Health authorities are concerned by the high number of measles cases with a 22.3 per cent increase compared to the first five months last year.
Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said this in a statement which he had posted on his Facebook account.
“Until May 31 this year, there are 724 cases of measles nationwide compared to 592 cases for the same period last year.
“For the period between September 2017 and February 2018, Malaysia ranks 10th place for countries with the highest number of measles cases after the Philippines and China,” he said after chairing a meeting with senior health management officers including state health directors.
The main contributor to the rising number of measles cases was due to low MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) immunisation coverage, he added.
Dr Noor Hisham said in 2016, the MMR immunisation coverage on 12-month-old babies stood at 94.37 per cent and it dropped to 92.08 per cent in 2017, adding the 2017 data was still preliminary.
“We need more than 95 per cent immunisation coverage to provide herd immunity for measles.”
He also noted that the number of cumulative dengue cases between January and June 9 this year had dropped by 38.1 per cent or 16,704 cases and lower number of fatalities by 54.5 per cent or 55 cases.
“From January to June 9 last year, there were 43,807 cases with 101 fatalities compared to 27,103 cases with 46 fatalities for the same period this year.”
Dr Noor Hisham, however, said, after the Raya celebration, the number of dengue cases would increase, basing on past trend due to various factors including people movement.
Based on the 2018 Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) report, Malaysia had scored 66 index value for Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 2016-2030, he said.
“For Universal Health Coverage (UHC), the World Health Organisation in its write-up titled- Malaysia: UHC and SDG Profile 2018- has stated that Malaysia scored 70 out of the 100 target for 2017, of which the highest score in the west pacific region is 80 for Australia, Brunei, Japan and Singapore.”
Dr Noor Hisham also said health authorities are stepping up efforts including increasing awareness on the non-communicable diseases and mental health.