MALACCA: Only about 12.5% or 3,242 of the total 25,837 tuberculosis (TB) cases last year involved foreigners in this country, according to Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad.
He said of this total, Sabah recorded the most number of foreigners infected by TB with 1,558 cases, followed by Selangor (629), Kuala Lumpur (330), Johor (168) and the remainder in the other states.
He said although the percentage seemed rather small, his ministry still viewed seriously the spread of TB among foreigners, especially those working here.
“All parties manning the country’s entry points like the Immigration Department, Ministry of Human Resource and the Home Ministry play an equal role, and should not just depend on the Health Ministry,” he told reporters, here today.
Earlier, he launched the 2019 national-level World Tuberculosis and Leprosy Day at the Malacca International Trade Centre (MITC), Ayer Keroh.
On March 26, Health Director-General Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah was reported as saying that the trend for the spread of TB in Malaysia showed a drop of 1.3% (25,837 cases) last year compared to 26,168 in 2017.
Dr Dzulkefly said early preventive measures were very important, as the cost of treatment for TB was high, especially involving chronic patients.
“In the initial stages, the cost of treatment for TB cases is between RM300 and RM500, but it can go up to between RM8,000 and RM20,000 for one person within six months of treatment,” he said.
Earlier, in his speech at the event Dr Dzulkefly said early detection measures for TB was through screening tests conducted on high-risk groups such as HIV, renal-failure-on-dialysis and diabetic patients as well as senior citizens, prison and rehabilitation inmates.
He said the BCG immunisation injections for new-born babies were very important to reduce the complications of Tuberculous Meningitis and miliary TB among children. — Bernama