Monday 22 Apr 2024
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KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 23): Minister of Health Zaliha Mustafa reiterated the commitment to table the Public Health Bill 2023, widely known as the Generational Endgame (GEG), before the conclusion of this parliamentary meeting.

Responding to a supplementary question from Datuk Ahmad Yunus Hair (PN-Kuala Langat) during the minister question time on Thursday, Zaliha stated that Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), lung cancer and heart attacks are scientifically proven to be caused by smoking activity.

"In fact, the government has spent over RM6 billion treating smoking-related diseases, which is a significant figure," she added.

Therefore, Zaliha emphasised that the ministry will try its best to address these issues by tabling the GEG bill, aiming to move the country toward becoming a smoke-free nation.

In separate matters, Zaliha mentioned that the total direct healthcare expenditure to deal with Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) was as much as RM9.65 billion, constituting 16.8% of the total health expenditure in Malaysia.

Of the total expenditure on NCDs, 45.38% or RM4.38 billion was spent on treating diabetes, followed by expenditure on treating cardiovascular diseases, amounting to RM3.93 billion or 40.73% of the total; and RM1.34 billion or 13.89% on treating cancer.

According to Zaliha, this estimate was based on the 2017 expenditure, and the report was released in 2022 through "The Direct Health-Care Cost of Non-Communicable Disease in Malaysia" by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH).

"These expenses include hospitalisation costs, primary care at health clinics, outpatient treatment at hospitals, health examinations and tests, and medical financing," said Zaliha.

For the year 2017, Zaliha noted that NCDs had a negative impact on the economy, with indirect costs due to NCDs reaching as much as RM12.88 billion in the form of lost productivity. Diabetes recorded the highest productivity loss of RM 5.74 billion, followed by cardiovascular disease at RM 5.32 billion.

To address the high prevalence of NCDs, Zaliha highlighted that the ministry has taken several steps, including strengthening the implementation of the National Strategic Plan for NCD Diseases 2016-2025, the Nation Building Healthy Community Programme (Kospen), carrying out advocacy activities, strengthening health screening activities, and implementing health promotion and education activities under the Healthy Malaysia National Agenda (ANMS).

"Furthermore, the government has imposed excise duty on ready-to-drink sugary beverages, and as announced by the Prime Minister (Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim) in the 2024 budget, the government will raise the rate to 50 cents per litre, from 40 cents per litre" Zaliha added.

For more Parliament stories, click here.

Edited ByIsabelle Francis
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