Non-communicable diseases (NCD) have been found to be the main cause of the plateauing lifespan of Malaysians at around 75 years, says Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad.
He said this was due to the lack of awareness on NCDs as well as its complications, compared to those in other countries who are taking the effort to extend their lifespan.
Taking the example of high blood pressure and diabetes from the NCD group, Dzulkefly said 50 percent of the patients treated at Health Ministry facilities were not aware they had contracted the diseases.
"Today, our lifespan had stagnated for one decade compared to other countries, with an average of 75 years, which is 73 years for men and 78 years for women.
“Many are not aware that NCDs such as high blood pressure can lead to other complications such as heart attack, diabetes, renal failure and so on, while cancer is the second major concern,” he told reporters after launching the Kampungku Sihat (My Healthy Village) programme in Kuala Selangor today.
He added that many people are still not taking health screenings seriously, due to a low level of awareness, until their conditions become life-threatening.
Citing the example of Singapore, Dzulkefly said the country is very serious in combating NCDs, and had declared war against diabetes by making it compulsory for its citizens to undergo health screenings.
Even though Malaysia has not reached that stage, he said the ministry has been encouraging people to go for health checkups for all members of the family.
In the Kampungku Sihat programme today, 550 trainees from two ministry training institutes carried out basic health checks on residents from three villages in Jeram, including blood pressure, blood sugar level and body mass index.