Malaysia has 3.6 million diabetics, says Dzulkefly

KUALA LUMPUR: Some 3.6 million Malaysians are suffering from diabetes, the highest rate of incidence in Asia and one of the highest in the world, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad. (pic)

Seven million Malaysian adults are likely to have diabetes by 2025, a worrying trend that will see diabetes prevalence of 31.3% for adults aged 18 years and above, he added.

“This exponential increase is significantly within type two diabetes, which is largely the result of excess body weight and physical inactivity,” he said when officiating the 3rd Cambridge-Oxford Sunway Biomedical Symposium titled “Diabetes: Disarming the Silent Killer” here, yesterday.

“The government is giving serious attention to this increase as it is becoming a major economic burden on the healthcare system and national economy.”

Dr Dzulkefly said although Malaysia has a parallel public and private system, the majority of treatment for chronic diseases is provided by the public health system heavily subsidised by the government at a “significant cost”.

A macroeconomic study in 2011 showed the cost at about RM2bil, representing 13% of the healthcare budget for the year 2011.

“The analysis reflects that this cost could be as high as RM3.52bil if societal costs were included,” he said.

The one-day event held at Sunway Medical Centre brought specialists to discuss the latest developments in acute and general medicine.

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