KUALA LUMPUR: Negative attitudes towards vaccines and Covid-19 control measures, plus barriers or delays to healthcare access during the pandemic, are factors that have led to an excess of deaths, thus reducing Malaysia’s life expectancy, says a health expert.
This is in addition to the excess of deaths due to the Covid-19 virus.
Prof Dr Moy Foong Ming of Universiti Malaya said life expectancy was an indication of how long on average people can expect to live if the age-specific mortality rates of that year remained constant for the remainder of their lives.
The most common measure is life expectancy at birth.
“To improve life expectancy in the future, the economic and healthcare policies should be able to provide equitable health care access for all.
“On the individual level, there must be financial and healthcare planning to avoid problems with healthcare access after retirement,” said the professor of epidemiology and public health at the university’s social and preventive medicine department.
She was commenting on Malaysia’s average life expectancy at birth which has gone down from 74.4 years in 2012 to 73.4 years in 2022 due to the increase in the number of excess deaths during the pandemic.
Among Asean countries in 2021, Malaysia now has a lower life expectancy than Singapore, Thailand, Brunei and Vietnam.
In a recent statement, the Department of Statistics Malaysia said the reduction in life expectancy was found among men and women for Malaysians and non-Malaysians in the country.
For babies born in 2022, their average life expectancy is predicted to be shorter at an average of 73.4 years, slightly down from 74.5 years for babies born in 2021, according to the figures released by the department.
The statistics of life expectancy in this country have been recording a drop since 2020, partly contributed by the excess deaths during the pandemic.Based on the statistics, Malaysian women are expected to live longer than men, with a difference of 4.5 years in 2022.
Male babies born in 2020 are expected to live for an average of 72.5 years, 72.3 years (2021) and 71.3 years (2022), while female babies are expected to live for 77.2 years, 77 years (2021) and 75.8 years (2022), according to the department.
The males and females who reach the age of 15 this year are expected to live for another 56.9 years and 61.3 years, respectively. Those aged 60 in 2022 are expected to live for another 17.5 and 20.1 years, reaching the ages of 77.5 and 80.1 years for males and females, respectively.
Males and females aged 65 in 2022 are expected to live for another 14.2 and 16.4 years, respectively. This means that males are expected to live until the age of 79.2 years and females until the age of 81.4 years.
The Chinese are expected to have the longest life expectancy, with men living for 73.5 years and women for 79.4 years.