| Zee Yusri |
THE Ministry of Health (MoH) has shared that the World Health Organization (WHO) has reported non-communicable diseases (NCDs) around the world have led to the deaths of over 36 million people annually, of which more than nine million are categorised as premature deaths, which is when a person passes away before the age of 60. Based on this it is estimated that 80 per cent of cases are due to four specific types of NCDs – cardiovascular diseases (such as heart attack and stroke), cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes.
The transition of infectious diseases to chronic NCDs have been prevalent in Brunei over the past decade.
The increase in patients contracting NCDs is alarming, especially in view of the negative impacts regarding treatment costs and socio-economic development of the nation.
In this regard, the MoH has given priority to the ‘prevention is better than a cure’ approach. The MoH will implement programmes on health promotion, prevention, control, treatment, rehabilitation and screening of chronic NCDs, while giving serious attention toward identifying risk factors such as obesity, unhealthy diet, lack of physical activity and tobacco consumption.
Activities promoting good health at the grassroots level have gradually spread across the country and the establishment of a ‘Health Promotion and Healthy Lifestyle Committee’ in health centres are increasingly involving village chiefs, the private sector, non-governmental organisations (NGO) and the local communities themselves.
In addition, basic health services based on universal health coverage in the country are considered important in reducing the risk of contracting NCDs.
To strengthen NCD prevention in a more comprehensive and holistic manner, the MoH has introduced the ‘Brunei Darussalam National Multi-sectoral Action Plan for the Prevention and Control on Non-communicable Diseases (BruMAP-NCD) 2013 – 2018’, which will act as a guideline for boosting the prevention and control of NCDs by encouraging the creation of healthy environments, which is viewed as important in the fight to reduce the prevalence of disease in the Sultanate.