Brunei Minister highlights rise in stroke-related deaths; now fourth leading cause of death in country


A warm up session before the start of the event in Bandar Seri Begawan. - Borneo Bulletin/ANN

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN (Borneo Bulletin/ANN): Cerebrovascular disease is the fourth leading cause of death in Brunei Darussalam, rising from 103 deaths in 2014 to 162 deaths in 2019, said Minister of Health Dato Dr Mohd Isham Jaafar, who is the chairman of Pantai Jerudong Specialist Centre (PJSC).

He said this as the guest of honour in a speech at the launch of ‘The Brunei Neuroscience Stroke and Rehabilitation Centre (BNSRC) Frontiers 2024’.

He added, “Each year, approximately 400 new stroke cases are recorded, of which 75-80 per cent are infarcts and 20-25 per cent are haemorrhagic strokes.

“Studies have shown that 63 per cent of stroke sufferers in the Sultanate are under the age of 60. It is thus a major priority of the Ministry of Health, in collaboration with stakeholders such as PJSC, to continuously direct efforts to mitigate health risk factors for non-communicable diseases and raise public awareness.”

Despite efforts to mitigate health risk factors, the minister acknowledged that “hypertension, diabetes, hypercholesterolaemia, smoking and physical inactivity remain prevalent risk factors of concern”.

“For example, 35.8 per cent of adults in the Sultanate have hypertension, while 51.3 per cent have high cholesterol.

"Many patients with prescribed medicine for chronic conditions may not take them consistently, with worldwide studies demonstrating medication non-adherence rates from 30 per cent to more than 50 per cent,” he said.

He added, “The 13-bedded NeuroIntensive Care Unit in BNSRC saw a rise in new admissions by 8.5 per cent from 350 in 2020 to 380 in 2023.”

With better lifesaving measures, he said, “neurocritical care, which is a focused sub-specialty of critical care medicine, plays a pivotal role in the healthcare landscape. This is a highly intensive specialty both in terms of knowledge, skill, manpower and resources”.

Meanwhile, he said, “costs of procurement of increasingly sophisticated equipment for neuro and haemodynamic monitoring are high but have become necessary”.

The relationship between the brain and heart, he explained, “is particularly close with shared pathological processes and similar epidemiology. Heart disease and stroke combined represent the highest overall mortality in the Sultanate”. – Borneo Bulletin/ANN

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