About 3.6m Malaysians are suffering from the disease, which is the highest rate of incidence in Asia, says health minister
By SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
The number of diabetic patients between the age of 18 and 35 has increased by 300% from 15 years ago, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad.
“Cases of children and teenagers with diabetes are increasing at a faster rate and what is more worrying is that the number of patients between the age of 18 and 35 has increased by 300% in the last 15 years,” he said at the 3rd Cambridge-Oxford-Sunway Biomedical Symposium in Subang Jaya, Selangor yesterday.
The minister also said diabetes, categorised under non-communicable diseases (NCDs), has become one of the prevalent diseases in the country, affecting about 11% of Malaysians.
“At present, about 3.6 million Malaysians are suffering from the disease, which is the highest rate of incidence in Asia and one of the highest in the world.
“Given the seriousness of the situation, the Ministry of Health (MoH) has established the National Strategic Plan for NCDs (NSP-NCD) 2016-2025 to provide a framework for strengthening the prevention and control in the country,” he said.
The government intends to reduce NCDs in the country by reinforcing the NSP-NCD 2016-2025.
The strategic plan is a continuation of the previous NSP-NCD 2010-2014, which focused on cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and cancer, with an aim to reduce the burden of NCD treatment costs in Malaysia.
Dr Dzulkefly said the number of diabetic patients is estimated to increase to seven million or 31.3% of the national population by 2025.
“It is estimated that by the year 2025, our diabetes prevalence will be about 31.3% for adults aged 18 and above, or an estimated population of seven million adults with diabetes, both diagnosed and undiagnosed,” he said.
The government spent RM2 billion in treating diabetes in 2011 and the provision is expected to double if the current rate of diabetes cases continues.
“A macro economic study on the significance of diabetes treatment cost and its complications showed that the government spent approximately RM2 billion on it in 2011, representing about 13% of the healthcare budget that year.
“The analysis expects that the national cost to be as high as RM3.52 billion, and if the societal cost were included, this cost would be even higher,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sunway Group Healthcare and Sunway Education have signed a memorandum of agreement (MoA) with the University of Cambridge and the Royal College of Physicians, London, to collaborate in establishing seminars for the continuous medical education.
In his speech, Sunway Group founder and chairman Tan Sri Dr Jeffrey Cheah said the agreement offers an exchange of expertise from the University of Cambridge and the Royal College of Physicians in Malaysia.
“The agreement allows Sunway Medical Centre to collaborate with the University of Cambridge’s Health Partners, the Royal Papworth Hospital and Addenbrooke’s Hospital.
“Clinical training opportunities at the University of Cambridge are also being offered for outstanding Sunway’s staff and postgraduates, and as part of the programme, Sunway Medical Centre is establishing a Clinical Research Centre to become the regional research partner for them,” he said.