The increase in non-communicable diseases (NCDs) over the past 20 years, which the pandemic has accelerated, poses a significant threat to Malaysia’s healthcare system.
NCDs are the leading cause of death and disability in Malaysia, according to the “The Direct Healthcare Cost of Non-Communicable Diseases in Malaysia” report published by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Malaysian Ministry of Health (MoH).
The joint study also showed how the rising prevalence of NCDs is taxing the nation’s healthcare system by driving up the demand for medical care.
The world’s top security and health services provider, International SOS, has collaborated closely with Malaysian and international organisations to refocus on employee health and wellbeing as part of their “Duty of Care” obligations and workforce resilience.
Dr Chan Yanjun, Medical Director, Singapore & Malaysia, International SOS, shared: “Most recently, according to data obtained by the Health Informatics Centre of the MoH’s Planning Division, we have seen an increasing number of patients in the emergency and trauma departments around the country.
“One of the key factors for this is the impact of Covid-19, which has increased the number of NCD cases and health complications due to the decrease in NCD screening and many having had their treatment disrupted during the pandemic. Another challenge people living with NCDs face is accessing essential medicines because of the current global environment and supply chain disruption.”
The report also noted that coupled with lost productivity costs, the combined annual cost burden of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer was estimated at RM22.5 billion.
Dr Chan continued: “With experts warning that the cost of treating NCDs will continue to increase in the coming years due to the nation’s growing ageing population, everyone needs to play their part to help stem this nationwide challenge.
“Businesses must play a more proactive role in the health of their employees, not just to mitigate the impact of a future pandemic, but also to address other ongoing health issues, such as NCDs and mental health, affecting their team members.
Jing Tan, Regional General Manager and Director of South East Asia, International SOS, added: “To respond to the growing health challenges in Malaysia and globally, employee wellness needs to be carefully considered.” – The Health