IN the last 20 years, heart disease has remained the leading cause of death in the world and is still “killing more people than ever before”, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said in its 2019 Global Health Estimates, and the Philippines is the worst in South-East Asia.
About 120 out of every 100,000 Filipinos died of ischemic or coronary heart disease in 2019, up from 103 per 100,000 population in 2015, the worst record in the region that listed the ailment as its top cause of death.
It was followed by Malaysia (115 per 100,000), Singapore (91.2), Thailand (73.7) and Brunei (68.1).
The country had a better record of deaths due to stroke after it reported 68.6 per 100,000 behind Vietnam (164.9), Myanmar (132.2), Indonesia (132), Laos (80.5) and Cambodia (79.5).
But the WHO warned that governments must drastically improve the delivery of primary healthcare services after data showed that non-communicable diseases (NCDs) now make up seven out of the 10 leading causes of death.
“These new estimates are another reminder that we need to rapidly step up prevention, diagnosis and treatment of NCDs, ” said WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. — Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN
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