PUTRAJAYA: The Health Ministry is focusing this year on reducing the incidence of five factors that contribute to non-communicable diseases among Malaysians, according to Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad.
These were hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, smoking and obesity, he added.
Dr Dzulkefly said a study conducted by the ministry and Harvard University showed that Malaysia’s progress in addressing non-communicable diseases among its population was rather low compared to the achievements of other countries in the region.
He described the effort to achieve greater success in these areas as a huge challenge that had to be shouldered by him and all the ministry staff.
“In order to achieve that target, the ministry will focus on healthcare efforts by shifting (greater focus) from healing to prevention,” he told reporters after delivering his message for the new year to the ministry staff at the ministry here.
However, he said, this did not mean that the ministry would neglect efforts to control infectious diseases such as tuberculosis.
On complaints by operators of eateries that the smoking ban in restaurants since Jan 1 had reduced their income, Dr Dzulkefly said this would just be a short-term phenomenon.
“I want to see the evidence. The ministry is also gathering all kinds of evidence. The ministry has also received information that business at eateries has improved because families with children are frequenting eateries due to the absence of cigarette smoke.
“There are always two sides of the same coin. The Health Ministry is willing to hear and listen,” he added. — Bernama