The implementation of health promotion and screening programmes related to the four main types of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) is critical in reducing premature mortality among older adults in Malaysia.
Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa said the effort is important as NCDs remain the largest contributor to premature mortality condition today and the four main types of NCDs are cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory disease, and diabetes.
“NCDs and their complications hold a real and significant threat in Malaysia as they remain the largest contributor to premature mortality among older adults in Malaysia.
“It cost the nation approximately RM8.91 billion, 0.65 per cent of the national gross domestic product, based on the report by MOH (Ministry of Health) and World Health Organization,” she said in a video during a conference titled ‘Living Your Golden and Best Years: Health Is Wealth’ here, today.
Dr Zaliha said according to the National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS) conducted in 2019, the prevalence of NCDs among seniors is high where 76.5 per cent of Malaysians aged 60 and above have at least one NCDs.
“This is a concern as it could lead to a surge in NCDs related death in the future. Hence, health screening and regular health checks are crucial, especially for seniors… In fact, many NCDs are preventable if detected early as regular health checks can identify potential health problems before they become serious,” she said.
She added MOH is open to working with non-governmental organisations and civil societies to create awareness of these diseases. Hence, it is vital for seniors to undergo health screening and regular health checks for early detection of NCDs as it can improve treatment outcomes and prevent complications.
Meanwhile, Third Age Media Association founding president cum Malaysian Coalition On Ageing (MCOA) chairman, Cheah Tuck Wing said health screening is not just limited to cancer but is also recommended for other chronic diseases.
He said according to the NHMS conducted in 2019, one in four Malaysians are not physically active. Hence it is recommended that people should take at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week.
At the conference, Third Age Media Association and University Malaya signed a Memorandum of Understanding to conduct research on various aspects of ageing as well as promoting healthy ageing.
“We hope that this collaboration will bring about improvement in general healthcare and well-being of seniors in Malaysia,” he said. – Bernama