Almost 20% of Malaysian adults have diabetes, says Dr Zaliha

KUALA LUMPUR: Some 3,899,940 or 18.3% of the adult population in Malaysia have diabetes, the Dewan Rakyat was told.

In a written parliamentary reply dated Thursday (Nov 30), Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa said statistics from the National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS) 2019, showed nine states recording a higher percentage of diabetic patients compared to the overall adult population.

Negri Sembilan had the highest diabetic prevalence at 33.2% or 234,203 individuals.

This is followed by Perlis (32.6%), Pahang (25.7%), Kedah (24.9%), Putrajaya (22.9%), Terengganu (20.5%), Johor (19.7%), Kelantan (19.5%), Penang (18.2%), Selangor and Kuala Lumpur (18% each), Perak (17.6%), Melaka (16.9%), Sarawak (13.1%) and Sabah (12.6%).

Labuan meanwhile had the lowest diabetic prevalence at 9.8% or 7,992 individuals.

Dr Zaliha was responding to Datuk Dr Alias Razak (PN-Kuala Nerus) who asked about the data breakdown of diabetic patients according to states.

Dr Alias had also asked about the Health Ministry’s effectiveness in reducing the number of diabetic patients nationwide.

To this, the Health Minister said various measures were carried out to tackle diabetes prevalence, including the National Strategic Plan for non-communicable diseases, health advocacy programmes, and health screenings.

The screenings, Dr Zaliha explained, were done via the National Health Screening Initiatives (NHSI) carried out through health clinics, and other touch points such as the Madani Afiat programme.

Since its implementation, she said the NHSI managed to identify 62,346 individuals with high blood sugar levels.

NHSI 2023 also identified some 283,100 individuals being overweight and 199,400 being obese.

“Individuals with high-risk factors such as high blood sugar levels, being overweight or obese, have been referred to government healthcare facilities for a further diagnosis.

“Referrals for intervention measures are also carried out,” she said, adding that this includes referrals to Wellness Hubs, which act as a one-stop community centre for healthcare services.

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