Jan 30, 2021 marked the second annual World Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) Day as Malaysia joined the global community to commit to ending NTDs and freeing the next generation from diseases of poverty.
Affecting over 1.7 billion globally, NTDs are responsible for thousands of preventable deaths each year and cause impairments that perpetuate the cycle of poverty for millions.
The Ministry of Health Malaysia (MoH) and The Institute for Clinical Research (ICR), National Institutes of Health (NIH) Malaysia in partnership with the Crown Prince Court of Abu Dhabi, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Carter Center, The END Fund, Uniting to Combat NTDs, Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) and more than 300 government, health, community and business leaders, used the occasion to launch a meaningful series of activities in support of eliminating NTDs from the planet.
“We are proud to join 23 other nations worldwide as part of this year’s World NTD Day for global solidarity against NTDs)” said Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, Director General of MoH.
It is estimated that NTDs infect over 1.7 billion people, or 24 per cent of the world’s population. Malaysia joining in solidarity, will help attract more attention to the plight and struggle of the communities living with the daily threat of NTDs.
Malaysia, although an upper middle-income country, is not free of NTDs. The mosquito borne viral infection, dengue, is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in the country. In 2019, there were over 130,000 dengue cases, a rise of 61 per cent from 2018 (Crisis Preparedness Response Centre (CPRC), MoH Malaysia, 2018).
Rabies outbreaks are still reported in Malaysia, especially along the border states of the country. Between 2017-2020, 29 deaths out of 31 cases occurred predominantly in Sarawak, Malaysia. Dr Noor Hisham said, “Rabies in Malaysia can be avoided by taking preventative measures such as seeking immediate medical care when bitten by stray animals and by controlling of movement of stray dogs crossing the borders”.
The MoH and State governments have embarked on an anti-rabies action plan including high-level surveillance, vaccination of owned pets and the management of strays in a continuous effort to control and eradicate rabies.
Malaysia has also made some important inroads on vector borne diseases and the MoH continues to undertake research to better understand tropical diseases dynamics. Untreated NTDs lead to cognitive impairment and developmental disabilities, and severe forms can cause malnutrition and death. At a time when our world has more empathy for and awareness of the threat of infectious disease, it is our collective responsibility to end diseases that are entirely preventable.
“We all need to leverage on big data analytics and multi-sectoral evidence-based programs to eradicate NTDs,” said Dr Hishamshah Mohd Ibrahim, Deputy Director General of Health (Research & Technical Support) MoH.
AIA Public Takaful’s awareness on critical illness protection
AIA PUBLIC Takaful Bhd (AIA PUBLIC Takaful) hopes to bring greater awareness to the prevalence of critical illnesses among Malaysians and the importance of being financially secured; encouraging them to make conscious decisions to lead a
healthier lifestyle by offering solutions that not only protects them at times of need but also when they are healthy.
Elmie Aman Najas, CEO of AIA PUBLIC Takaful says: “Critical illness is seldom at the forefront of people’s minds due to their non-communicable nature or associating it as a condition that comes with age.
“The current pandemic however gives us a glimpse into the nature of critical illness – it is unforeseen, can happen to anyone regardless of age and may impact us financially as the advancement in treatment and medication often incur greater than average medical costs. Hence, it is crucial for a person to not only obtain adequate medical coverage but to further enhance their protection with comprehensive critical illness plan for a complete peace of mind.”
Manulife Malaysia launches health benefit plan
Manulife Malaysia recently announced the launch of a new medical insurance plan, Manulife Health Saver Benefit, that will enable policyholders to enjoy an immediate no claim discount (NCD) on insurance charges and empower them to actively manage their health while getting top quality health care coverage.
The new Manulife Health Saver Benefit is designed so that upon purchase, policyholders benefit from an immediate 30 per cent NCD on insurance charges in the first policy year. Every year thereafter, they can benefit from an NCD of up to 40 per cent. The plan provides comprehensive medical coverage.
A Manulife customer survey conducted in late May 2020 across eight markets in Asia, including Malaysia, showed a growing recognition of the need for health coverage and financial protection among the population.
Prudential and Shopee introduce insurance solution
Prudential Assurance Malaysia Berhad (PAMB) and Shopee partnered to launch a protection plan that provides coverage against infectious diseases, namely dengue fever, malaria, measles, and typhoid. This protection plan was in conjunction with Shopee 2.2 CNY Sale.
If the policyholder is diagnosed with any of the four diseases, he or she will receive a lump sum of RM1,000 in cash relief. A further RM10,000 cash relief will be paid out if the policyholder unfortunately passes away from the same diagnosed disease.
Eric Wong, Chief Customer and Marketing Officer of PAMB commented, “As we begin a new year, many Malaysians are re-visiting their physical health and well-being and re-aligning their priorities to take into account the possibility of health emergencies. While Covid-19 is still top of mind, it does not undermine the prevalence of other infectious diseases.“
Roche Malaysia raises funds for children with HIV/AIDS
Rumah Solehah, a halfway home for children living with HIV/AIDS recently received RM34,100 collected from Roche Malaysia’s Roche Children’s Walk.
The walk, the company’s signature worldwide project that started in 2003, saw a gathering of over 230,000 employees worldwide resulting in the raising of over CHF19 million (RM86,601,848) in donations for children’s projects around the world.
According to Roche Malaysia’s general manager Lance Duan, the Roche Children’s Walk themed ‘Let’s Go!’ is an important event for the company.
“It not only serves to unite employees from all over the world for a good cause but also serves to remind us that each of us have an impact to improve other people’s lives.”