| James Kon |
BRUNEI Darussalam spent over $20 million on medicine to treat Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in the fiscal year of 2012-2013.
The financial burden on the government in treating patients with NCDs was highlighted in a keynote address following the launch of the National Campaign against Non-Communicable Diseases at the Ministry of Health yesterday.
Dr Hajah Rahmah binti Haji Md Said, the Deputy Permanent Secretary (Professional and Technical) at the Ministry of Health (MoH), in her keynote address, said that $5,606,934.15 was spent on cardiovascular medicine (not including G-JPMC, NSRC and TBCC), $3,557,865.78 on hypertension medicine and $2,718,335.27 on diabetes medicine. Another $2,430,609.95 was spent on respiratory medicine and $2,399,540.60 on renal medicine.
The main NCDs are cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer and chronic respiratory problems.
Health authorities found that the main risk factors are unhealthy eating habits, smoking, high sugar level, high blood pressure, being overweight, lack of physical activity and high cholesterol.
Between 2009 and 2011, the health authorities found that obesity affected 27.2 per cent of the country’s population, while 35.1 per cent had high blood pressure, 12.5 per cent had diabetes, 11.6 per cent had high cholesterol and only 45.3 per cent engaged in regular physical activity.
The health authorities also found that 66 per cent of civil servants were overweight, while 29 per cent had high blood pressure, 11 per cent had high sugar level and 48 per cent had high cholesterol, Dr Hjh Rahmah said.
About 17 to 20 per cent of the people in Brunei Darussalam smoked but the trend of smoking declined during the 2001-2011 period.
It was found that the youth made up the highest number of smokers.
To counter the worrying trend of NCDs, Brunei Darussalam has launched an action plan which has several objectives, namely, giving priority to control and prevention of NCDs, reducing the risk factors, boosting the health system and carrying out research on NCDs.