complications pose a real and significant threat to Malaysia. “The diseases cost the nation approximately RM8.91bil (0.65% of gross domestic product) based on reports from the ministry and the World Health Organisation,” she said in a video during a conference on Living Your Golden and Best Years: Health Is Wealth, held here yesterday.
Dr Zaliha said according to the National Health and Morbidity Survey conducted in 2019, the prevalence of NCDs among seniors is high: 76.5% of Malaysians aged 60 and above have at least one NCD. “This is a concern as it could lead to a surge in NCD-related deaths in the future. “Many NCDs are preventable if detected early, so it is vital for people, especially seniors, to undergo health screening often as this can improve treatment outcomes and prevent complications,” she told Bernama.
She said the ministry is open to working with non-governmental organisations and civil society to create awareness about NCDs. At the conference, Universiti Malaya and the Third Age Media Association signed a memorandum of understanding on conducting research on various aspects of ageing as well as promoting healthy ageing.