Transmissible diseases aren’t the only things we have to watch out for.
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Other than transmissible diseases like Covid-19, Malaysians also face another kind of health issue: non-communicable diseases (NCDs), in the form of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, obesity, and more.
In fact, non-communicable diseases are such a big issue that it is estimated to cost the country more than RM8.91 billion a year, or around 0.65% of our gross domestic product (GDP), according to the latest report from the health ministry and the World Health Organization (WHO).
While NCDs are often calculated with regards to healthcare costs, the report shows that such diseases are also costly in terms of social and economic development of the country. The RM8.91 billion loss stems from absenteeism and premature death of those among the working population.
According to Dr Lo Ying-Ru, a WHO representative in Malaysia, every disability and premature death is entirely preventable, which makes it more tragic when such things happen to patients. Thus, the government and citizens must take the issue seriously and reduce the prevalence of these diseases among Malaysians.
Malaysia is not alone: NCDs are the leading cause of death globally, and is particularly associated with poor lifestyle choices such as tobacco use, bad diets, alcohol abuse, and physical inactivity.
As such, Dr Lo urges the government and other stakeholders to invest in the prevention and control of NCDs. Malaysians should also take up healthier lifestyles to prevent NCDs, such as engaging in more exercise and eating a balanced diet.
Anne is an advocate of sustainable living and the circular economy, and has managed to mum-nag the team into using reusable containers to tapau food. She is also a proud parent of 4 cats and 1 rabbit.