Health DG: Excess mortality rate in Malaysia much lower than other countries

Health DG: Excess mortality rate in Malaysia much lower than other countries

The excess mortality rate In Malaysia during the COVID-19 pandemic was much lower compared to most other countries, said Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

He said an analysis on excess mortality was made by comparing the number of deaths before, during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Excess mortality is the number of deaths from all causes (all-cause mortality) that would be expected based on historical trends before COVID-19 pandemic.

He said the study on excess mortality conducted by the Health Ministry’s Public Health Institute  was to enable comparison of excess mortality between Malaysia and other countries in terms of effectiveness of controlling COVID-19 and controlling the number of deaths in the country.

"We managed to find a balance between the control measures implemented to reduce the spread of COVID-19 infection, prevent too much disruption to the national health (system) and avoid soaring death rates," he said in a media briefing session via Zoom today.

Through the study, he said the MOH was able to understand the changes in death patterns that enabled the ministry to measure changes in the health system and society.

He said, this would contribute to the process of improvements by the MOH to prevent deaths such as improving the service system in the hospitals’ intensive care unit.

In addition, Dr Noor Hisham said globally, the excess mortality due to COVID-19 was at 15 million, more than double the official reported deaths of over six million.

National Health Institute Survey Research Centre unit head, Dr G. Shubash Shander, when presenting the analysis on ‘Excess Mortality during COVID-19 in Malaysia’ from March 2020 to Dec 2021, revealed that the country's excess mortality was low at 2.4 per cent.

“Excess mortality analysis can identify the real impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the number of deaths due to COVID-19… whether due to COVID-19 or other causes, all deaths are taken into account in this analysis.

“… Another importance of this excess mortality (analysis) is that, if there is a case of COVID-19 that is not detected, or we do not know it is a case of COVID-19 and not reported as a case of COVID-19 death, this can be seen in the excess mortality because we take into account all deaths,” he said.

He said the analysis was based on death data obtained from the National Registration Department, and hospital admission data from MOH Health Informatics Centre available from 2015 to 2021. - Bernama


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