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Food Care: The key path to healthcare

13 Jan 2021 / 18:46 H.

    OUR Ministry of Health allocates more than 90% of its budget on sick care and not healthcare.

    While Covid-19 is an infectious disease, it is the non-communicable diseases (NCDs) which are the biggest killers.

    Indeed, deaths due to NCDs over-shadowed all the other fatalities combined. Indeed they accounted for over 70% of all deaths in Malaysia. NCDs are preventable lifestyle diseases.

    The present sick care is an unsustainable cost. No budget is big enough.

    Besides, practically, all our hospitals and clinics are overflowing with sick patients.

    Simultaneously, Malaysia faces widening epidemics of obesity and diabetes.

    There is an urgent need for the transformation of our so-called healthcare system.

    Dr Lemuel Ng, a medical doctor, and his engineer Will Chua once disclosed in a public talk that they and their families were getting sick after consuming vegetables, most of which were from Cameron Highlands.

    Their sicknesses disappeared after the speakers grew their own food. Their health and that of their family and farming community, too, also recovered.

    Perhaps, it is time the Ministries of Health and Agriculture collaborate on the relationship between sickness and toxic vegetables.

    In the meantime, agriculture experts could be dispatched to Cameron Highlands to educate farmers on organic farming and reduce the use of pesticides.

    Allocate budgets and provide incentives for the farmers to grow healthier vegetables.

    Focus on food care to transform our current sick care to healthcare as the first step.

    This would reduce the number of sick patients and cut down on the budget for drugs and hospitals.

    Most important, however, is to have a healthier and more productive population.

    A report from the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation, released in Sept 2020, revealed that NCDs cost the Malaysian economy upwards of RM 8.91 billion, equivalent to about 0.65% of the country’s GDP.

    Aside from these productivity losses, NCDs also place a serious burden on health, resulting from disability and loss of healthy life years called the burden of disease costs.

    This is an intangible cost that is estimated to be around RM100.79 billion, equivalent to 7.35% of GDP.

    Can Malaysia continue to afford to suffer these losses?

    Comments: letters@thesundaily.com

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