Speaking in the Dewan Rakyat, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S Subramaniam addressed the topic of infectious diseases in the country – relaying the latest statistics and government strategies to combat the spread of these contagious ailments. Concurrently, the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) has also released various life expectancies for the population on their website.

Malaysia in the “moderate” category for dengue

The government has implemented numerous preventative and containment measures to tackle the rising trend of dengue cases. Subramaniam further enlightened attendees on the strategies currently in place; including the e-Dengue online-monitoring method and the Dengue Outbreak Management System (SPWD).

Besides that, the Health Ministry had also revamped the current Dengue-Free programme, as well as organising the Evaluation of Communication for Behavioural Impact (COMBI) voluntary unit, particularly in the mosquito breeding ground areas.

Tuberculosis, on the other hand, is also categorised as one of the infectious diseases prominent in the nation. Subramaniam shared that Malaysia’s status is categorised as ‘moderate’ for this contagious disease. In comparison, neighbouring countries – Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines – record higher incidence rates.

“The primary strategy for preventing tuberculous diseases is initial detection and treatment of all tuberculosis cases until patients are fully cured,” elaborated Subramaniam. “Sputum examinations will be performed on patients who display symptoms, while chest x-rays are performed for high-risk groups.”

He then continued, “The diagnosis of TB diseases is also enhanced with the purchases of fluorescent LED microscopes which can improve bacterial sensitivity detection.”

Dengue fever caused by the Aedes mosquitoes is listed as the most prevalent infectious disease in Malaysia – with a ratio of 328.3 cases per 100,000 people, he enlightened. This was followed by hand, foot and mouth disease (152.25), leptospirosis (17.12), hepatitis B (12.60) and HIV (11.00).

Malaysians estimated to live up to 74.8 years overall

Despite infectious diseases have been on the rise, DOSM recently published increased life expectancies for Malaysian citizens. The Abridged Life Tables Malaysia 2015 to 2017 statistics can be accessed on their website.

Findings are categorised by age, ethnic group and sex for Malaysians and for each state, respectively. Mortality statistics for the three-year period and mid-year population estimates were used to produce the life tables.

Overall, the population is expected to live up to 74.8 years in 2017 – an increase of 0.5 years from 74.3 years in 2011. This year, life expectancy at birth is said to be 72.7 years for males and 77.4 years for females. This number has also steadily ascended over the years – 0.6 years rise for both males and females since 2011.

When broken down to ethnicity, Chinese recorded the highest life expectancy at birth for males at 75.0 years. Indians, however, were said to have the lowest life expectancy at birth for males with 67.8 years.

The Chinese female population were thought to have the highest life expectancy at birth at 80.2 years. The lowest figures for females were found in Bumiputeras at 76.2 years.

Sarawak topped the chart among all states, recording the highest life expectancies for both genders with 75.1 years and 78.6 years, respectively. Terengganu was at the bottom of the list with 68.8 years and 74.6 years for males and females, respectively.

The results concluded with life expectancies for those aged 15 and 65 years. For 15 year olds, 58.4 years for males and 63.1 years for females were the projected numbers. 65-year-old males and females, on the other hand, are expected to live an additional 15.0 years and 17.1 years, respectively. MIMS

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